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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
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ABC Splash: a new multimedia resource for teachers and students

Report

ABC Splash (http://splash.abc.net.au/) is a public online education portal that provides students, teachers and parents with access to an extensive range of educational media resources mapped and aligned to the Australian Curriculum. A range of student activities and skill-based resources promote interactive learning and help students to operate confidently in a digital, highly globalised world. Parents are provided with suggestions and tools to assist them to engage with their children and support them as they learn. Teachers will find a rich source of Australian content and interactive activities for use in the classroom which are linked to current events and relevant to the major issues of the day.

The portal provides access to the video clips, audio, images, interactive games and info graphics from the ABC's archive, selected for their relevance to education, and cleared for use by schools. Searches can be filtered by year level, learning area and media type. New material is being added as it is produced across ABC media platforms.

Most of the ABC Splash media resources are supported by curriculum information that allows teachers to identify the learning area, curriculum strand and substrand, as well as the relevant content codes and content descriptions. Many of these resources also include 'Things to think about': points for students to consider before, during and after they view the resource, with suggestions for further study.
 

Some key sections of the website

On the home page, a search box allows searches by title or topic. Alongside it, the menu bar at the top of the page offers links to the following:

  • Early primary, upper primary and secondary (7–10) resources. When the user clicks through to any of these pages, they see small panels offering access to resources on English, science, mathematics and history (the Australian Curriculum phase 1 subject areas).
  • A parents' page. Articles of interest to parents appear in the centre pane of the page. Users may also browse through collections of resources at the bottom of the page, via horizontal scrolling.
  • A teachers' page, described in more detail below.

Under the top menu, a carousel provides access to selected items from the website, giving a taste of what's on offer. Below this the small panels allow the user four key search options:

  • 'News stories' takes the user to news items that may be of interest to students.
  • 'Games' takes the user to interactive games, searchable by year level and subject area.
  • 'Collections' takes the user to collections of still images and video clips on particular topics, supported by textual explanations.
  • 'Teachers' takes the user to a collection of resources targeted to teachers, each on a particular theme. They provide ideas for teachers to build on, as well as suggestions for assessment.

To see all items available for each area, click on the arrow at the bottom of each panel.

At the end of the page, users can view the latest items added to the ABC Splash collection.

The 'Teachers' page (accessed via the top menu bar)

Clicking the 'Teachers' tab in the top menu bar takes the user to a page introducing the readers to material directly addressed to educators. Near the top of screen, just under the menu bar, a carousel presents sample items from other sections of the website, giving a quick insight into what it offers. Articles of interest to teachers appear in the centre pane of the page.

On the left are tabs to allow users to search by learning area. Currently this covers English, science, mathematics and history. Clicking on any of these learning area tabs opens the option to search by specific year levels within that subject area. Having selected a particular year level, users then have the opportunity to widen the search to other year levels, or to more than one subject area. At this stage the user is also able to filter the search by media type. Resources for geography and The Arts will become available in the coming year.

Users may also browse through selected teacher resources available at the bottom of the page, via horizontal scrolling.
 

Examples of ABC Splash resources

The website provides various resources, including video clips with supporting text, collections of video clips and still images on a particular topic, and teacher resources. Here are some examples of three types of resources.

Video clips with supporting text

Fossils and the Earth's Past is an eight-minute video clip describing how fossils are preserved and what they tell us about the Earth's past, focusing on the trilobites living in the ancient Cambrian period. It comes with a three-line overview and a transcript of the video. In the 'Things to think about' section, students are invited to consider issues such as 'What other living things existed in the sea at this time, and why are they less likely to leave behind fossils?' and 'In what type of rock are fossils most commonly found?'

When users click the 'For teachers' link for this resource, they see connections to the Australian Curriculum: science strands and substrands that the video clip relates to at years 5 and 8. (Anyone accessing the resources from anywhere in the site will see this information.)

While science is particularly well catered for, there are also a range of resources for the other Australian Curriculum phase 1 subjects – mathematics, history and English.

Collections of video clips and images on a topic

Some of the resources on the website are in the form of 'collections', targeted to either students or teachers. They each contain sets of images and/or video clips with accompanying textual information on a particular topic. For example, the student collection Palaeontology: Unlocking secrets of the past focuses on fossil evidence and palaeontology, including the topics of how fossils form, how palaeontologists use fossil evidence to piece together what life forms probably looked like, and how ancient creatures may have lived and how their particular features helped them survive.

As further functionality is added to ABC Splash, users will be able to create their own collections of resources from the website.

Teacher resources

Teacher resources are a collection of media resources organised under a common theme, sometimes covering several related topics.

For example, Improving your writing is a resource for year 10 English. Click the red 'Launch to view' icon to access the resource. It is organised under two topics: (1) Creating a character's voice, and (2) Creating literature/Creating texts: using genre to explore complex ideas. The resource offers pointers for creation of character, creating a character's voice and using genre to explore complex ideas. It also offers supporting materials.

Teacher resources all include advice and guidance. Open and flexible, they provide ideas for teachers to build on, as well as suggestions for assessment.
 

Further development

More collections and teacher resources will be added as ABC Splash is developed further this year and next year. Future releases will also include a range of social-media tools enabling interactivity and the creation of personal profiles, as well as the capacity to facilitate user-generated content and group collaboration.

The ABC welcomes feedback on this early version of the site. Comments may be sent via the 'Tell us what you think!' button on the website.

KLA

Subject Headings

Teaching and learning
Curriculum planning
Video recordings in education
Multimedia systems
Multimodal learning
Electronic publishing