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Perspectives

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Perspectives is a monthly blog where ACMI Educators deliver round-ups on topics relevant to teachers engaging with the moving image and digital culture in the classroom.

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Keep scrolling to read the latest Perspectives piece or skip to a previous one using the below links.

2020

March: Online learning

February: Addressing the climate crisis and bushfires in the classroom

2019

November:  On film and cinema

October: Learning with Videogames

September: Viral videos and education

March, 2020

Online learning

We are discovering much about our world during these trying times and fortunately it is not all about toilet paper and pasta. Social media platforms have gone into overdrive with suggested resources for remote and online learning and it can be overwhelming. We have spent a bit of time assessing some of what is out there and want to share some of the highlights with you. We hope our overview provides you and your students with practical and stimulating teaching opportunities.  

Now that learners cannot head out and about on excursions, it is wonderful that so many museums and galleries have digitised their collections and created virtual tours of their sites. The online art forum and publication Hyperallergic has helpfully shared a list of ten online tours and we can also recommend the NGV virtual tour of Indigenous art exhibition Marking Time and the fashion-focused Collecting Comme. And don’t forget ACMI is looking forward to being able to share our new museum with you and your students when we re-open and life gets back to normal. 

If you are wanting to engage primary students with science-focused investigation, Mystery Science has gathered some engaging video lessons of varying lengths. Check out this ten minute lesson on sound effects. Thanks to zoo webcams your students can access animals in zoos all around the world, so you could build a unit around scientific observation with each student focusing on a different set of animals. 

The folk at Scholastic have created a daily menu of lessons and learning resources, and teachers can pick and choose what works best for their students’ learning plans. We liked this simple history of emojis, as a great way to get students thinking about something they probably take for granted. And our friends at the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) offer excellent resources to illuminate a range of engaging programs and have put together ideas for learning at home

You don’t really need us to remind you about the invaluable resources created by our friends at ABC Education, but you can also encourage your students to check out the ABC’s brilliant resource on news and media literacy. Supporting young people to be critical thinkers and thoughtful citizens has never been so important. We also need to build digital citizenship from an early age and Interland is a fun game for building awareness in primary students.  

Literacy and storytelling is at the heart of what we do at ACMI and we are captivated by this charming project which involves actors and animation bringing picture books to life.  

If you want to get your students creating their own live-action, animated or game-based stories whilst at home, ACMI Education has some excellent online resources and modules to help them get started.   

The message is keep it simple, which this helpful teacher working in Beijing emphasises. And we agree that it is not all about screens. To that end, we want to share our flipbook and thaumatrope templates for younger learners and suggest you set senior primary or early secondary students one of our favourite design challenges, making a game out of a single sheet of paper.   

We also need to encourage learners to keep moving for the sake of their physical and mental well-being and remember, when all else fails, there is always something to cheer us up on social media.

Perspectives, February 2020

Addressing the climate crisis and bushfires in the classroom

This summer was defined by the tragic bushfires which took lives, homes, businesses, huge tracts of bushland, and a staggering amount of wildlife. Few students will have escaped this confronting news and the surrounding conversations about climate change. In the aftermath, students may be looking to you, their teachers, for more information and perhaps even some inspiration to make a difference.

So what resources are available?

For schools in fire danger areas, education around readiness can be empowering, and there are appropriate resources from the Red Cross, and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has resources covering a range of topics such as bushfire preparedness, response, and recovery. UNICEF and Better Health each offer guidance in communicating with children about the bushfires.

And how about inspiring students to shape a better future? The documentary 2040 models a positive, pro-active approach to the challenges facing people and the planet. The film gives young people a voice and engages with creative, pragmatic and entrepreneurial thinkers from across the globe striving for a cleaner, more sustainable future. ATOM’s comprehensive study guide and 2040’s website / digital campaign HQ provides teachers and young people with further information and innovative approaches to the issues raised.

We know school support for the School Strike 4 Climate varies but we think the group’s website and resources provide secondary students with a powerful model for positive action. And finally, this article  reports on the curriculum materials created to support New Zealand schools in approaching issues around climate change with their students, “because kids are already in the conversation about climate change.”  

There will be a number of opportunities for engaging in this important conversation with us at ACMI when we reopen, including joining us for a screening of 2040.

Perspectives breakdown, November 2019

Thanks to everyone that completed the November survey about the cinema debate Martin Scorsese opened up, and for telling us a little about your resource use in the classroom. A majority of teachers we heard from were Media teachers working with Years 9-12, and opinions varied on whether Scorsese was perhaps out of line equating Marvel films to theme-park rides, with many sitting on the fence. We also asked about digital de-aging techniques seen in Gemini Man (and a number of other films) and whether it spelt the 'death of cinema' to use some extreme wording. Most didn't see it as it is that dire at all, with opinions ranging from indifferent to encouraging. We were also heartened to see teachers telling us they use a range of resources from ATOM, ACMI, ABC Education, and YouTube as well as developing their own bespoke resources for their Media classrooms.

Perspectives, November 2019

On film and cinema

This month we’re thinking about all things cinema. Developing our primary and secondary film program for the re/newed ACMI 2020 has led to much reflection by our team members on the role of film in the classroom and in our lives.

We’ve been fascinated by the debate generated by Martin Scorsese’s initially off-the-cuff observation that Marvel movies are more akin to a theme park than cinema. His remark has generated some passionate responses, for and against the franchise. Indeed the passion expressed by those on the opposite side of the debate is a reminder of the cultural significance of the superhero universe.

Scorsese has since qualified his comment in an essential read for Media teachers. But whether or not you agree with him on Marvel, none of us could doubt the integrity of his perspective. He is a passionate advocate of film history and screen literacy.

Screen literacy is integral to English and Media Arts in both the Australian and Victorian Curricula, and there are many practical resources available including these accessible modules for primary and secondary students. We’ve been enjoying the Into Film resources, and always keep an eye out for the latest ATOM study guides (such as Quilty: Painting the Shadows) and ACTF resources on FUSE. And what about this behind-the-scenes insight into the making of the brilliant Toy Story 4!

Most of all we look forward to sharing our new film program with you in February supported by plenty of screen literacy resources from ACMI to support you in the classroom.

We'd love to know about how you use films in the classroom. Let us know by completing the Perspectives survey.

Perspectives rundown, October 2019

Last month, in the lead-up to the Education in Games Summit, we asked teachers about their experience of using videogames in the classroom. We had some positive responses in regards to using Minecraft for collaborative projects as well as using games such as League of Legends, Overwatch and Fortnite for a curriculum-based subject on eSports. 

Videogames in the classroom is not without its challenges, with student behaviour in Minecraft cited as an issue (preventing them from destroying each others work can be challenging). But one teacher turned this into a learning opportunity around social etiquette and student-led rulemaking for their game worlds. Changing the way parents view videogames and eSports looks to also be a challenge faced by teachers.

Perspectives, October 2019

Learning with Videogames

This month, inspired by the Education in Games Summit next Monday 14 October, we’re looking at videogames in the classroom. Young people’s engagement with videogames is always a hot topic, and we believe that  videogames can be powerful learning tools.

Minecraft is a sandbox game full of possibility that encourages collaboration, creativity and design skills. Supported by clear learning outcomes, it can be highly successful in the classroom. Experts at Monash University offer approaches to using Minecraft purposefully to build STEM skills, as well as educational applications of Minecraft that address real world problems. And of course, there’s Mini-Melbourne Minecraft-style which is free through FUSE.

Media controversies around videogame addiction and violence need to be taken with a grain of salt but it can be hard to track down games with positive messages and creative value. We are delighted to have discovered Alt-Arcade which curates monthly lists of non-violent games, as well as the gaming community Kind Words where anonymous users can share stories and support each other.

Although we don’t believe students interested in videogames need necessarily pursue a career in the videogames industry, we were heartened to hear about the success of local gamemaker Grace Bruxner with Frog Detective, and the popularity of Untitled Goose Game which has the simplest and greatest premise we’ve ever heard: ‘It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose’.

The educational possibilities that videogames and the games industry offer appear to be boundless - and often unexpected. Recent examples include videogames exploring evolutionmedia literacyinclusivityShakespeare, and team cohesion. Never underestimate the cross-curriculum learnings activated through the creation of videogames – check out some of the former winners of Screen It to see some of the creative gems students have produced for our competition.

Have you had experience using videogames in the classroom? Let us know by completing the Perspectives survey. You can also read the findings from last month's survey on viral videos on our Perspectives blog page.

Perspectives rundown, September 2019

In September we asked teachers to tell us about the challenges and opportunities online videos presented in the classroom. We learned that online videos are being used a great deal in the classroom and that generally speaking sites like YouTube host valuable educational content around news/ current affairs and educational topics. You told us though that YouTube is not the be-all-end-all and is great when used appropriately. We heard too that there still issues around the blocking of video-hosting sites in some schools, as well as limited data use for students.

Teachers told us about some of the ways in which they use online videos. The resources on Lynda.com seem to be great for Secondary use, with ABC Education's video content also proving popular. One teacher has been using music videos to analyse politics and socio-historical perspectives, and another uses video to teach elements of genre and narrative.

We're sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are countless ways in which teachers are utilising online video content in the classroom.

Perspectives, September 2019.

Viral videos and education

Last month, along with countless others, we were captivated by a video of salmon being sent upstream in a plastic tube and the deep fakery of comedian Bill Hader morphing into Tom Cruise. Each of these viral videos enjoyed a brief but intense moment of YouTube viewer attention before being replaced by the next big thing. However, what was different about each of these videos was that each was, in its own particular way, educational… The salmon video wasn’t even new (it had originally been posted in 2014) but in 2019 its positive message resonated – it is possible for humans to work with nature for better outcomes. It captured the collective imagination and generated some fascinating online responses. In turn, the Bill Hader video provided a simultaneously entertaining and sinister insight into a high stakes issue that is not going away.

The world of online videos is a notoriously difficult one for educators to navigate but there are plenty of highminded suggestions for legitimate classroom use. But what about outside the classroom? The panic around Momo earlier this year highlights the fear with which adults view the impact of young people’s online engagement, so maybe it’s time to do a bit of discreet research on what’s currently capturing your students’ attention. The word is that Tik Tok is the site du jour for pre-teens, while many of the young adults in your classrooms are wanting to connect with outsider voices such as Billie Eilish. Eilish’s most recent video clocked up nearly 40 million views in a few days, and is a powerful plea for climate action.

If all this global shareability is taking its toll, you’ll find the perfect antidote in the very quiet online world of Cat Man.

Perspectives rundown: August, 2019

In August we asked teachers about their thoughts on the photo-realism of the new The Lion King.

80% said they preferred the original to the 2019 remake, but there was definitely an appreciation shown for the leaps forward this latest version took in terms of animation technology.

When asked about your favourite styles of animation there was a lot of love for hand-drawn animation and claymation, although 3D animation and cel-animation were also mentioned as some teacher's favourites.

We were interested to hear about how you were using animation in the classroom with a number of teachers citing stop-motion animation (particularly claymation) as a great way introducing animation to both Primary and Secondary students. 

We also heard how you are using animated films in the classroom. We loved learning about one teacher's use of Shaun the Sheep for a foley activity. Thank you too to this teacher for introducing us to a wonderful resource from the UK in Into Film. Studio Ghibli films and Australia's very own Mary and Max were also mentioned as great animations for use in the classroom.