Confronting the arch enemy.

Return to work week. Return to meetings, classes, projects, correction and everything else that comes with the teaching profession.

Return to a confrontation with my arch enemy.

 Time.

Time to learn new things. Time to implement new ideas into my practice. Time to transform our library functionality into something more reflective of the things I am used to working with now. Time to meet my commitments. Time to write this blog. Time to raise my children. Time to be a wife. Time to be a daughter. Time to be me.

How do we do it all? Truth is, we can’t. We have to compromise. I have to make do with posting two times a week sometimes because my kids need me more than my readers do. I have to work at my full time job because I have students relying on me and it has to be my primary focus.

There’s no avoiding the push and pull of time that drives our lives. We just have to accept it and do the best we can. Just as I was beginning to write this post, emails came through indicating action on our class Ning. The conversation that is taking place there right now is focused on our study of Michael Gerard Bauer’s, ‘The Running Man’. Our discussion prompt is, ‘The Running Man – your early impressions.’  The emails I received tonight came through at 8.00pm and 9.00pm. Here is what was posted. My comment intersects the two.

“I liked that Joseph didn’t complain like some other shy characters do, this made him far more likeable. I found The Running Man more of an ‘intelligent’ book than ‘Bye, Beautiful’ if that makes sense, this was another reason why I enjoyed it so”

“I think you’re right. It is an intelligent book. It makes you appreciate how language can be woven to create images that make you pause and consider. I think ‘Bye Beautiful’ had similar qualities to some extent. Personally, I appreciated the way that novel was written as well. Could it be, as you suggest, that the likeability of Joseph was a marked contrast to the character of Sandy who many found to be whiny and insipid?”

“Yes I also think that Joseph is a really pleasant character. Most characters that are labelled as shy and introvert are usually quite annoying and whiny like what you have all said. I think Joseph has sort of a peaceful and pleasant feel to him, although he is quite nervous sometimes around people; he’s not the annoying nervous like for example Sandy (as you said). When you’re reading the book you don’t feel impatient with him like -“Oh hurry up already and just spit it out.” –

I haven’t finished the book yet but so far i’m really liking it… for some reason it doesn’t feel like a book that we have to read for school, it’s more like a hobby book. 🙂 ”              

So yes, I am confronting my arch enemy every day. I am battling with my arch enemy, time. But the time I have invested is reaping rewards. And I bet it is for many others out there too.

We just have to realise we can only do what is possible in the hours we have at our diposal.

Deal with it. Accept it. Do the best you can with the time you have.

I’m trying.

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Students are doing it for themselves.

(sing the title to the Pointer Sister’s tune!)

I haven’t updated of late about the Year 9 Ning running across our four classrooms at Toorak College. Mostly that’s because life has been crazy for me and I haven’t had time to feed it to the extent that it needs in order for it to be a rich environment. One of the things I’ve learnt is that a Ning needs a leader to constantly drive momentum. It can’t survive with just a leader, the community needs to be plugging away too, but leadership is an essential component.

I wondered how things would go now that we are on school holidays. My prediction was that it would be quiet. We’ve been focused on assessment and end of term careers week and we didn’t get class time to prompt student involvement.  I figured this would translate into next to no activity.

Well, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. To start with, a fellow teacher uploaded a discussion about ‘Mid year holiday English fun’ and asked the students to reply to this;

What will you be up to during the winter break that is related to English?

* I’ll be curling up in front of the heater with a cat on my feet, cocoa with marshmallows in one hand, and a book in the other.
* I’ll also be visiting my local library to check out their new books
* I’m going to write in my diary
* I might go to see a play or a comedy show
* I’ll certainly be watching lots of movies!    

And yes, kids have been replying.

And then today, I got this email from one of my students;

My dad sent this to me and it is english related… i have also put it on the ning.

Now this is a student who was not particularly interested in the Ning at the start of the year. Here’ s what she posted as a discussion;

UP. A little word with a lot of meaning.

SIT UP AND TAKE NOTE:

“up”

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this. It is yet another example of why people learning English have trouble with the language. Learning the nuances of English makes it a difficult language. (But then, that’s probably true of many languages.)

There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is ‘UP.’ It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this up is confusing:
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP,you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I’ll wrap it UP , for now …….my time is UP , so time to shut UP!

Oh….one more thing:
What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?

U P 

Well, it’s made my day. It made me smile and it made me realise that the kids are connecting with this forum. The fact that a student who was disinterested in the beginning, now makes the connection between something her Dad sends her and the learning environment we have created at school is pretty darned impressive in my opinion.

I’m feeling UP about the Ning right now. Let’s see if the Ning can remain UP at the forefront of my students’ minds over a three week break.

Sleepout 4 Schools – well worth the effort

I’ve been meaning to post about the Sleepout 4 Schools event run by the Yr 9 students of Toorak College for the last week, but time keeps running away from me. It’s vitally important that I give it the space it deserves; the students involved worked tirelessly and pulled off a marvellous day to support girl’s education in Kenya and India.

The idea began with a whole day activity where the girls were exposed to ideas about how they could make a difference. They found out about the Bal Ashram in India and their plans to build a girl’s school to help save girl’s from child slavery. They also listened to Mark Lukach when he skyped in from San Francisco and told us about Daraja Academy, a girl’s school in Kenya started by Jason and Jenni Doherty that had just opened its doors two weeks before.

That day sowed the seed and ideas germinated. A  meeting of 30 or so interested students saw them decide on the idea to hold a sleepover at school as a fundraiser for the two schools.

After quite a few weeks of planning the event was held on May 22nd. During the day the girls participated in a Global march into Mt.Eliza to raise awareness about the plight of children forced into child slavery. A neighbouring school, Mt.Eliza Secondary College, joined them and lunchtime shoppers and proprietors of our local shopping centre listened to the girls’ message. It was very well received and the girls felt like they had made an impact.

global_march_sleepout_4_schools

global_march_3

At 6.00pm the sleepover began. As teachers, we’d been given a running sheet from the girls in the organising committee, but we fully expected that we’d have to step in to get things going. We couldn’t have been more wrong. They were supremely organised. All of the girls, all 54 of them, had paid to sleep over. During the  night they raised money by selling popcorn and lollies and a group of them made friendship bracelets that they sold. Some of them had sought sponsorship from family members and friends to collect after the event.      

At 11.00pm we skyped Mark Lukach in and he talked about the progress of Daraja Academy. He was pretty #stoked (you have to know Mark on Twitter to get that one!) that 54 students had gone  to the effort of getting together to do something good for others. Jason Doherty, the founder of Daraja was the next to skype in. This was Jason’s first ever skype call so it was pretty exciting. He was able to give us a lot of detail about Daraja and how the girls there are faring. Jason extended an invitation to our girls to visit the Academy; who knows, maybe one day we will get there. Jabiz Raisdana then skyped in from Qatar to let us know he was impressed with the effort of our students. It helped to let the girls appreciate the global nature of what it is they are doing.  

It was after 12 midnight by the time we’d finished our calls so you can imagine it took a bit of time to settle to sleep. We were up and at ’em by 7.00am the next day. We still have to get a final total of how much money was raised, but it should be close to the $1,000 dollar mark.  Last Monday two of our students visited a local radio station and spoke eloquently and passionately about what they’ve been doing. 

We are very proud of the efforts of these Yr 9 students. They have a genuine sense of the importance of service unto others, of thinking outside yourself. That’s an important part of being human as far as I’m concerned and school communities can be instrumental in helping our young people to understand this. These students have also gained an understanding of their role as global citizens. They have used technology to connect with the people they want to help; we can’t get to Kenya direct yet but we are hoping to start to write to the girls over there. The girls created a Ning to support the project  because they wanted to reach out to others to try and gather support. We didn’t quite manage that, but there’s always next year!  

Sleepout_4_Schools_May_2009

Nice work girls. We’re very proud of you all.

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Lurker or Contributor, or maybe Innovator?

I didn’t get to the DEECD‘s Innovation showcase on Friday. I’d sent in a proposal for a session but it was knocked back. The fact that I teach in the Independent system and not the Public system may have had something to do with that, but that’s probably just sour grapes from me!!

Thanks to the very obliging John Pearce, who is truly one genuinely nice guy, I’ve been able to partake in some of the experience by reading through his Cover it Live embeds on his blog. Cover it Live is an application that allows you to ‘live blog’ your observations as you watch someone present. John has embeds on his blog from presentations delievered by Jason Smith, co-founder of TeacherTube and Martin Westwell, Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century.

John recounts something Jason referred to that has me intrigued; 

the 99:1 rule 

  • 90% of people in online communities are visitors, (lurkers)
  • 9% are early adopters who add to the commentary and/or content but can’t really be depended on
  • 1% are the givers who continue to maintain the innovation

I don’t know where he got those figures from, but if they’re right, they have implications for the use of social networks in schools. I know that the Ning we are using for Yr 9 has some regular contributors, but it also has a spread across the year level. I know it’s artificial to some extent because we ask the students to make contributions because it relates to curriculum, but I am heartened by the fact that forum topics are being created by students. Of the 34 forum topics posted, 15 have been initiated by the students. That’s a pretty good number posted by a spread of students across the year level.

There’s no denying also, that there are students for whom this forum is just not their thing. And that’s OK; you can never guarantee that any teaching method you employ is going to hit the mark for every kid you teach. But maybe they’re lurking?? It’s something I hadn’t really considered. I think what I need to do is set up a Survey Monkey for the end of this term to attempt to get some feedback and derive some statistics from which I can draw some conclusions.

Lurking is something that I find very interesting. By nature, I’m a participant and not a lurker, so I find it a little hard to understand why some wouldn’t want to enter the conversations. But then again, I’m the ‘E’ personality type who’d prefer to go the party rather than sit by the fire with a book. I think that translates to my online life as well. But those figures Jason referred to are mind boggling for me. I suppose if there are 90% of people out there lurking (a word I really don’t like – the connotations are sinister I think) then that accounts for the small number of comments in proportion to the number of hits on this blog. 

And as for the 1% of innovators, well I guess I can see that in the networks I operate in. When I first started reading educational blogs I had this perception that the base  was huge; I now know that is not the case.  I suppose that translates to our teaching communities as well; if you think about schools you’ve worked in, who is innovative and who sits back and lets others come up with new ideas? What proportion of your school community does this relate to and do the figures translate to the 99:1 rule?

Mmmmnn….interesting things to consider. Thanks John for providing me with a PD experience on my weekend. 

*Update – read this post re research on the 99:1 rule. Makes for interesting reading.

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Is Zac Efron Leonard Whiting’s love child?

Cover of "Romeo & Juliet"
Cover of Romeo & Juliet

Honestly, I’ve no idea, but the girls at my school are wondering.

This term we’re studying Romeo and Juliet in Yr 9 English. We’ve been sharing our thoughts about the play on our shared Ning and have watched the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of the play in class to help with our understanding. There’s no doubt tackling Shakespeare’s language is difficult when you first confront it; we have to be mindful that it is a play meant to be performed, not read.   

An observation we’ve made (and I have to admit I was the first to raise it with my class!) is the uncanny resemblance Zac Efron has to Leonard Whiting who plays Romeo in the 1968 film.  

I’ve been out to dinner tonight and took a look at the Ning when I got home to see if there was any activity I needed to follow up. What I discovered was a forum post that’s been added by the students, Leonard Whiting (Romeo) vs Zac Efron.  They’ve posed this question for consideration;

Were these two separated at birth? (Or father and son?)

and added attachments with pictures of Leonard and Zac.  So far seven students have replied. My favourite is this;

Totally, Leonard could be Zac’s Father…

and do you think that Romeo and Juliet and High School musical are related?

Now, some might say this isn’t the kind of discussion topic noteworthy of inclusion. I couldn’t disagree more. For a start, it was a discussion initiated by the students around something that has sprung from what we are doing at school. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The students are adding their own forum topics quite regularly.  What it is, is a demonstration of the community that has formed around this Ning. The students are using it as a focus point for discussion; they are relaxed in the space and feel at ease sharing their opinions.    

I love it. It’s confirmed for me once again why a participatory learning culture is important; we are human beings who need to interact, we don’t need to work in isolation and many of us don’t want to. Why should our classrooms operate as islands when we can form archipelagoes?   

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Why Ning needs an ad free education platform.

I love Ning. I really do.

I’m just not all that happy with them right now.

Those of you who follow this blog will know that I started a Ning for our Yr 9 English classes in February this year. It’s been fantastic. A true learning community has formed and it’s become embedded into the fabric of our Yr 9 curriculum. I’m loving the engagement that is possible and the way I can connect with students who aren’t in my actual class. Just tonight I was showing it to parents at our Parent Teacher night. All were impressed and could see the benefits to student learning that this environment promoted. I asked Ning to remove the ads before the students had even joined and they were happy to oblige.

I also help to run Working together 2 make a difference, a Ning site that encourages educators to come together to share their experiences with service learning projects. Once again, I asked Ning to remove the ads and once again, they were happy to oblige.

Last week I had a moment to savour. Yr 9 students who actively engage in our English Ning came to see me to see if I could help them set up a Ning for their Sleepout 4 Schools initiative. They’d figured out that Ning was the best platform for them to engage the wider community in what they are doing.  Sleepout 4 Schools is a school project involving our Yr 9 students; they are holding a fundraiser for our school community on May 22nd in an attempt to raise some money for Daraja Academy and the Bal Ashram in India. The students are working very hard to plan an evening where we will sleepover at school, have fun, skype with Mark Lukach hopefully and raise some money that will help to make a difference.

We set the Ning up. They are working as administrators of the Ning as well and are excited about the possibilities. They are trying to engage other surrounding schools in this service learning and are using the Ning as a tool for connecting. I asked Ning to take the ads off.

They didn’t oblige.   

And so began the email process of me asking (begging really) and them denying.  Our most recent email correspondance saw me ask this;

 Dear Ning team,

Sorry to continue to dispute this, but it is a direct part of our program and is a vital ingredient in the teaching of our students. We are endeavouring to have our students create positive digital footprints for themselves in safe and ethical ways. Having ads that display free video chats for girls is not what I feel is a good advertisement encouraging safe and ethical use. If you look at the domain names of the members they are all students from our school. We are trying to encourage global involvement with other schools to have them participate as well.

Can I please ask you to reconsider once again.

 

Reply from Ning was this;  

 

 

Dear Jenny,

 

 

Thanks for the follow-up. Once again, while we definitely respect what you’re doing, this simply isn’t covered by what our program is offering. You’re still welcome to purchase the Go Ad-Free premium service, and you can find more details here: 

http://help.ning.com/cgi-bin/ning.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3547&p_created=1233612091 

Best, 

 

The Ning Team 

 

 Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it hard to understand how Sleepout for Schools differs from the intentions of the Yr 9 English Ning and Working together 2 make a difference. It’s a school project, set up by and for students. It’s about EDUCATION.    

Wikispaces and other Wiki creation companies are friendly to K – 12 education. You don’t have to request that ads be removed; they trust that if you tick that box saying it’s for K – 12 use it will be and a Wiki is provided ad free.   

Ning is offering an amazing platform that can be utilised so well in education. Please, those of you making decisions at Ning, think about offering a service for education that will encourage users to explore its potential. We need an ad free service; one that won’t expose students to inappropriate ads that make it hard for us to justify the use of what is an excellent resource in school settings.  

 

 

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The Horizon Report: 2009 K-12 Edition

Educause and the New Media Consortium have just released the K – 12 Edition of The Horizon Report. Horizon Reports always make for interesting reading, as they predict the time to adoption of many of the emerging technologies finding their way into the fabric of our teaching. Horizon reports usually have as their focus higher education institutions. This report has K – 12 education as its focus so their evaluation of likely adoption in Primary and Secondary education is especially interesting.

One of the very interesting observations they make in the findings is that assesment and filtering impact on the degree to which some technologies can be adopted in school settings. It’s the old story of assessment driving curriculum and affecting adoption of new ways of doing things. There is no doubt it is difficult assessing someone’s efforts commenting on blog posts or their participation in ning networks. And yet these are valid pursuits that can lead to real engagement in learning. Filtering is another issue; the unfortunate fact is that impressive tools like Voicethread and Ning are often classified as ‘social networks’ or ‘chatrooms’ and filtering software prevents them loading in some schools. I’ve had to go to my network administrators to have blocks removed and I’ve heard the same story from many other educators.  

So, what are the findings, what are the trends to watch?

Time to adoption – One year or less

  • Collaborative Environments
  • Online Communication Tools

Time to Adoption – Two to three years

Time to Adoption – Four to five years

I don’t know if I totally agree with their findings. I’d find it surprising to see Nings become mainstream in the next year within school settings, given that most of the educators I know stare at you blankly when you mention the word. Unless we some some major investment from Government to support  Professional Development for teachers in the field of new technologies, I just can’t see mainstream adoption in such a short time frame.

Take a read for yourself. It’s well worth downloading and showing to your school administration. Congratulations go to Judy O’Connell who served on the advisory board of the project.  

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So, how’s that ning going?

Some of you who have been reading here would be aware that I started a ning for the Year 9 English students at my school. When I started I told you I’d be checking in every now and then with a progress report.

So, here goes.

All told I’m pretty happy with the progress. Very nearly the entire year level is signed up; we’ve had hiccups with one class but they should be resolved next week. The students don’t all contribute, but we have some active users and some of them have continued to start forum topics with no prompting from staff members. 

One of the most popular forum topics relates to the novel Twilight. One of our teachers started it and it’s been popular with a wide range of students. It’s certainly been a means of forming the community. I like the fact that the students can see that we as staff can relate to their reading interests.

Certainly the staff involved have adopted it and are embedding it into their practice. When we meet as a team we discuss how we can use the ning to support our learning outcomes. In the coming weeks we intend to upload our issues topics as forum discussions and will encourage our students to post their opinions. We can see that this will offer students access to opposing points of view and will probably assist those students who are struggling with ideas.

Having YouTube videos easily accessible in the ning has been wonderful for just in time teaching moments. When we were discussing teenage pregnancy (a feature of our novel study of Bye, Beautiful)  I was able to flick into the videos page in the ning and show relevant videos that demonstrated the thinking of 1960’s Australia. I’ve been locating some music video clips that relate to Romeo and Juliet in preparation for our text study next term. You can see how many views each video has had which is useful in tracking student use of the ning. It’s clear that students have accessed these videos out of class time which is really pleasing.

The students like the fact that they have their own pages and can change their profiles. Latest activity in the ning often indicates they are leaving one another messages or updating their profile. I like the fact that you can open a student’s page and see where they have made input into the ning. I’m figuring this is going to be useful to use in parent conferences.

Just having an opportunity to read some of their reflections from across classrooms is very powerful. The fact that I can comment of the reflection of a student I don’t teach is wonderful I think. I’m able to support my colleagues and that student to understand that teaching can be available to you from others in spaces like this; you aren’t restricted to the one classroom, one teacher notion that pervades most school systems.

Certainly the flurry of activity that was evident in the early stages has slowed down. You have to work a ning. You need to be adding new content all the time to keep it fresh. But I think we’ve seen adoption. In the last couple of weeks I’ve heard the word ning used at a school assembly and the Principal referred to it in his newsletter item for our school community. How many schools out there would be using this term – not a whole lot I’m betting.

I presented our Yr 9 ning to our English faculty this week and was excited today to hear today that our Yr 12 teachers have started a ning for their English students. A staff member told me how impressed they were with what was happening at Yr 9 and how they thought the discussions that can be generated in  ning would be helpful for the students. I was thrilled -this was exactly the message I was hoping to convey in my presentation. The fact that adoption is spreading is testament to our involvement in PLP (Powerful Learning Practice). I truly believe we would not be making the leaps that we are without the impetus this program provides.

I’m hopeful that we are going to have one of our PLP cohort schools involved in our ning. The school is a boy’s school from the United States and we have invited them to join our ning to engage in forum discussions with our girls. This is a means of bringing male voice into our school – we are an all girl’s school, and while I believe there are advantages to single sex education, I do think exposure to  a male viewpoint is important.  Having them join the ning will be a means of addressing this issue for both of our schools. The girls are certainly excited about this possibility so I hope it pans out for us.      

Do I think it’s been worth implementing?

Absolutely. No question. And I think my students would agree. I do feel a real sense of community, a feeling that we are in this together and we are there to help to one another out. There’s no doubt it’s not the forum for everyone, but it certainly is a powerful tool and one that I feel is worth the investment of time.

Connections……

Toorak College, Mt Eliza
Image via Wikipedia

Today we had a planning afternoon for our PLP group at Toorak College. It was just what we needed. Time to talk things over, show one another what we have done, teach one another some new skills and contemplate what all this means for teaching and learning. It was great. By the end of the session there was a sense that we have purpose and direction.

Seeing people excited about possibilities enthuses me. One of our teachers has set up Artrak, a blog to showcase the talented students we have and to provide our girls with links and updates about happenings in the creative world that will interest them. Sue, who works with me, is excited about developing the libray blog, 2rak info 4 u. I was able to show people the dynamic environment our Yr 9 ning has become as four classrooms work together.  Amanda has created a wiki supporting Business Studies and has introduced them to Working together 2 make a difference where the students are creating pages and building their digital footprints. There are other projects starting and our group is working towards supporting the efforts of one another. We are forming connections across our subject areas and classrooms.

My experience with Powerful Learning Practice has seen me benefit from the connections I have made with like  minded educators who are active in our ning environment. People like our community leader, Darren Kuropatwa, Tania Sheko, Susan Carter Morgan, Carey Pohanka, Frances Manning, Alex Ragone, Jennifer Clark Evans, Amanda Ritter,  Hiram Cuevas, Melanie Hutchinson, Adrian Camm, Rhonda Powling and others who value the sharing nature of the ning. It’s had a huge impact on my understanding of  virtual learning communities and the power of the connections you make. Yes, it does take time but the rewards come in the form of support, encouragement and professional learning.

Our journey continues with PLP and we will see the impact it has on teacher adoption of new ideas as they are embedded into practice. Today was a good day. I’m hopeful of more to come.

 

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Australian Screen – great resource

I looked at Australian Screen a year or so ago but didn’t explore it fully. This week we’ve been searching for material to support our text study of Bye Beautiful. We’ve been uploading videos to our Yr 9  Ning chronicling life in 1960’s Australia to help our students contextualise what it is they are reading.

Megan, who I work closely with, visited Australian Screen and located some fantastic  short clips about the shame of teenage pregnancy in the 1960’s. They’ve been cropped from documentaries and are perfect for what we need. We’re not interested in a 30 min documentary, we want a short grab that can pique interest and spark discussion. The clips we’ve been using are downloadable as MP4 files and can be uploaded into our Ning site from our computers.  Here’s one of them depicting societal attitudes of the time.  

They have an Education section. Below is a screenshot to give you some idea of the resources you can locate.

australian_screen

Here is what they say on their home page about their site;

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

australianscreen is a look at the Australian film and television industry, from its earliest days to the present.

You can view clips from Australian feature films, documentaries, TV programs, shorts, home movies, newsreels, advertisements, other historical footage, and sponsored films produced over the last 100 years, with curators’ notes and other information about each title. The site currently contains clips from over 1,000 titles and is constantly being added to.

You can also visit our education page for educational content provided by The Le@rning Federation. All clips with teachers’ notes are marked by the e symbol.

*And just a update on progress with the Ning. All is going very well. Students are participating in forum discussions and have even added some themselves. It’s very early days but we are finding that it is becoming an excellent means of locating and storing resources to support curriculum. A mini LMS – very useful. I have had to have a discussion about appropriate use of the site for our purpose. They were engaging in the send a ‘Hi there ha  ha ha’ type messages back and forth while in class. A quick discussion about the fact that this in not their facebook or myspace site was employed at that stage. We do need to form community, but a learning community, not       I’ll keep you updated.