Monday, 2 November 2009

Cyber-savvy students take top honours

Rory Young's animation
Runner-up Rory Young's animation

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) today announced the winners in the 2009 national Screen It competition and they are all model cyber citizens.

Open to all school-aged students nation-wide, entrants are invited to enter a work into one of three categories - live action film, computer game or animation, responding to the theme, Cybersmart, chosen in consultation with competition partners the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to get students thinking creatively about how they engage with the internet.

ACMI Education Programmer Kim Bounds today said the theme is particularly relevant in our technology-saturated society.

"Australian students are engaging with the internet every day, many of them having used it daily since childhood. What ACMI has aimed to do is integrate lessons about cybersafety into the curriculum, bringing it into the consciousness of students. Through Screen It, teachers and students investigated topical issues such as what it means to be a cyber citizen, they explored the types of relationships that occur online, the way we experience online communities, as well as investigating topical issues such as online conflict, online language and information sharing and copying," she said.

The hot topic among contestants this year was cyber bullying, chosen by many as a focus of their entry, demonstrating that students and teachers are taking the discussion to the class room. The resounding message: it's not on.

"Clearly cyber bullying is an issue that is important to students, teachers, parents and indeed the whole school community," says Kim. "That students have chosen to focus on cyber bullying this year indicates that it is an important issue to them and it's fantastic to see that it is being discussed in the classroom."

The creative outlet Screen It provides means it is a great educational tool, not just for how to be a responsible cyber citizen, but also for learning how to make films, animations and computer games.

"Besides learning about cyber safety, students benefit from learning production techniques - sometimes teaching their teachers a thing or two - and developing their creativity, resourcefulness and teamwork skills along the way. Perhaps most importantly, students have a lot of fun throughout the process and walk away with work they can really be very proud of," she said. 

For the second year running, the most popular categories were Primary Animation, indicating a great confidence in harnessing technology among students at a primary level.

The prize for Best Primary Animation has been awarded to Andy Chhoa, a Grade 6 student at St Paul's Primary School, West Sunshine, Victoria, for his work 'The Goods and Bads of Internet.' Last years Primary Animation winner Rory Young, a Grade 6 student from Williamstown, Victoria, has been given a High Commendation, as has a student group from Taylor's Lakes Primary School.

Best Primary Live Action has been awarded to a Grade 5 and 6 group from Cabramatta Public School in New South Wales for their entry 'Scr33n S@v3r'.  This years' competition saw no winners for the Primary Games category and as such, an entry from Grade 2 student Eko Kobakhidze of Albert Park Primary School has been recognised with a special commendation.

The prize for Best Secondary Animation has been awarded to a Year 9 group from Kepnock State High School, South Bundaberg in Queensland for their entry 'Cybersmart'.

The second most popular entry category, and therefore one of the hardest to win, is Best Secondary Live Action and the prize goes to a group of Year 11 students from Sacred Heart Girls' College in Oakleigh for their film entitled 'Cybersafety for Beginners' A group of students from the same class also received a High Commendation for 'Static Age'. The school also picked up the Award for Secondary School Most Finalist Entries with 3 entries making finalist status.

Best Secondary Computer Game goes to a Year 10 group from Como Secondary College, Como, Western Australia, for their work titled 'Virus x1.'

With 7 finalists shortlisted, Melbourne Grammar School, Grimwade House in Caulfield, Victoria, takes home the Award for Primary School Most Finalist Entries.

The announcement precedes the official Awards Ceremony to be held at ACMI in Melbourne on Friday 4 December, will hosted by award-winning performer Richard Higgins.

The 2009 competition attracted 172 entries created by nearly 500 students nationwide.

Entries represented every state and territory - from Red Hill  in the ACT to Rose Bay in NSW; Caboolture in QLD to Caulfield in VIC; Marryatville in SA to Mandurah WA; Darwin NT to Launceston TAS - Australian school students have been learning what it means to be cyber safe and stretching their creativity in the process. 

Contestants ranged from Grade 1 right through to Year 12. Entries from primary and secondary schools were split with 47 per cent of entries coming from primary students and the remaining 53 per cent from secondary students.

The 2009 competition was judged by a panel of industry experts, including representatives from ACMI, ACMA, the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and independent games developer, Tantalus Media.

Overall, the judges have been impressed with the standard of entries.

"It has been fantastic to see the high standard of submissions and the ways in which the students used the theme of Cyber Safety," Kim said.

Category winners each receive a trophy and a DVD prize pack courtesy of Madman Entertainment. The primary and secondary school with the most finalist entries each win a prize and a perpetual trophy will be awarded to the school with the most number of finalist entries overall.

In addition, winners' work will be shown on the ACMI website and accessible via the Australian Mediatheque's video-on-demand viewing system, accessible to all ACMI visitors. 

Designed to encourage imagination and inventiveness in Australia's primary and secondary school-aged students, Screen It fosters a new generation of young film makers and gamers.

To find out more on the winners and on the competition, please visit www.acmi.net.au/screenit

Teachers interested in being involved in 2010 should contact ACMI's Screen Education unit: screenit@acmi.net.au

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
[email] claire.butler@acmi.net.au  
 
 
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