March 17, 2017
by Jillian Brown

Media Release: $4m to put students’ STEM learning into action


16 March 2017

$4m to put students’ STEM learning into action

The Australian Government will invest $4 million over the next four years to help Australian school students put their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning into action.

The Maker Projects initiative opened today for grant applications from eligible Australian schools and community organisations to help set up dedicated maker spaces that offer students hands-on experience in practical aspects of design, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as STEM engagement activities.

Around 75 per cent of the jobs of the future will require qualifications in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. So it’s never been more important to properly equip Australia’s schools to encourage our young people to engage with a range of technologies as creators as well as consumers.

The initiative will offer grants of between $2,000 and $5,000 to cover the costs of tools, equipment, software and consumables needed to establish maker spaces that encourage experimentation and tinkering in a supervised and accessible environment.

It will also support community organisations with grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to expand existing STEM engagement activities and link young people with local experts, inventors, entrepreneurs and industries.

The Maker Projects initiative is part of the four-year, $29.8 million Inspiring Australia science engagement programme encouraging community participation in science and technology as outlined in the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

It builds on existing successful school and community-based ‘maker’ activities, like local Maker Faires, Coderdojo coding clubs, and the Questacon Smart Skills Initiative. These activities allow young people to design and build in the real and digital world, make movies and stop-motion animation and learn the art of creating.

These activities will expand Australian students’ horizons beyond the school curriculum towards the everyday experiences of engineers, scientists and innovators, giving them the skills they need for critical 21st Century jobs.

Maker Projects grants will be allocated to eligible applicants on a ‘first in’ basis until the annual allocation is exhausted. To apply or for more information, visit

Media Contact: Nat Openshaw, 0409 049 128

March 16, 2017
by Jillian Brown

World Storytelling Day – 20th March 2017

Thanks to ACTF for this blogpost

A global celebration of the art of oral storytelling, World Storytelling Day encourages people to share stories and inspiration, and to learn from each other. With this year’s theme of ‘Transformation’, the MY:24 App is an ideal digital tool for students to share their own stories with.

The MY:24 App encourages young people to reflect critically on their own experiences, and to share a transformative day of their lives as a visual text. It was inspired by the factual TV series MY:24 – a collection of stories from young people recounting the 24 hours which changed their lives forever.

The app allows students to create a mini-documentary through the use of basic templates and the in-built capabilities of an Apple iOS device. By following the prompts, users create a three-minute film that includes: a ‘diary cam’ introduction; an image montage with voiceover; a video re-enactment with filters; an interview with a family member or friend; and film credits.

The MY:24 App relates to a wide range of learning areas and in the Australian Curriculum, including English, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Media Arts. It encourages self-reflection through the exploration of students’ own culture and identity, and creating and publishing a digital text develops their ICT capability.

Relevant content descriptions for English (Literacy strand) include:

  • Year 5 – Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements. (ACELY1700)
  • Year 6 – Use a range of software, including word processing programs, learning new functions as required to create texts. (ACELY1717)
  • Year 7 – Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to confidently create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts. (ACELY1728)
  • Year 8 – Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate. (ACELY1736)

For further ideas on using MY:24 in your classroom, download the freely available MY:24 Study Guide for English.

March 14, 2017
by Jillian Brown


Thanks to Vesna Sholz Talbot and Caitlin Bain at Hawkesdale P-12 College for this week’s blog post

The #girltakeover event focusing on safety in the age of instant content was held in Melbourne at the Facebook/Instagram office on Safer Internet Day, 7th February, 2017.

The event included year 9/10 girls from various schools, some from metropolitan Melbourne and others from further away. Facebook/Instagram, in partnership with the Department of Education sponsored the event. Project Rockit and Sticks’n Stones created a variety of tasks for everyone to participate in such as discussions about areas of cyber safety, games that encouraged social interaction and fun activities.

Our highlight was getting involved in specific discussions with other students from different schools. One of the main topics of our discussion were adults on social media and what role they play as parents. We rewrote Internet Safety Rules that were originally written by an adult, were put in a positive way and in the students’ own language, knowing that teenagers would now take greater notice compared to the negatives tone used previously.

Other highlights included:

  • feeling valued as girls and students, and being encouraged to share our opinions on some of our favourite social media outlets
  • the rainbow cupcakes and doughnuts for morning tea (complete with social media icons)
  • the amazing view from the building (15th storey)
  • the safe and open environment.
  • meeting and interacting with other people
  • the very energetic hosts who were highly involved


Our main take away from the day is that when talking about the safety of deletable media, it does not have to be negative, boring and unappearling to teenagers. In fact it can appeal to teens, in a fun way that doesn’t seem like a punishment.

We have the power to be the change!

March 7, 2017
by Jillian Brown

Adobe ‘Have a Voice’

Adobe and Department of Education, Learning and Teaching Branch are pleased to announce Adobe Have a Voice.

Groups of students are invited to create a video story (maximum of two minutes), animation (maximum of one minute) a website/web page or poster about a topic or issue that is important to the group of students (minimum of two per group) using at least one Adobe product.

The Showcase

Schools can enter a maximum of five entries for the official end of year Showcase, however they can have as many groups create a project as they like. Each school will need to determine which groups will represent the school.

Selected entries will also be promoted on the DET FUSE site and by Adobe Education publications.

Click here to access the online expression of interest form.

The Expression of Interest form must be submitted by no later than close of business on Thursday 30th March, 2017.

Stay informed about future Adobe in Education professional learning opportunities for teachers in Australasia via:

Join the Australasian Adobe Professional Learning Group on EdEx to say in touch with Adobe in Education

Check past Adobe in Education active use activities via and CreateEdu TV


March 7, 2017
by Jillian Brown

Outreach Virtual Classroom ‘Respectful chat, I can do that!’

Session: 17/03/2017 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Presented by Greg Gebhart and Sandy Phillips

The presentation will assist students to:

  • identify when upsetting and annoying behaviour becomes cyberbullying
  • recognise the emotions that appear when they or a friend is having a bad online experience
  • deal with cyberbullying and seek support when it is serious
  • remember to always use respectful chat online

With the help of classroom teachers, the presentation will feature interactive questions and answers.

The presentation will be a guided experience for classrooms with complementary resources aligned to the theme. Other related resources are available from our website.

After the presentation, teachers are encouraged to complete a brief survey.


March 2, 2017
by Jillian Brown

Dance Academy Movie Webinar

For Upper Primary & Secondary Students

With Alicia Banit & Joanna Werner

Monday, March 20

On March 20 students from schools throughout Australia will have a unique opportunity to be part of a live Q&A webinar with Dance Academy movie cast member Alicia Banit (Kat Karamakov) and Joanna Werner (Executive Producer, Producer and Co-Creator of the Dance Academy TV series and movie) before the film’s release on April 6 in cinemas Australia-wide.

Students will be able to ask questions to Alicia and Joanna about acting, dancing, producing and the behind the scenes stories of the movie and the TV series. This event is open to Years 5-12 students.

Places will be limited in the webinar, so check the details below to register.

Dance Academy Movie Cast & Producer Webinar Details
Monday, March 20
11.00am – 12.00pm (AEDT)
Years 5 – 12 (upper primary and secondary students)
Email to register:


  Alicia Banit is both an actress and dancer best known for her role as Kat Karamakov in the television series Dance Academy.

Alicia’s first acting appearance was in the Australian film Dead Letter Office, playing a younger version of the main character Alice. In 2006, she had a two episode minor role in the Network Ten soap opera Neighbours as Madison Sullivan.

In 2007 she was cast in Chris Lilley’s television series Summer Heights High as Kaitlyn for the duration of the first season.

In 2008 Alicia appeared in Rush as Gemma Rose Parker. In 2009 she was Leah in season one of the Australian drama series Tangle. In late 2009 Alicia was cast as one of the main characters Katrina Karamakov in the television series Dance Academy.


Joanna Werner is a three time Emmy Nominated, AFI, AACTA and multi Logie award winning producer.

Joanna is the Executive Producer, Producer and Co-Creator of the acclaimed teen drama series Dance Academy which was the first production for her company Werner Film Productions. Dance Academy first screened in 2010 in Australia and has gone on to be a global success screening in over 160 countries around the world.

In 2015 she was the Executive Producer, Producer and Co-Creator on the teen series Ready For This, a co-venture between Werner Film Productions and Blackfella Films.

Joanna recently produced Dance Academy – the feature film following on from the Dance Academy series.


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