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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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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.

Complete this month's survey

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 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.