Tag Archives: Popular Culture

The Art of Slow and Getting to Know

The Hare and the Tortoise From: http://bit.ly/1kEGO9E Using Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

I must confess that one of the reasons my     husband and I decided to move to a regional country area of New South Wales was for a slower pace of life. Has this happened? To some degree yes but in other areas no. We have both been               continuing with our studies, joined a dog training club approximately an hour from where we live, continued with our Sydney flyball club and attending training and competitions, I started back at an adult tap class and have started taking a yoga class once a week. Not to mention the 3 hours I spend traveling to and from work each day. Where is the balance in all of this and the link to Youth and Popular Culture?

Well isn’t it the same for our youth of today, especially those                  completing their final school exams, the HSC in NSW? They need to be enabled to get the balance right. Are the adults who surround them setting good examples on this front? We may be talking the talk but are we leading by example? I am not attacking anyone with this comment, rather reflecting on what we all do, especially myself.

When I worked in a public library I was responsible for running a        programme of HSC lectures and I would get Rowan Kunz to come and speak about getting the balance right between study and the rest of their lives such as sport, while providing good techniques and             strategies for effective study. I also had sessions from the team at the University Of Technology Sydney Health Psychology Unit about stress. At the school I work in I am lucky to have access to a great pastoral care team who I can approach if I have any concerns regarding students, no matter what year group they belong to.

I believe that we also need to show this support in student’s use of technology. I love my technology gadgets and when the lecturer for one of my units this semester sent an email listing gadgets we could be using all at one time I could have put my hand up as a yes that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t believe that we should be regressing to luddites, rather we need to be grasping every development that comes our way and evaluating their affordances for teaching and learning. Who would have thought just a few years back that we would be seeing 3D printers in schools or able to use augmented reality tools to enhance teaching and learning?

At the same time we need to be taking on board the concerns regarding technology from the very young through to young adults and helping them and their families navigate this new minefield, as often it is seen. We ourselves need to be creating good habits like taking a break from technology before trying to sleep and perhaps learning to turn it off or take it out of our sleep settings. I know this is a hard one and I’m not sure if it will succeed in my household as the phone is the most reliable alarm in the house, but I’m going to try and we need to help support youth to do the same. So let’s see we can all do for our own good and the good of the students around us, while still being able to enjoy all the wonderful directions that technology can take us.


Ernest, J. M., Causey, C., Newton, A. B., Sharkins, K., Summerlin, J., & Albaiz, N. (2014). Extending the global dialogue about media, technology, screen time, and young children. Childhood Education, 90(3), 182-191. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1528862094?accountid=13380

Punamaki, R., Wallenius, M., Nygard, C., Saarni, L., & Rimpela, A. (2007). Use of information and communication technology (ICT) and perceived health in adolescence: The role of sleeping habits and waking-time tiredness. Journal of Adolescence, 30(4), 569-585. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/62056103?accountid=13380

Thomée, S., Eklöf, M., Gustafsson, E., Nilsson, R., Hagberg, M. (2007) Prevalence of perceived stress, symptoms of depression and sleep disturbances in relation to information and communication technology (ICT) use among young adults: an explorative prospective study. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), 1300-1321. Retrieved from  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2004.12.007.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

The latest Doctor
The latest Doctor, Actor Peter Capaldi  from http://bit.ly/1jI536B Using Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

I’m a child of the 70s and I can’t remember not watching Doctor Who, I even have a Doctor Who quote as my work email tagline. I starkly         remember watching Doctor Who for the first time in colour and not black and white, when my family got a colour television (and yes that’s how old I am).

It seems to me that each generation since the inception of Doctor Who has its own fond memories and favourite Doctor, for me it’s the Tom Baker era from the classic Doctor Who and keeps changing for the new Doctor Who. At the moment I think its Matt Smith due to the range of personality styles he presented. You can imagine my disappointment when I took a Facebook Quiz on which Doctor are you most like and I got John Pertwee, but hey for me personally it could have been worse, it could have been Sylvester McCoy, my least favourite Doctor!

By now you might me thinking, well what does this have to do with       current youth, their popular culture and texts? It has a lot to do with it. I have found that one small unconscious move on my behalf opened an inroad into one small important subculture in my school, which is a girls high school. The unconscious move, to put the small stuffed TARDIS that I had been given for Christmas on top of my work            computer, later joined by a Dalek. Some of the students who I describe as being comfortable with who they are and don’t consciously try and fit into any group noticed the TARDIS and it opened up a world of     conversations around Doctor Who and their love and opinions of it with me, their school librarian. In the past week we have been            discussing our hopes and expectations for the new series which started two weeks ago. Oh my pleasure when there were so many references to my favourite Doctor!

So my question to myself was “so is Doctor Who one of those                   phenomenon’s that is cross generational in its appeal and does this then create opportunities for engagement?”
I believe the answer is yes it does. Why? At a base statistical level the recent Australia Communications and Media Authority report into          children’s television viewing between 2001 and 2013 stated that in the 13-17 age bracket Doctor Who was the most watched drama program with 83,000 viewers.
In the context of popular culture a recent study highlighted that fans of Doctor Who are cross-generational in that many current fans were      introduced to Doctor Who by family members. This is not surprising considering the original intent of Doctor Who was to produce a               children’s television program that mixed science and history and in the UK was aired early on Saturday evenings to target children and adults in the 1960s. When it returned in 2005 it took this roll up again as a         Saturday early evening family program. I was living in the UK at the time and remember sitting with my husband, in our living room,      waiting to watch the first episode in trepidation and anticipation, like many classic fans and their offspring who they were introducing to the world of Doctor Who. I know the Australian experience was different, but in Australia I have seen this cross-generational experience at the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectaculars I have been lucky enough to      attend. It was with great delight that while attending one of the             spectaculars at the Sydney Opera House I saw and heard a Dad and three of his sons all engaging in the shared experience of Doctor Who.

Even outside of families cross-generational moments are occurring. In the research study by Booth and Kelly, one participant from the old guard of fans states “You feel sort of crotchety, who are these kids? They don’t even know who Jon Petwee is. It’s all good because a lot of them are coming to you. Well you were into the old series, which DVD should I buy. So it’s really kind of, it’s coming full circle so you feel like you’re the mentor figures.”

This cross-generational Doctor Who fandom is creating new digital         opportunities. Like many other fandoms there are many digital spaces in which fans are extending fan fiction and fan movie productions, blogs and networks. Yet a lot is occurring offline, such as conventions and fan club screenings, but even these are organised and advertised online. This to me is a great opportunity for the generations to work    together, the older to impart classic Doctor Who knowledge and the younger showing how to embrace and enhance the Doctor Who           fandom online. So here’s to the continuation of Doctor Who and the wonderful cross-generational opportunities it provides.

Tom Baker as Doctor Who.  From http://bit.ly/1Nu3uTm Using Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This post is dedicated to Verity Lambert and Elisabeth Sladen two amazing females associated with Doctor Who one on screen and one behind the scenes who were an important part of my own childhood without me even realising it at the time.