Innovative Learning Environments Expo 3
Friday 15 October, 2010 at the Community Arts Centre, Seymour
Developing and living an educational rationale. What does it look like in action?
Mooroopna Secondary College
This podcast is brought to you by the Department of Education and Early Childhood
Speaker 1: My name is Kate Aitken. I’m just here to introduce our presenters today. We’ve got the
presenters from Mooroopna Secondary College. We’ve got Kirby, Michelle, Kayla and
Rebecca who are year 11 students, all towards down the back here behind you from
Mooroopna Secondary College and Daryl McConnell who is a teacher in photography at
Mooroopna. And they’re going to be talking about the inter-webs and online collaboration
and the Indoor Laneway at Mooroopna Secondary College. So, I will hand over to Daryl
Speaker 2: Our presentation will be about the inter-webs and the sorts of things that we can do
online. For a start, I would like to just show you a brief video.
That’s just a short version of the whole thing that was on an exhibition last year. What’s
interesting about that is that those two students dancing did not meet until the exhibition;
they did not until after the video was finished. What they did was in one school in
Melbourne, they filmed in front of a green screen. In Mooroopna another student filmed in
front of another green screen. It was an online collaboration, they worked out what they
were going to do beforehand obviously and then we composed the whole thing and they
actually met face to face when they were setting up their exhibition.
It’s quite a story about how this came about. Early last year we were asked to make a
short video for a guy called Adrian Camm about technology and what students were doing
and what they thought and we cut a little bit of that up and I’d like to show you that now.
There is a very, very strong remix culture in Brazil and there is quite a story about how
that came about. I’d like to read just a short piece on a thousand words promoting
teachers’ visual literacy skills. It was posted in 2006. ‘As early as 1964 Marshall McLuhan
spoke of a social evolution from typographic man who relied on text as a primary means
of information to graphics man, whose thoughts, beliefs and values are forged by images.
Within this revolution as McLuhan called it, the camera replaced text as the ultimate
authority. Our students among the youngest members of the graphics, or more accurately
called now, the multi media world is surrounded by heaps of images, billboards,
magazines, TV, film etc. which they often passively absorb. The message and value
conveyed by these images define norms and ideals of dress, behaviour and beliefs. To
succeed in the academic and vocational world, students must be proficient at both
reading and writing, they must be literate but to navigate the real world they must also be
visually literate, able to decode, comprehend and analyse the elements, messages and
values communicated within these images’.
Now clearly the ’64 and the language is probably a bit sexist but it is interesting that they
are talking about this back then. The remix culture that I started to talk about in Brazil is
something that has grown out of all of these images; probably the greatest ‘remixer’ of all
time was Walt Disney. Ours became Fantasia, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs etc. to
modern times where Radio Head probably the biggest band in the world put their latest
album online with all the individual tracks, so people could download them, remix them
and put them back on again, and that is something that young people do on the net all the
time. If we go back even further, Newton said ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, quite a
famous quote, though few know that what he was talking about was, quite a short
scientist who he was having words with but still a good quote. Let’s look at this building
on the past.
Speaker 2: Clearly there are a number of issues involved here, downloading stuff off the net, how can
you do that? One of the biggest problems I have teaching senior Media and photography
is that junior kids put some sort of music onto a PowerPoint in year seven, probably off
their phone or download it off Limewire, probably serious copyright issues there. When
they get to year 11 or even year 10 they do that and I’d be taking them up to the VCE
panel to explain what they’re doing. So, are we being consistent all the way through? Are
we preparing kids right from the start for the so-called real world? And that certainly does
happen at VCE.
“The one thing that’s absolutely clear is that there is no way to kill this technology, we can
only criminalise its use. We can’t stop people from taking culture and remaking it in a way
that expresses their ideas differently; if we can only drive this creativity underground. We
can’t make our kids passive in the way we were growing up, we can only make them
(quote) “pirates” and the question we’ve got to ask is whether this is any good?”
Speaker 2: When we look at copyright history, all sorts of interesting things come out. And the recent
history is particularly disturbing. As you’ll know now it’s very easy to be a copyright
criminal. Yet this is something that we give kids quite a hard time about, call them pirates,
downloading stuff, and unless we look at things really carefully we’re not being consistent.
“Once upon a time, all ideas were in the public domain. Every invention and every piece
of art could be built upon by the generation that followed, and one inventor built in the
public domain to create the printing press, a machine that created the modern world and
with it a beautiful dilemma. Now ideas could be spread around the globe but how could
the individual now profit from his or her creative efforts? The solution was the first
copyright law. The Statute of Anne gave authors exclusive rights to their work but the law
was meant to be a balance between the rights of authors and those of the public, so after
14 years the work fell into the public domain and anyone could copy it but over the years
people kept inventing newer and better copying machines, each disrupting the business
model that came before, from the player piano to the radio to the VCR, each technology
originally copied ideas without paying the copyright holder. The solution was always a
balance, law-makers ensured the right of the new technology to innovate while
maintaining the right of authors to still get paid.”
Speaker 2: I’d like to introduce you to a concept that was in that earlier remix about Creative
Commons, this was something that was born out of the Free Software Foundation, those
are the people who, if you are familiar with Linux systems, if you know a little about that,
the idea was that you could go in and change and remix the source code of any program
you wanted to to make to suit yourself. It is being adopted in most European countries by
their governments as the default system there. The CC is something which students can
use which is free, legal and licensed and it was the key for us to be able to do a project
called the Indoor Laneway.
Student 1: How good was Indoor Laneway?
Student 2: It was such a good experience.
Student 1: I know it gave me the chance to show what I can actually achieve.
Student 2: Yeah. It’s great how a variety of people can connect to the web.
Student 1: I know, talking about it, did you even know that Eugenia wasn’t even in the country?
Student 2: Really where was she?
Student 1: She was actually in Peru walking the Inca trail.
Student 2: And she was still actually able to contact us from that distance.
Student 1: Yes well that is what the internet is for these days.
Student 2: True.
Student 1: This is our expedition, the 2010 Indoor Laneway and this was held in Melbourne and it
was out the front of the Arts Centre of Victoria and beside the National Gallery of Victoria.
Now this is the largest shipping container that is available and at this end is a rear project-
ing screen and there is also LCD screens along the side. This is to display images and
videos of what the students had done and as you can see on top of the crate there is ac-
tually a box, that is a projector that is screening images onto the arts centre itself. Now
this was a good thing for all the students at Mooroopna Secondary College in the media
department because it gave them a chance to show what they wanted to show and to
achieve their best.
Speaker 2: The [inaudible] is something I use quite a lot, it’s okay to have [Inaudible 17:08] used in a
whole lot of technology but what’s the point? [Inaudible 17:12].
The issue going on here is problems with the wireless network, so if we could bring up the
blog of the Indoor Laneway so we can show you the sorts of things that we are doing.
Everything that you have watched, we needed to go through so we could operate in a
blog that is open to the whole world, people can download it, students, anyone can
download the students work and do whatever they want with it, but it is licensed under the
Creative Commons, those licences have stood up in a number of different countries
around the world in court cases where people have tried to abuse them. Michelle and
Kirby made a point.
What happens at 3.20 when they go home? They have to deal with the internet as it is
and what’s the best way, how can we encourage these things like empathy and values?
And pretty soon we hope to have the blog site up.
Student 3: Hi, I’m Kayla. I’ll be reading a piece from the website. ‘This is Indoor Laneway Project;
explore themes of empathy and equality through creative exchange and collaboration
between young people. Born into our biology, birth country, family and history are
particular human attributes either divide or unite with others, depending on context we can
be the majority or the minority. This year’s theme Major/Minor: Them Is Us: Is Them,
engaged its participants in online creative project and exploring equality, empathy,
connectedness and exchange between people of various experiences and backgrounds.
Under the guidance of media artist Eugenia Lim, and sound artist and producer, Dan
West, young people separated by geography and physical distance collaborated with
each other via the Indoor Laneway blog over the course of term three. Indoor Laneway
culminated in a public multi-media exhibition inside a customised 40ft shipping container
at the Arts Centre Forecourt in term three school holidays 2010. Thanks.
Speaker 2: What was different about this project is that, well, first of all we did it all online and we
were collaborating with two other schools, one in Rushworth and one in Melbourne,
Hillcrest, and as Michelle and Kirby said that the media artist Eugenia happened to be in
Peru at the time when it was happening but she could still set the tasks and give feedback
to the students on what they were doing, it didn’t matter where she was and it really didn’t
matter where they were. Even though we’re using a lot of wiz- bang technology it is
actually a really old idea. People to learn art, traditionally you would go to a master and
either be apprenticed or they would tell you and take you on and teach you how to do
things. So, we’re using a very traditional idea here but just using modern communication
Now, how does this show up on the web, how does it actually work?
Each Friday Eugenia would set a new task. Put some examples of what she wanted, then
the next Friday another new task would come up, then the next Friday another new task
would come up. What was different is that it is traditionally those tasks I might spend a
term on, I would scaffold a whole lot of schools and work in that very traditional way. This
time they had a week to produce the thing and have it up on the website because a new
thing was coming out next week, and it worked very, very well. Students would look at the
website on the Friday when they were posted, they had the weekend to think about it and
it would be ready to go as soon as they came into class the next week. So, it was quite
intense. The work that we played is a bit out of context because you actually walked into a
shipping container and right in front of the Arts Centre and everyone going to the ballet
had to walk around it. There were LCD screens down both sides of the projection so you
are in a specific space to actually see that some things were happening beside you and
behind you. But it’s still a very traditional way of doing things, the basic concept. What
Rebecca’s doing here is going through task one, which they had to collect pictures of
home, rephrase that.
Imagine if you were leaving home what would you take with you? You are allowed to take
three pictures or three objects and you weren’t coming back, so what would you take with
you? These are some of the examples from different places that students put up there,
that they would remember. The whole concept this year’s Indoor Laneway was about
If we have a look at task two, you see it’s about stop, start humans. We had to do a photo
video response but in digital stills, so that we were making a stop motion video in the end.
But it could be a daily walk, it could be a ritual that you do, even cleaning teeth, brushing
your hair etc. a growing smile or laughter, hands clapping, eyes opening and shutting. So,
that’s the sort of task that you generally posted up there and with some ideas to do it,
there was an example a little bit further down of her work.
I must point out that Eugenia Lim is probably Australia’s leading video artist at the
moment, a significant person and then they could do an audio response, students could
choose either record a series of short samples of human knowledge, all the sounds that
you heard was student-made, like a lot of it was done in the kitchen, first take banging
pots and pans, trying to make up a rhythm. So, they would either create the short video or
a one to two minute soundscape that we could mix up further. As we looked at the
videos, Kayla and Rebecca made those, another one by Kayla, some stills, videos from
Rushworth, remember this is all work that came from two sessions. There’s only the one
week for each one of these, from one class.
Task three was Indoor Lghthouse. You would have seen all the lights there, there was a
very good example of Picasso drawing, it is quite a famous one where we used a light to
draw around him, so they had to do a whole lot of still photographs, learn all about long
exposure with the camera and draw with light. Some of these were put into videos; some
of them are remixed by the other schools, some of them were remixed in the final putting
together of the exhibition. You can see from Rushworth, there is one from Michelle.
Student 4: No, it’s not that one, it’s this one.
Speaker 2: The next one, Michelle?
Student 4: Yes. The next one.
Speaker 2: Now, not all things had sound, one of the other schools may put the sound onto one of
our videos and vice versa.
Question: So, if the kids didn’t know how to do long exposure for light and you had to teach that in a
lesson, so you had that to do in the week as well? You did that as well?
Speaker 2: The task was my task as much as everyone else’s.
Speaker 2: To make sure, or that they had already been through that process and most of them in
photography, it’s very early you learn about long exposure.
Question: What was the collaboration between the teachers in the different classes across the
Speaker 2: It was mainly us supporting each other, trying to keep up with the students. That was the
tricky part. It was excellent in the sense that it really pushed us to make sure that we did
our research, our preparation because the students would come in ready to go asking
questions straight away or they had been coming in beforehand or recess or lunchtime to
be organised so that, well, look, even though we do everything digital now, not in the dark
room as such, but they would use the dark room for drawing with light etc. or doing some
private filming or whatever.
The last task, in this year there was only four main tasks because then it was, the
students all finally met when we went down to set up the exhibition. That is what was
good that they’d only talked to each other online beforehand and this is where we started
to share things, started to put things together, combining videos, working with other
examples that there were videos that Eugenia had put up. There is an inspirational
archive in one of the drop down boxes where a lot of stuff was put in by different teachers,
who thought that well, “I really think this is good inspiration from Rushworth.” Frank may
say, “Well, this is really good, have a look at this, guys.” So, the students were not only
getting my viewpoint, but they are getting other people’s viewpoint and importantly
Eugenia’s. And Dan, Dan West from the Arts Centre, he is a sound person, he is youth
ed. music from the Arts Centre and the whole thing was put together by those two guys.
I’ve worked with both of them before on previous projects and this is the second time that
we have done it, and - a blatant ad - would be running one more time in third term 2011
and we would love heaps of schools to get involved, it’s a real cool thing.
Question: So, you would apply, you wouldn’t ask them, you actually apply?
Speaker 2: Oh no, you just say you want to do it, and you’ll be doing it. There’s no question about
that. It costs, I think, $10 or $20 a student but they get to work with top contemporary
artists and exhibiting in the Arts Centre is something I certainly never did when I was in
year 11. It’s not something that …seems that only really famous people or dead people
exhibit in the Arts Centre. The pattern of People in Paper Planes, an excellent example
there of a Japanese band that, yeah play a little bit of it, it just shows that there are some
pretty good things on YouTube but this was put together as an online collaboration by all
their fans using webcams and we would love to do something a bit more like that but we
ran out of time.
Speaker 2: Some of the responses, there is one from Rebecca who is operating the computer here.
We will watch a little bit of this because this is interesting because it’s based on a
Japanese idea of the incomplete circle and it ended up being, it’s a stop motion video that
Rebecca set up where the cameras and lights and things.
The other thing is when you see someone doing something you’ve got to remember some
of them operate the cameras, some of them operating the sound, there is someone
setting it up, someone setting up the lights, so within the classroom there could be heaps
of people involved in just the filming of one person and not all things, [inaudible 32:40] not
all things require sound, more like visual poetry Rebecca was doing there. The media
crew did this one at Mooroopna. Kirby and Michelle, in fact, nearly the whole class was
involved in putting this together.
Speaker 2: We could keep it going, but if doing anything with sound make sure it fits in with the video,
absolutely important. Now the sound there was off Creative Commons, a placeI must
mention Gamendo; all these are a lot of links on that site, on the Indoor Laneway site. If
you google Indoor Laneway, you’ll get last year’s project as well as well as a number of
blogs talking about the project and what we we’re doing and what they thought about it,
articles about assessment, do we assess what the kids have learned along the way or do
we assess when we get to the end and final exhibition? A very good article about that.
Questioning just how do we assess these sorts of interactions and if there is collaboration
going on do we assess that? This morning’s keynote was talking about a lot of these
things that we’ve talked about which I thought was quite interesting.
Vimeo - it’s like You Tube but it’s a respectable artistic community, that’s where most
artists would put their stuff. The sound you just heard was off a place called Gamendo
where there’s probably 35,000 albums at the moment and growing, all free, legal and
licensed. We use Free Sound a lot. Free Sound’s been going for quite some time, started
by a couple of Uni guys, in the basement they had their old server and all of a sudden the
uni noticed terabytes of data being moved about, when they found out about it, they
thought it was so cool they set it up officially, so it was a very good thing. So, there is
heaps and heaps of ‘free, legal and licensed’ which is most important, resources for kids
to use, there is no need to be a pirate, and there is no need for us to be fazed by singing
happy birthday at the same time. I think we’ve got about one minute.
Speaker 1: Any questions?
Question: Did you choose to be with Rushworth and the metropolitan school or you get randomly
put with the other schools?
Speaker 2: No, if whatever schools become involved, we all work together but there are only three
Question: Oh ok.
Speaker 2: So, if there are 20 schools next year or, we will all be working together, we will all be put
onto the same blog, it’s just a simple Word press blog which costs nothing.
So, it’s that collaboration and getting over the distance, especially for the country kids and
getting the country kids and city kids…[inaudible 35:58].
Question: [Inaudible 36:04]
Speaker 2: Its ok, I don’t think, I can’t see anything there that wouldn’t. It fits in perfectly with year 11
and the year 11 Studio Aarts third term, year 11 Media they’ve got to do a collaborative
project, Studio Arts have got to source inspiration to make their art works, it fits in
perfectly with the VCAA.
Speaker 1: Ok, I would like to thank Michelle, Kirby, Rebecca and Kayla and also Daryl, of course
too, for an excellent presentation, some very inspirational stuff happening. So, if we can
all put out hands together and thank them very much.
Closing: For more information about the topics discussed in this podcast please visit the
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's website –