October 28, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Little Lunch Halloween Special!


The much-loved class of Little Lunch is back for a spook-tacular special this Halloween on ABCME.

Little Lunch: The Halloween Horror Story premieres October 31st, 5PM with a repeat screening on Saturday the 5th November.

The half-hour special episode has already made waves internationally prior to its premiere.
actf_news_little_lunch_halloween_atticus In “The Halloween Horror Story”, Atticus is delighted to be starring in a Halloween-themed school play. But when Atticus’ mother gets a job in Singapore, he discovers that the day of the play will be his last day of school, forever.

The Halloween Horror Story cracks open the heart of the spooky celebration to explore – beyond a scary costume – what it is that children really fear and how they can overcome it.

Little Lunch: The Halloween Horror Story will also be available on ABC iView after its premiere.

Copies of the ACTF publications Care for Kids and Education News are also available for download.

October 27, 2016
by rcrellin

History and Digital Technologies supporting great student learning

History and digital technologies come together with these fantastic programs run by History Teachers Association of Victoria 151124_kc_princeshill_ps

Kids’ Conference

The Kids’ Conference is coordinated by the Australian Catholic University and the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria. It provides a platform for tech savvy primary and secondary school students to showcase their History and Geography digital projects to a diverse audience of educators and peers.

  • Tuesday 29 November 2016
  • Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy Campus

Click here to book or view further conference details. School students and pre-service teachers attend free, but must still reserve a place through the website.


National History Challenge

The National History Challenge is a research-based competition for students. It gives students a chance to be an historian, researching world history, examining Australia’s past, investigating their community or exploring their own roots. It emphasises and rewards quality research, the use of community resources and effective presentation. Students can develop their research using a range of digital presentation styles including website building, podcasts, app development, film making, Minecraft, virtual reality or using a range of functional apps. The competition is free to enter and open to students in prep to year 12. Click here to find out more.

The Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize

Do your students fancy a free overseas trip to places of significance where Australian soldiers have fought? Students have the option to develop a response using a range of digital or multimedia presentation styles and could find themselves winning the trip of a lifetime! The Spirit of Anzac Prize is a free competition open to year 9/10 students in Victorian schools. Click here to find out more.

Thanks Dr Jo Clyne for providing this information. htav-logo

October 26, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Underbool Primary School: virtually Chinese

SBS News: Video-link classes bring Beijing to Victorian outback schools

From an outback school to bustling Beijing, primary school students are using technology to bridge cultural and language barriers.

The dry, sleepy grain-farming town of Underbool couldn’t be more contrasting to the bustling, crowded congestion of Beijing. But in this tiny primary school in Victoria’s far north-west, 25 students make the journey to Beijing each week, without even leaving the classroom.

‘My Chinese Teacher’ is a video-link program which operates in 42 Victorian schools. Co-founder of the program and owner of the company ‘My Education Group’, Tom Shugg, says he had noticed regional primary schools suffering from chronic language teacher shortages and poor resources. ‘If they’re beyond 20-kilometres outside of a capital city, they typically can’t find a language teacher, or they are able to find a language teacher that would really struggle to retain them,’ Mr Shugg says. Each Wednesday, students up to grade-six tune-in for their lesson with teacher May. Even before the class begins, the kids are learning as she pans her camera out a window giving a ‘live-shot’ of downtown Beijing. The cars, the smog, the congestion are a real eye opener for those at Underbool Primary.

For Hamish Farnsworth, who hails from a farm out of town, the Beijing vista is less than appealing. ‘I’m thinking I love the country better than the city because the air is cleaner instead of the fog and all that,’ he said. But the aspiring grazier sees merit in the program all the same, and is already planning a visit. ‘Because I could go sell my sheep over there for 5,000 Yen a lamb,’ he said.

Underbool Primary School Principal Rebecca Prentice says one of the major benefits is the bond the school has developed with their ‘other’ teacher, May. ‘It’s phenomenal. They just love looking out the window, they love asking her personal questions family questions, how different it is, the food,’ she says. And for 10-year old Indie, the weekly classes have inspired a hunger to travel and a career objective. ‘I want to go over to China and be a zoo keeper because I like Pandas and they’re my favourite animal,’ she says.

The most commonly asked questions focus on the country’s culture rather than the language. Technology and education expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus from the University of Melbourne says that’s one of the main advantages of this interactive program. ‘The language that the children learn is not just your text book of Latin from 2,000 years ago,’ Ms Dreyfus says. ‘It’s a live language and a live culture. It’s who the Justin Beiber of China is and that’s likely to excite young minds.’

This article was originally published on the SBS News website: Video-link classes bring Beijing to Victorian outback schools (27 July 2015)

See more Virtual Learning Snapshots


October 25, 2016
by Jillian Brown

Code the Future

Code the Future connects developers with educators to help students learn how to code.code-the-future

They are presenting at a Meetup session and they are looking forward to sharing some amazing stories from their community and projects.


When: Thursday, November 3, 2016 6:00 PM

Where: Intrepid Travel
Level 7 567 Collins St

You can always get in touch with Bec, Will & the Code the Future Team through the group profile on Meetup.

Don’t forget to RSVP. See you there. :-)

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

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 http://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/?ZY2GMP

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 – http://fuse.education.vic.gov.au/?ZY2GMP

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.

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.

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   http://diglearning.global2.vic.edu.au/?s=archibald

Ballarat Art Gallery: http://www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au/gallery_exhibitions/the-archibald-prize-2016/

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 michaelnichols@ballarat.vic.gov.au  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. http://www.digipubs.vic.edu.au/pubs/virtuallearning/home. Technical advice or assistance is available from Gary Schultz – schultz.gary.r@edumail.vic.gov.au

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.




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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