Pairing Project, Part Two

Ashleigh Bowne, Olivia Neider, Tim O'Neil, Nicole Willekes

Ender's Game

Basics: Card, Orson S. Ender's Game. New York: Tor, 1991. Print.
Links: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (Google Books Sample)

Points of Connection:
Many connections can be found between the two sci-fi novels we read for this project: 1984 by George Orwell and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. First is genre: one can explore the similarities between sci-fi books with an emphasis on technology and science within the respective story worlds created within the books. More specifically, there is a lot of space to explore the representations of government. In both novels the government is extremely powerful in the lives of its citizens. Ender has to deal with the fact that his very existence is because of the government. In the world of Ender's Game, overpopulation has become a problem and only parents with special permission are permitted to have more than two children. Because Ender's siblings turned out so brilliant, the government essentially commissioned Ender's conception in hopes that he would have the same genius as his older siblings, but with the attitude of a leader. Ender and Winston are both pawns in a bigger picture that they have absolutely no control over. Both governments are also both very observant, for lack of a better word. In the land of Oceania, the government frequently referred to as “Big Brother” is vigilant at all times. The "dangerous" citizens (such as Winston, members of the outer party, many of the inner) live in homes equipped with “telescreens” that transmit live audio and video to Big Brother, and even the public spaces have hidden microphones. All of this surveillance is to ensure that the citizens of Oceania are following the law and supporting Big Brother. While in Ender’s Game not everyone is subject to constant surveillance, children wear a “monitor” that allows the government to observe the wearer until the government determines if he or she is military material or not.
The respective governments also keep our main characters from being happy in their own certain ways. Ender craves a return to earth and feels as if he is being forced into every situation he is involved in. Winston can only enjoy the company of the woman he loves in defiance of Big Brother’s wishes. The readers get a glimse of the life that Winston and Ender crave, as they both snatch small slices of normal life and relaxation in the midst of the tyranny and overbearance. Ender finds solace at the lake house, where he can rest, swim, and almost feel as if he is normal again. Winston takes his small piece of "normal life" in the upstairs bedroom of the dwelling of a "prole," with his lover Julia, enjoying the simple pleasures of mortality: real chocolate, real coffee, rest, and consummation of physical desires.
While the two books resolve their wars in different ways, there is the common thematic concept of war that goes in within the two stories. In 1984, Ocenia is constantly at war with either East Asia or Eurasia, while the fictional world of Ender’s Game is struggling to protect the human race from the aliens, who are derogatorily referred to as “buggers.” Both are portrayed as faceless villains by their governments. There is also quite a large amount of ambiguity to the conflicts.The question as to the morality of what the humans plan on and eventually succeed in doing to the buggers is brought into light through Ender's concerns and internal conflicts, and what the conflict is (if there is one at all) between the two flip-flopping Asias that Oceania is supposedly at war with surfaces as well. Also the fact that the primary conflicts and reasons for the protagonists' efforts/exsistence are both wars could be addressed with students. While this obviously does not list every single one of the parallels that could be drawn between the two, this brief outline is a strong start for the use of these texts in a young adult work/classic literature pairing in a secondary setting.
Another interesting angle on the study of these two books could be an investigation into the author's lives and reasons for why they wrote the books that they respectively chose to. Orwells' book was written directly after the fall of Nazi Germany and as Stalin was in power in Russia. This type of world that Orwell was writing in helps us to understand his fear of a totalitarian governement and too much control. Although Card originally wrote Ender's Game in 1985, he updated the political facts in the book in the ninety's, setting it closer to home for his readers. Asking students what Card was concerned about in the fairly modern political scene that he wrote in would make for some interesting and poweful discussion about the dangers of governmental power today.

Research: Online Instruction

1.Beach, Richard. "Uses of digital tools and literacies in the English language arts classroom." Research in the Schools 19.1 (2012): 45-59. Link

One of the most useful aspects of this article was the sub-heading "Redefining Literary Learning Outcomes for Uses of Digital Tools" which specifies certain "affordances" of digital tools--especially in iOS or Android devices, and can aid in student's employment of certain literary practices. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are all tools in fostering collaborative reading, writing, and gaming exercises and also help students share information both with each other and with peers with whom they have no real relationship. This broadens the entire community of literature on such topics and provides the students with insight into viewpoints outside of those within their own communities.

2. Boles, Stephanie Reeve. "Using Technology in the Classroom." Science Scope 34.9 (2011): 39-43. Print. Link

This article comes from a teacher with 28 years of experience who believes in providing each of our students with the best education possible. She has a goal to make a laptop available per student in her middle school. With this passion comes a lot of research as she describes all of the essential tools she uses in her classroom. From acquiring hardware, to utilizing the internet, and creating podcasts, she explains it all. She does not exactly explain when she uses each of the technologies, but she does explain how to use certain technology and what benefits they provide for the teacher.

3. Bos, Nathan and Shami, N. Sadat. "Adapting a Face-to-Face Role-Playing Simulation for Online Play." Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 54, No. 5 (Oct., 2006), pp. 493-521. Print. Link

Bos and Shami discuss the issues of adapting content and activities such as small group discussion (specifically role playing and negotiation discussion) for online instruction. While our mini unit is designed for a face-to-face classroom setting, this article can provide means of facilitating discussion and group work outside of the classroom as well. This article focuses on the single adaption of an role-playing game called Island Telecom into an online game. While the students tend to prefer face-to-face interaction, there is a lot of potential to expand the discussion from the classroom out into the students' lives beyond it.

4. Kajder, Sara. "Plugging in: What Technology Brings to the English/Language Arts Classroom." Voices from the Middle11.3 (2004): 6-9. Print. Link

This article focuses on using technology in the language arts classroom. There are a couple ideas provided in the article, but the thing that strikes out the most are his "three nonnegotiables." These nonnegotiables are questions that lead instruction into the author's classroom. First, he asks, “How does the task at hand help to empower my middle school students to be powerful communicators, rich thinkers, and compelling writers?" Then, he asks, “How does this technology allow us to 'do it better?'" I feel that this second question is incredibly important for our upcoming unit. We shouldn’t use a technology that doesn’t benefit the topic of discussion and the student. The last thing he asks is, “Is this task a rigorous complement or alternative to existing curriculum?” I found this article to be very enlightening on how to approach unit lesson plans.


The page for Part 3 has been created and is ready for editing. At this point we will meet on April 3rd (tenatively) to discuss what we will be doing for our mini unit. In the mean time, we will each start building a collection of online resources related to the two novels. We also plan on doing a podcast together through GarageBand once we have written a script.