Digital Learning News

October 24, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Virtual Program Brings Creativity To Remote Classrooms

From virtual theatre to online music programs to an interactive history app, Victorian students and teachers in remote locations are set to benefit from Australia’s first virtual creative school residencies program.swifts-creek-p-12-adobe-connect-session-nancy-holt-sketch

Earlier this month, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced $150,000 for six pioneering projects that will support students in regional and remote areas to connect and collaborate with creative practitioners across Victoria using online tools and platforms.

A partnership between Creative Victoria and the Department of Education and Training, Virtual Creative Professionals in Schools is a pilot aiming to provide Victorian students in remote locations with access to the highest quality creative and learning experiences.

The supported projects, which will run across 2016 and the first half of 2017, will teach students and teachers new creative skills – from theatre making, to animation, song writing, storytelling and swifts-creek-p-12-adobe-connect-session-isamu-noguchisculpture – while also providing training in the use of the latest technologies.

Schools participating in the program include:

  • Swifts Creek School – partnering with artist Michael Prior
  • Wodonga Flexible Learning Program – partnering with music organisation APRA AMCOS
  • Lismore Primary School – partnering with Glen Walton and Cayn Borthwick
  • Distance Education Centre Victoria – partnering with Melbourne Theatre Company
  • Horsham College – partnering with Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI)
  • Woodford Primary School – partnering with Olivia Guntarik

The supported projects will use the online programs and software currently being used by Australian creative practitioners to share their work and collaborate virtually with other artists and businesses across the globe.swifts-creek-p-12-adobe-connect-session-alice-aycock

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October 21, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Taking Small BYTES

smallbytesTaking Small BYTES was launched by the Minister for Children and Families on Tuesday 6th September.  The resource supports early literacy and STEM learning (see below).

This resource can be viewed at

The resource is downloadable to any tablet/desktop/mobile device and contains 460 learning experiences matched to VEYLDF.


Young Victorian children will have better access to technology to support their education and build important skills and knowledge thanks to an investment by the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos today launched the Small Bytes card deck, which helps early childhood educators use technology to enhance children’s learning opportunities.

Small Bytes – comprised of 100 cards – features 370 tips for educators about how technology can be used as part of a play-based learning program.

Ideas include how to get kids exploring with a digital microscope, going on a virtual tour to the other side of the world, and how to connect with a favourite author.

The cards build children’s literacy and numeracy, and support the development of important broader skills such as curiosity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

Today’s launch was part of the Labor Government’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Plan, launched at Science Works with Minister for Education James Merlino.

Small Bytes align with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, which underpins the work of Victoria’s early years sector, outlining the knowledge and skills that lead children to become confident, engaged life-long learners.

Used in the right way, digital technologies enable learning by providing access to quality online resources and experts, connecting families with their children’s learning, improving assessment, feedback and reporting and bridging the educational divide for kids with additional needs.

All government-funded kindergarten programs will be receiving hard copy sets of the cards. The cards will also be available to all Victorian early childhood education and care services and parents as an electronic book at: Taking Small BYTES –

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October 19, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Digital Rights and Digital Wrongs – Professional Learning Opportunity

The eSafety Commission are hosting a series of webinars for educators. 
Details, including how to registration, may be found on The eSafety Commission site.

Digital rights and digital wrongs will be held on Tuesday 25 October

Featuring interactive questions, the presentation will:

  • update teachers on the trending devices, apps and services used by students
  • highlight key insights from ACMA research into the online behaviour of Australian teenagers
  • explore digital citizenship and overview the key concepts of protection, privacy, permanence, perspective and plagiarism
  • reinforce the importance of teachers modelling good behaviour online
  • introduce an action checklist that students could use to support a positive online experience.

Details, including how to registration, may be found on The eSafety Commission site.

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October 17, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Melbourne Education in Games Summit – Program

Date: 7/11/2016
Time: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Location: ACMI
Audience: Educators, primary and secondary

The Education in Games Summit 2016 is supported by The Department of Education and Training, in partnership with Creative Victoria and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

Themed Inspire+Design+Play, and part of Melbourne International Games Week, the Education in Games Summit 2016 invites professional educators to join us for a day packed with insights and practical takeaways about games, gameful thinking, and techniques to bring the Digital Technologies Curriculum to life. The full program is now available.

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October 14, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Artlink to Archibald Virtual Event – a virtual celebration of the portrait in art.

As part of its Archibald Education Program, the Art Gallery of Ballarat is once again offering your students to participate in an online live workshop, supported by ballaratart Gandel Philanthropy. This is a great opportunity for students to participate in a special Archibald Prize event.

Each session will include:

  • A virtual tour of the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of Ballarat with some of this year’s highlights
  • A portrait workshop with a professional artist.

Limited places are available and priority will be given to schools in remote regions and schools who have students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pre-session classroom activities may be included to prepare the students for the workshop.

Following the event schools are asked to digitally send in a selection of their finished artworks to be displayed on the Gallery website.

View the 2015 program

Ballarat Art Gallery:

Dates: gandel

  • Wednesday 2 November 1.30 – 2.30pm  
    Primary Years 5 – 6 & Secondary Years 7 – 8
  • Thursday 3 November 1.30 – 2.30pm          
    Primary Years 5 – 6 & Secondary Years 7 – 8
  • Wednesday 9 November 1.30 – 3.00pm      
    Secondary Years 9 – 11
  • Thursday 10 November 1.30 – 3.00pm        
    Secondary Years 9 – 11

All are repeat sessions.

Compulsory Teacher Pre-session Virtual meeting: Tentative: Friday October 28th – 9:00 – 9:30am. (Please see below for further information)

Bookings: Expressions of interest emailed to Michael Nichols, Education Officer, Art Gallery of Ballarat  Please include:

  • school name
  • primary contact email,
  • expected number of students participating
  • please indicate the % of students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • please indicate number of Koori Students involved

Schools can participate dialling in, using Polycom Video conferencing or MSLYNC. Dial in details will be provided following registration. Technical advice or assistance is available from Gary Schultz –

Teachers Pre-session pre-requisite (Tentative: Friday October 28th – 9:00 – 9:30am) includes a brief virtual meeting to outline the content and expectations of the classroom teacher at the remote site. It is expected that all schools registered be represented at this session. Failure to attend could result in non participation.  There is no charge for this event.




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October 13, 2016
by Jillian Brown

The wicked problem of technologies in education: the need for playful designs

Deans Lecture Series, Associate Professor Michael Henderson michaelhenderson

6:30pm, 18th October (Refreshments served 6pm, lecture starts at 6:30pm, concludes at 7:30pm )

Monash University, Menzies Lecture Theatre H3, 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

Register now

In his lecture, Associate Professor Henderson will discuss the ‘wicked problem’ of when digital technologies are used in education. In responding to this ‘wicked’ complexity, he will propose that we can adopt design methodologies in our teaching preparation and in student learning, In doing so he will explain the stages of design thinking and will also share several creative thinking exercises that can be used with students and teachers.

This is a free event. Attendees can receive a certificate of attendance for their professional learning records.

Find out more and register to attend


Links to curriculum and teacher standards:

  • This lecture will describe the process of design thinking. Design thinking is referred to in the Australian Curriculum as a valuable way to engage students in deep research and action oriented idea development. It is also referred to by AITSL as a method to engage educators in professional learning and for school change. It is one approach to problem solving and creative thinking (see APST Standard 3.3).
  • This lecture will explain why technology is so hard to implement and how we might ‘problem solve’ the situation to better achieve our goals. Digital technologies and ICTs are a feature of both the Australian Curriculum and the teacher standards. In particular teachers are expected to use effective teaching strategies that integrate ICTs (see APST Standard 2.6).
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October 13, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Digital Literacy School Grants (DLSG)

header_circle_secondarypageThe Digital Literacy School Grants are an initiative under the Inspiring all Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM measure of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Grants of between $10,000 and $50,000 are available for schools and other organisations to encourage and facilitate implementation of the new Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. Grants will be awarded for project proposals that demonstrate innovative methods for driving enhanced digital literacy in schools.
Single school projects are eligible, and multi-school projects spanning primary/secondary, and/or a combination of sectors are also encouraged.


Grant proposals must:

  •  Focus on school−based activities or programs that support school leaders and teachers to understand and implement the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies on a whole of school basis, and/or
  • Engage students with the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Examples of projects could include:

  • Partnership models whereby a school partners with one or more schools to exchange best practice, ideas and innovation
  •  Partnerships between a school (or schools) with industry to access professional expertise and/or equipment to implement the Digital Technologies curriculum
  •  Leveraging off existing facilities to establish cross−curricular ‘creation/fabrication’ spaces including 3D printers, laser cutters and the like
  • Supporting professional development for principals and school leaders to become ICT champions through facilitated learning and/or other training methods to transfer their learnings to other teachers.

Application process

Applications for the first round of project funding have now opened (Monday 19 September 2016) and will close at 5 pm (Canberra local time) on Friday 28 October 2016.

Timing for the second round of project funding will be published on the Department of Education and Training’s website in the first half of 2017.

All DLSG processes will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines – July 2014 (CGRGs). The CGRGs can be found at

For more information, including eligibility requirements, please see the DLSG Grant Guidelines. To apply please download the Grant Application Form and email your submission to

Frequently asked questions (FAQs ) are available for the Digital Literacy Schools Grants initiative.

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October 12, 2016
by Jillian Brown


On Tuesday 6 September, the Minister for Education and the Minister for Families and Children together launched STEM in the Education State, Victoria’s STEM education policy.



VicSTEM is your one-stop shop for all things science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related. You can also download a copy of STEM in the Education State at this website. VicSTEM brings together the latest tips and advice, fun activities, career pathways and professional learning initiatives for educators, students and families. VicSTEM will be updated as new initiatives and programs are rolled out.



The Victorian Maths Challenge mathschallenge

The Victorian Maths Challenge is a fun and engaging way for families to engage in real life mathematics and explore problems together.
This year, the Challenge for Years 5-8 students runs until 29 November 2016. To jump straight in, head to:
For early childhood educators and families, resources have been provided to support the engagement of children with everyday mathematics.
To find out more, please visit or email:


Science and Mathematics Specialist Centres sciencemaths

The network of six Victorian Science and Mathematics Specialist Centres engages students and teachers across the state in contemporary, experiential STEM programs. These programs are available to all Victorian students and their teachers, through on-site visits to the Centres, participating in virtual programs, or Centre staff visit schools through the outreach programs. The Centres are for all Victorian students from Prep–12 with priority given to rural/regional and disadvantaged schools.


Education in Games Summit – 7 November 2016 gamefulworld

Themed Inspire+Design+Play, and part of Melbourne International Games Week, the Education in Games Summit 2016 invites educators to join us for a day packed with insights and practical takeaways about games, gameful thinking and techniques to bring the Digital Technologies Curriculum to life. To find out more, and to register, visit:


Victorian Schools Games and Apps Challenge challenge2

Design, plan, create a prototype for a game or app that solves a real world issue and go in the running to win an Xbox One console, plus the chance to develop your idea with Microsoft.

The Challenge is an exciting way for teachers to implement the Digital Technologies and Critical and Creative Thinking curriculum areas with links to the STEM agenda. Students in Years 6, 8 and 10 from all Victorian schools have the opportunity to develop crucial future skills, solve authentic problems, and develop and code a prototype app or video game.

Key dates: Competition is open now – Applications Close 5pm on Friday, 14th October.

Finalists showcase prototypes and winner announced as part of Education in Games Summit at ACMI on 7th November, 2016, as part of the Melbourne International Games Week.  


Maker resources for schools  makeymakey

Maker Resources are available to borrow from the Department. To find out what is available, check here: Please check the Maker calendar and contact Wendy: if you wish to borrow equipment.


Taking SmallBYTES smallbytes

The Taking Small BYTES card deck showcases learning opportunities built around digital technologies and other play based learning experiences. The cards support the implementation of the outcomes of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. To download a copy, please visit:

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October 10, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Victorian Maths Challenge


The Victorian Maths Challenge is now open and we are encouraging families with children in Years 5 to 8 to join in the fun.mathschallenge2

The Challenge, which runs until 29 November this year, provides a range of hands-on, open-ended and interactive activities that promote problem solving. Whether it’s erecting a paper tower in the Eureka Challenge, making estimations in the Paper Planes Challenge or building and keeping a boat afloat in the Titanic Challenge, there is a challenge to interest everyone in the family.

With eight exciting challenges to choose from, each with videos and instructions to help families succeed, it’s easy to get started. Each challenge has been designed to provide a relevant industry and careers context and links to the Victorian Curriculum.

The Challenge aims to increase confidence and engagement in mathematics by encouraging families to explore and discuss maths concepts every day. Family participation in learning is one of the most accurate predictors of a child’s success in school and beyond.mathschallenge

Families can take on as many of the challenges as they like and share their experiences online, through photos, video or personal stories.

By encouraging families to participate in The Victorian Maths Challenge, school leaders and teachers can help show parents/carers that maths today is more than learning by rote, and is about trying and applying a range of strategies when approaching maths tasks.

Schools could support participation by:

  • launching the Challenge in a Family Maths Night
  • advertising the Challenge in a school newsletter
  • hosting after-school parent maths sessions
  • using Challenge resources
  • suggesting Challenge activities for students’ homework.

Schools could also encourage families to share some of their educational, active and fun experiences at a celebration event during/after the Challenge’s final week.

The Victorian Maths Challenge schools section has been created in partnership with the Mathematical Association of Victoria, who will moderate the site.

For more information about the Challenge or to get started, see:



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October 7, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Intelligent Transport Systems Congress – 13th Oct

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-7_44_29-pm-1df3pyvWhen:  13th Thursday October

Times:   10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30pm

Register NOW at

This term, schools will be showcasing their STEM work at the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems Congress) in Melbourne.  Schools across Victoria have been involved with the Smart City Project where they have programmed MBots, Spheros and drones to maneuver a city automatically using sensors. Other schools have been involved in the mini solar challenge.

If you would see what they have been busily creating and how they have solved problems tune in on Thursday October 13th.  There will be 4 morning sessions on offer as well as four afternoon time slots, showcasing the driverless/mini solar cars at Albert Park.

Fill in this form to register for your place on this day. Select one or more times and then you will be sent an email with the details of the session room number in Polycom or Lync.


Thursday Oct 13th

Smart City/Mini Solar Challenge – 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00

Driverless cars/Mini Solar Challenge – 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30

Teachers can join the broadcast on a Polycom unit or via Lync where students will be showcasing their smart city coding and the mini solar racing vehicles.  This will be a great opportunity for students and teachers to see STEM in action for future learning and inspiration for projects.

For more information, visit the ‘STEM and ITS Congress’ blog at


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