The new Victorian Curriculum


As has been the practice for a number of years, the first SLAV conference for 2016 focussed on the role of teacher librarians and school library staff in the learning and teaching program.

The 18 March SLAV Conference entitled Student Centred, Curriculum Centred: Exploring the new Victorian Curriculum, was launched with keynote David Howes, Executive Director, Curriculum Division, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).  David introduced the new Victorian Curriculum  to delegates, explaining similarities, differences and integration with the Australian Curriculum (ACARA).  He emphasised that the new Victorian Curriculum supports the Victorian State Government’s goals for education which has as its aims:

Over the next 5 years:

  • 25% more Year 5 students will reach the highest levels of achievement in reading and maths.

Over the next 10 years:

  • 25% more Year 9 students will reach the highest levels of achievement in reading and maths.

  • 33% more 15 year olds will reach the highest levels of achievement in science.

  • More students will reach the highest levels of achievement in the arts.

  • More students will reach the highest levels of achievement in critical and creative thinking.

David also introduced the  Teaching and Learning Toolkit which is an ‘accessible summary of educational research’ designed to support quality learning and teaching.  Its layout is based on the research of Prof John Hattie, where from a series of explicit goals you delve into the site to discover research and practice to support the topic.  This will be an excellent professional learning tool for teachers.

Rhonda Powling captured the Twitter stream from the Conference to create this Storify which includes tweets relating to David’s presentation and others on the day (more about them to come).

SLAV delegates appreciated the depth of analysis and explanation provided by David who appreciates the role of the school library that is actively working with teachers and curriculum leaders to provide the best possible outcomes for students.  His full presentation is available on the Member’s section of the SLAV website.

Upcoming conference – School Learning Commons

On Friday, 8 August, the School Library Association of Victoria will host a one day conference on the theme of the ‘Learning Commons’ model of school libraries – The Virtual Learning Commons: Building a Participatory School Learning Community.  Great excitement surrounds this conference as key presenters will be school library professionals and champions of the Learning Commons model for school libraries, Dr David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin who are making a rare trip to Australia.  During their brief visit, school library professionals will have the opportunity to attend the conference and special workshop days to develop the model more fully according to their own needs.

Dr David Loertscher, Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University (USA) and Carol Koechlin, staff development leader and instructor for Educational Librarianship courses for York University and University of Toronto (Canada) are synonomous with  school library leadership, instruction and information literacy skills development.  They are well know for publications such as Ban those Bird Units and a series of books on the Learning Commons model.

Resources to support school libraries as Learning Commons, can be seen on The School Learning Commons Knowledge Building Center website.  David and Carol also discuss the concept in detail in their article Climbing to Excellence: Defining characteristics of successful learning commons.

Their publications include: The Virtual Learning Commons | The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win | Building a Learning Commons: A Guide for School Administrators and Learning Leadership Teams but are really too numerous to list fully.

This conference will focus particularly on the Virtual Learning Commons (VLC).  As schools move to 1:1 technology and easily accessible online resources, the VLC becomes a valuable tool for teachers and library staff alike in organising resources and guiding instruction.  Delegates will be provided with a framework for developing an online resource to support information literacy skills instruction and guided inquiry.  This really is a ‘can’t miss’ professional learning opportunity for school library professionals.

Full conference details and registration are available on the SLAV website.

A Prescription for Healthier School Librarianship: Transforming Our Practice for the 21st Century

The brilliant Buffy Hamilton has agreed to share her presentation on A Prescription for Healthier School Librarianship: Transforming Our Practice for the 21st Century with readers of Bright Ideas.

A Prescription for Healthier School Librarianship: Transforming Our Practice for the 21st Century

As Hamilton states, the challenges we all face such as:
  • budget contraints
  • filtering
  • fear of change

Can be overcome by:

  • seeing change as an opportunity, not a threat
  • creating a participatory culture and environment
  • multiple forms of literacy
  • multiple modes of learning
  • shared knowledge construction through collaboration
  • listening, sharing and risk-taking
  • Energise your mind by plugging into your PLN

This is a presentation that is thoughtful, creative, intelligent and timely. As Hamilton states, “Libraries are in the change business”. A visit to her website, The Unquiet Librarian is highly recommended.

Gateway to 21st Century Skills

Teachers can access a wide range of educational support materials via The Gateway to 21st Century Skills website.


Teachers must register to use The Gateway, however, it is free to do so.

The “about the Gateway Project” page explains more:


The Gateway expands educators’ capability to access Internet-based lesson plans, instructional units and other educational materials in all forms and formats. The Gateway’s goal is to improve the organization and accessibility of the substantial collections of materials that are already available on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites.

The Gateway is administered by JES & Co., a nonprofit serving educators and trainers at all levels in the USA and around the world.


The Gateway will be the world’s leading digital library and metadata cooperative, helping educators serve students by providing access to educational knowledge through cutting edge innovation and collaboration

Resources are listed by subject:

There are thousands of links to sites available for learning and teaching.

Thank you to Helen Boelens for passing on the information for this site.

21st Century Fluency Project

This is an interesting take on what we are all trying to address. Rather than think of what we are teaching as information literacy, this project applies the term 21st Century fluency.

21st Century fluency

The site explains its aims:

This resource is the collaborative effort of a group of experienced educators and entrepreneurs who have united to share their experience and ideas, and create a project geared toward making learning relevant to life in our new digital age. Our purpose is to develop exceptional resources to assist in transforming learning to be relevant to life in the 21st Century. At the core of this project are our Curriculum Integration Kits – engaging, challenge based learning modules designed to cultivate the essential 21st Century Fluencies within the context of the required curriculum.

In today’s world, it’s easy to see just how vital the internalization of these fluencies really is. They are the essential methodology by which the students of today will transform into the architects and leaders of tomorrow. Working together, we will make the future great.

In addition to the various resources we have crafted, we have strived to make our site just as engaging and informative. We hope you enjoy your time with us as you move forward in to C.H.A.N.G.E. in your classroom.

The site has a lot of useful resources such as:

Anyone can join the project as long as they commit to:

  • Understanding Digital Kids
  • Catching up to the new digital landscape
  • Teaching to the whole new mind
  • Teaching beyond literacy to 21st Century fluency
  • Shifting the responsibility for learning to the student
  • Letting students access information natively
  • Letting students collaborate

Another great resource that gives us ways to start and continue to transform our classrooms.

Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills

This document, from the United States’ Institute of Museum and Library Services (“the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas”) provides important information about helping library users develop 21st century skills.

Although primarily developed for public libraries, there is much that can be transferred to school libraries. The website explains:

The Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills initiative underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.

And the following items seem to be exactly what many schools need to address:

Specifically, this work aims to help library and
museum leaders:
• Envision the library/museum’s role in providing
lifelong learning experiences, specifically around
21st century skills;
• Inventory the 21st century skills and practices
currently in use by the library/museum;
• Identify goals for future operation and program
• Build awareness among policymakers and the
public about the unique value these institutions
provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • Envision the library/museum’s role in providing lifelong learning experiences, specifically around 21st century skills;
  • Inventory the 21st century skills and practices currently in use by the library/museum;
  • Identify goals for future operation and program improvements;
  • Build awareness among policymakers and the public about the unique value these institutions provide to the nation’s learning systems.
  • A notable point from the document applies to all schools:

    The need to enhance 21st century skills is a compelling national imperative. Built on a foundation of deep content mastery, these skills are the new workforce requirements for maintaining U.S. global competitiveness and ensuring each person’s personal and professional success.

    If you are addressing, or wanting your school to address the development of 21st century skills, this document is a good starting point.

    Mount Waverley Primary School Film Festival

    Lee King, Mount Waverley Primary School’s ICT Coordinator/Specialist has developed an innovative and exciting approach to ICT in her school. Lee writes:

    Mt Waverley Primary Film Festival a.k.a. ‘The Moscars’

     The journey ……

     New School Buildings

     It is well recognized that school design has a powerful impact on both student outcomes and innovative teaching. Throughout 2008 and 2009, Mt Waverley Primary School has been going through an extensive rebuilding and renovation project as part of the Victorian Government’s 10-year plan to transform Victorian schools.




    Our new buildings have been designed with the aim of giving students a contemporary education so they are equipped with the skills they will need to be successful and productive members of a 21st Century workforce and society. The design of the learning areas was influenced by the need to be flexible and supportive of different learning styles. For example, the ‘great spaces’ outside the learning areas support collaborative approaches to teaching and learning as well as providing physical space for an interdisciplinary curriculum and self-directed learning. The students are able to ‘spill out’ into areas that allow for a greater degree of independence, individual learning and reflection.

    Year 6 Production – The Trees and The Stars

     With the new learning areas came the recognition that our traditional Year 6 Production was no longer ‘cutting the mustard’.

     Rehearsals took place in core learning time

    • Only a small group of students were truly engaged in the activities
    • Bored students were a behavioural issue
    • Large chunks of time were taken up with a narrow band of discipline-based domains
    • As educators, we were not adequately preparing our students for a 21st Century world.

     As the ICT Specialist/Coordinator, I had been keen to introduce the Year 6 students to ‘Claymation Animation’ and after various discussions with the Year 6 teachers and the Leadership team, the idea of a ‘Film Festival Night’ was born. This would replace ‘The Production’.

     Convincing the teachers was relatively easy. Convincing the students was an entirely different matter.

     These students had yet to experience the trials and tribulations of The Production. They had been part of the audiences since Prep and were looking forward to being the ‘Stars’. They didn’t realize that most of them would end up being ‘Trees’. And, that they would spend many hours rehearsing to be trees!

     There were tears and the school was on the receiving end of a petition and letters and phone calls of complaints from some of the parents.


    These were the changes we were teaching towards. They included attitudinal as well as academic outcomes:

    •  draw on students’ multiple intelligences
    • provide opportunities for students who are not typically good at school with a chance to see themselves as capable members of the class
    • build on their story telling skills
    • be involved in cooperative and collaborative learning
    • be engaged in problem solving, higher order thinking, critical and creative thinking
    • plan and reflect
    • provide opportunities for personalized learning that supported different learning styles and levels
    • Increase students’ control of their own learning
    • be involved in a multi-disciplinary project where ICT is interwoven with other VELS Domains.

     Creating an animation involves music, visual arts, script writing, story development, physics, spatial awareness, ICT, problem solving, personal and interpersonal development – all key skills necessary for the 21st century.

     The Australian Centre for the Moving Image

     The staff decided to take on a team teaching approach. This would include our Art and Music Specialists, our two Assistant Principals, Year 6 class teachers and myself (ICT). As none of the staff had had experience with stop motion animation, we all attended a professional development day at ACMI to assist us to support the students in producing their own stop-motion animations. We believed we needed to experience what we were asking our students to do.

     We worked as cooperative learning groups (much as the students were going to do) to explore basic stop-motion animation, production processes and skills completing a short stop-motion animation.

     Areas covered in the training included:  

    •    storyboarding
    •    scripting
    •    character
    •    set design and construction
    •    camera 
    •    editing
    •    music   


     We thoroughly enjoyed the day, however, we were made aware of what a steep learning curve we were facing.

     Community Partnerships

     First and foremost – going over to the ‘white side’……

     It was clear that Mac computers offer the Applications needed to create and edit the animations. Garageband would also enable the students to compose their own music, add voiceovers and layer these to make a cohesive and fluent sound track.

     We were primarily a ‘PC’ school and few of the teachers and students had experience with Mac computers. We leased 15 Macbooks and Gary Bass from Connecting Point, together with Glenda Schubert, our Assistant Principal, ran familiarization workshops with the students. They particularly enjoyed Photo Booth and much laughter could be heard when they viewed some of the grotesque images produced.

    ……… The Apple Store Chadstone

    As part of the Year 6 Film Festival Project, we organised a series of excursions to the Apple Store at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

     The purpose of the excursions was to provide the students with hands-on access to the Mac computers and the expertise of select Mac trainers and Specialists. They had opportunities to create new projects and showcase some of their existing work. The emphasis was on using software to create animations and movies.

    mwps4  MWPS5

    Needless to say, they were highly engaged and loved the experience.

     Glenda and I took advantage of the One-to-One training offered by Apple and completed extensive training in the editing and production stages of movie making.

     …….. Parents and Friends

     It was soon obvious that we didn’t have enough funds the cost of the equipment needed.

     Parents and Friends to the rescue! They gave us enough to supply:

    • Digital microscope cameras
    • USB back-up devices
    • Lights
    • Additional software
    • A visit by Adam Elliot

     We were extremely lucky that they valued the vision and philosophy behind the project.

     Adam Elliot

     Yes …. THE Adam Elliot!

     We wanted to launch our Film Festival with a ‘big bang’ and decided to approach Adam to speak to our students. Who better to inspire and motivate them? 

     From the beginning, he was keen to be involved. He is passionate about his craft and I believe that his interest in our project arises from his belief that schools should provide for more diverse forms of self-expression.

     The Academy Award winning Animation Writer and Director grew up in Mt Waverley and his 2009 feature film “Mary and Max” is set in Mt Waverley Town. It incorporates many scenes and objects remembered from his childhood.

     He spoke to the students and spent time with each of the animation teams, offering advice and tips and tricks. Many of the students incorporated these into their own animations.

     mwps6  mwps7

    One aspect that Adam emphasized was the importance of the story line.

     ‘At first I was embarrassed [on winning the Oscar for Harvie Krumpet in 2004], and then realised that we won because our story was stronger. I truly believe it has nothing to do with budgets or what studio the film came out of. At the end of the day it all comes down to a good story well told’.

     He is a wonderful man – an engaging and inspiring speaker, unassuming and generous with his time and very patient with the endless questions that came his way.

     Adam must have enjoyed his visit to Mt Waverley Primary as he offered to come to our Film Festival night and be a guest speaker! We were delighted as this would add weight and credence to our project.

     Meanwhile …… At The Coalface

     The story was the beginning.

     The teachers used an inquiry approach and immersed the students in examples of claymation animations. Pingu was a favourite!

     Genre workshops followed. These included:

    • Comedy(slapstick, parody/satire, sitcom, mockumentary)
    • Drama & Reality TV
    • Documentary/Current Affairs/News
    • Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

     The students organised their own co-operative learning groups. They identified the genre they would like to use and decided upon a Production Company name. Students designed a company logo and this was attached to a specially designed Mt Waverley Film Festival lanyard.

     Many sessions of script writing, editing and storyboarding followed.

    mwps8  mwps9

     Specialist classes in Art involved the making of the clay figures, sets and backdrops.

     Music focussed on the use of Garageband for composing the appropriate music for the sound tracks.

     My own role, as the ICT Specialist, involved training the students in the use of the various software programs such as ‘I Can Animate’, iMovie and Garageband (for voice recording and sound effects) and the final editing process.

     Once the animations were complete, the students designed their own movie posters to advertise our film night.

    The Night

    It was highly successful and the culmination of a great deal of creative collaboration, skill development and enthusiasm. The students thoroughly enjoyed showcasing their achievements for their friends, family and Adam Elliot. Their interest and enjoyment in the ‘Claymation’ project has indicated overwhelming satisfaction and engagement in the process.


    The staff involved will soon be participating in a debriefing to discuss the positives and negatives. There are many aspects that we, as teachers will need to refine for 2010. This has given us a focus for our teaching. E5 here we come! 

    Adam Elliot speaking to the audience

    Adam Elliot speaking to the audience

    Winners of the inaugural Adam Elliot Award
    Winners of the inaugural Adam Elliot Award

    Congratulations to Lee and all of the teaching staff, students, parents, friends and Adam Elliot on an innovative and engaging project that will no doubt stay in the minds of those involved for a very long time. An amazing project!

    21st Century ready students: start with the teacher

    Here are two recent presentations by US educator Brad Flicklinger on 21st Century learning that you should find inspiring (you’ll need QuickTime to view them):

    21st Century skills part 1. 

     21st c skills 1

    The “Spot the skills” slide is especially relevant – six skills that demonstrate 21st Century learning:

    1. Creativity and innovation
    2. Research and information fluency
    3. Communication and collaboration
    4. Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making
    5. Digital citizenship
    6. Technology operations and concepts

    Also “spot the skills” for teachers:

    1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
    2. Design and develop digital -age learning experiences and assessments
    3. Model digital-age work and learning
    4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility
    5. Engage in professional growth and leadership

    Watch the video to find the answer to the question “How do we know when someone has 21st century skills?”

    Brad goes on to discuss how we can embed such skills into the curriculum and how can we ensure all teachers are skilled up. He also addresses the issues many teachers have with technology:

    • lack of time
    • lack of equipment
    • lack of confidence

    as well as the teachers who are ‘blockers’.

    21st Century skills part 2

    21st c skills 2

    In this video, Brad suggests that teachers complete an online, self-paced Web 2.0 course such as the SLAV Web 2.0 Learning with the Web or the Syba Signs Web 2.0 course. However, Brad suggests that teachers could take up to a year to complete the course so that the course is truly self-paced and there is less pressure on the teacher.

    In the course that Brad uses as an example, teachers are then challenged by their school Principals to produce a curriculum unit (or artefact) that embeds Web 2.0 into it, therefore using, refining and sharing their newly acquired skills. This is an excellent idea as it promotes sharing and learning as well as getting teachers comfortable with their skills and seeing how they can be used directly in the curriculum. So steps to doing this are:

    1. Pick an ‘artefact’ such as a podcast that shows 21st Century skills.
    2. Embed these skills into the curriculum using rubrics so students and teachers know what to expect.
    3. Use online support such as Atomic learning (be aware that they are sponsors of Brad).
    4. Reward teachers who support 21st Century learning (for example, Principals give teachers digital cameras etc. to use in curriculum development. Brad suggests that funds could be sourced from Regions/Districts.)
    5. Principals should be leading the way. If teachers are expected to have blogs, then the Principal should have a blog and be reading the teachers’ blogs.

    So if we want 21st Century students, we need to start with the teacher. Or if you listened to Brad’s presentations, start with the Principal. Or if you really listened, start with the Region/District. The question is, can we do this? Can we get our Regions to make this happen? Maybe it is already happening?

    21st Century learning?

    If you are having trouble convincing colleagues about the need for technology in schools, this video entitled Mr Winkle Wakes might just change their minds…  It would be a great way to begin a meeting or presentation on ICT in schools. (If you don’t have access to TeacherTube at school, consider accessing it at home and dropping it into Vodspot. It is well worth the effort.)

    It is certainly food for thought and is true in many schools, despite the best efforts of many! Thank you to Sharon Brennan for sharing this one.


    Looking for a fantastic free animation development site? Scratch just might be what you are after! Developed by a team at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Scratch is designed to be used by educators.

    Scratch homepage
    Scratch homepage

    According to the Scratch website

    Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

    Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Scratch is available free of charge: go to Download.

    As Scratch is aimed primarily at children (8-16 years), there is a raft of information for educators:

     Scratch is designed with learning and education in mind.

    As young people create projects in Scratch, they learn many of the 21st century skills that will be critical to success in the future: thinking creatively, communicating clearly, analyzing systematically, using technologies fluently, collaborating effectively, designing iteratively, learning continuously.

    Scratch can used in many different settings: schools, museums, community centers, and homes. It is intended especially for 8- to 16-year-olds, but younger children can work on Scratch projects with their parents or older siblings, and college students use Scratch in some introductory computer science classes.

    There are a variety of resources that can be helpful in introducing Scratch.

    See Scratch Videos for videos on how to use and to introduce Scratch

    The Getting Started Guide offers a step-by-step introduction to Scratch

    Scratch Cards offer a fun way to learn Scratch code you can use in projects

    The Scratch 1.3 Reference Guide is a manual that explains the Scratch software

    The Translation page lists resources in Spanish and many other languages

    Different people get started with Scratch in different ways. Some like to tinker with various blocks to see what they do. Others like to experiment with the sample projects that come with Scratch, and then make changes to the scripts. As an initial activity, we often encourage people to create a project using the letters in their name.

    To learn more about the educational ideas underlying Scratch, please see:

    One-Page Handouts
    Learning with Scratch | Creating with Scratch | Programming with Scratch

    Programming Concepts in Scratch 1.3

    Scratch education case study from the National Center for Women and Information Technology

    Scratch and 21st Century Skills

    Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society

    Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age

    Technological Fluency

    Learning by Designing

    Research papers about Scratch

    Scratch Educator Online Forums

    Visit the Educators forum to discuss ideas with other educators using Scratch

    New! Visit the Scratch Classroom 2.0 wiki

    As you can see, Scratch has excellent resources for educators and as Scratch is available in many languages, LOTE classes are well catered for. The terms and conditions  of Scratch explain that the site is open to any age and users are encouraged to flag inappropriate content.

    The best part about Scratch is that you and your students can download the program for free, without even registering on the Scratch website. That means that your students can keep all animations completely private if you wish and only upload the animations to the Scratch website if they really want to share their work with the world.

    Stay tuned for another animation tool shortly.