The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians places great emphasis on the work of education to be realistic and responsive to new local, regional and global demands (MEETYA, 2008). This emphasis is at the heart of Brisbane Catholic Education’s Learning and Teaching Framework (site accessible only to Brisbane Catholic Education Employees).
“As a Catholic Christian community, we educate all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as successful, creative and confident, active and informed learners; empowered to shape and enrich our world.”
Learning and Teaching Framework,
Brisbane Catholic Education, 2012
The Religious Education Curriculum continues to deepen the call of educators to be responsive to the contemporary demands of education so to;
“…form students who are challenged to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and who are literate in the Catholic and broader Christian tradition so that they might participate critically and authentically in faith contexts and wider society.”
Religious Education Archdiocese of Brisbane,
Brisbane Catholic Education, 2013
The classroom teacher of Religious Education must draw on these contextual understandings to access, curate, engage, innovate and collaborate to resource both Religious Education and the Religious Life of the School so students learning experiences are rich, dynamic, engaging and contemporary.
ResourceLink is Brisbane Catholic Education’s contemporary resourcing and information centre, providing staff from Brisbane Catholic Education and Religious Institute schools, the Brisbane Catholic Education Office and other Archdiocesan groups with access to a diverse range of high quality resources to support their work.
Our work is driven by the need to ensure that our physical resources such as DVDs, print texts, puppets, posters, Indigenous Australian realia, interactive kits, music scores, music CDs, prayer and spirituality kits and religious realia as well as our online resources such as eBooks and Audio books (only available to Brisbane Catholic Education staff and students), curated online content, blog and films are easily accessible and user friendly.
Borrowers can access the ResourceLink library catalogue via the Brisbane Catholic Education public page or via the Brisbane Catholic Education portal or K-web. Browsing can be done via multiple ways but first a simple key word search will (in most cases) draw suitable results.
If signed in borrowers can book the resource then and there for a time which is suitable for the planning of learning and teaching within the Religious Education classroom.
Whilst the ResourceLink catalogue is one possible way of accessing high quality resources for Religious Education there are many other sources that can be accessed to locate appropriate resources for learning and teaching:
Some of ResourceLink’s favourites are:
The Trove website states that Trove is an exciting, revolutionary and free search service. With millions of items, Trove is an unrivalled repository of Australian material. Trove is for all Australians. Whether you are tracing your family history, doing professional research, reading for pleasure, teaching or studying.
AustralianScreen is a promotional and educational resource providing worldwide online access to information about the Australian film and television industry and is operated by the National Film and Sound Archive.
Scootle is a repository of quality digital resources to support the Australian Curriculum which can be used directly by students and by teachers to learn, teach and collaborate.
The term curator, from its Latin roots means to “take care”. As educators we often are curating much content, making decisions about the quality and value of resources, text, technology and other learning activities. Sometimes a great resource is located, but when it comes to teach that topic again, it can’t be located again. With the advent of social bookmarking and other online curation platforms, educators have powerful tools to curate quality digital content. You can learn more about content curation and online curation strategies and tools at these links.
Kay Oddone (Librarian ResourceLink) and Susanna Di Mauro (Education Officer Information and Systems ResourceLink) promote the idea that anyone can locate resources but it is what an individual does after they locate such a resource that is really exciting. In their roles with ResourceLink this team of curators work through a specific process to identify and curate quality resources and content.
Firstly it is important to review the resource or content and ask critical questions of it:
- What is the focus and scope of the learning?
- Who is the target audience for the resource?
- Is this resource or content appropriate for our particular context and need?
- Is this the best type of resource for this context and need?
- Who is the author or creator and are they a reputable authority?
- What is the content and is it accurate, current and valuable?
- How should users access the resource or content in keeping with appropriate protocols?
Secondly it is important to discern the best way to curate the resources or content for access by students by asking a range of questions:
- What is the literacy and numeracy levels of the audience?
- Are there any permissions or security needed to access these resources?
- What are the logistical implications for users in accessing these resources?
- How user friendly is the curation tool and is it suitable for the target audience?
- Is the curation approach in keeping with appropriate copyright and creative commons licencing?
After the content is reviewed and the curation platform has been chosen, teachers and students should be able to access diverse resources or content in a variety of ways given the technological and connected environment of learning today.
There are multitudes of curation tools available for use. Here are some of our favourites:
Pinterest is a really easy to use app, which is very appealing because it is highly visual. Unfortunately recent changes to Pinterest have resulted the need for users to have an account before they can easily view the ‘boards’ or curated items. As account holders must be aged 13 or above, this limits its use with younger students. While it may still be a very useful tool for teachers and older students, we encourage the use of other tools such as Blendspace or Sitehoover for sharing resources with students.
Suitable for secondary students and teaching teams. This online tool will catalogue your texts for you. Users can then add appropriate ‘tags’ for searching reviews or creating book lists. These can then be shared with students, colleagues, parents or the wider educational community.
Suitable for primary students, this online tool collates useful websites in one location and is accessible from any computer.
Is suitable for all students. Users can collect, publish, and share curated web content.
Suitable for high school students and educators, users can build engaged audiences through publishing by curation. This is a highly visual tool, with the capacity to add detailed reflections on each ‘scooped’ item.
Suitable for all students to access. Users can organise, explore and share online content by creating content ‘pearls’, which can be displayed in a mindmap style.
Please note that many social media and curation tools require users to be aged 13 and above before creating their own accounts. For younger students, it is suggested that the teacher creates a class account which is co-curated by students, or teachers share their curated lists with students.
A question that we often ask at ResourceLink is how might a resource be used as a way of unpacking multiple ideas or learning within a classroom. There are so many great texts, resources, DVDs, online content or web tools available that we are often spoilt for choice. Given this, the old adage “that less is more is something to hold on to.” Often one resource can open up different learning pathways. Taking for example Shaun Tan’s picture book The Lost Thing*, secondary or primary teachers can use this picture book as a starting point for study in Religious Education, English, History or Visual Arts.
* The book and video of which are available for loan to ResourceLink borrowers.
Some people think that innovation it is outside of their particular experience or skill base. Everyone can innovate in some way, be it in the manner in which they access or share resources or perhaps through the creation of a resource for learning experiences using mobile technology.
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians calls educators to be responsive to the contemporary landscape within which they teach (MEETYA 2008). Educators are challenged to innovate, not only in the approach taken to resourcing but also the approach taken to technology and pedagogy as well. Ruben R. Puentedura’s model of Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition or SAMR, whilst focused on mobile technology, provides a lens to approach resourcing. Quality resources not only enhance student learning, can transform it. Read more about Puentedura’s model and mobile learning here.
How might you innovate the way you resource for learning and teaching? Firstly go shopping. Not to buy anything, but to see how retailers or cafes or restaurants are developing spaces and experiences to engage consumers. Education, it can be argued, is similar to that experience as educators seek to engage students, and encourage ‘buy-in’. Importantly a significant amount of time should be spent understanding the context of the audience. Firstly, identify the demands of the curriculum, content areas and achievement standards. What is required? How is this already taking place? Is there a need to innovate? If so why? Armed with this reflection it is then necessary to consider further the context of the class. Who are the learners? What are the individual learning needs? What are the challenges and opportunities within the school in terms of access to technology? What are the needs of the school community?
Being responsive to this context, you might substitute a DVD for a reader kit or augment a book with an eBook or modify a learning experience that moves from a re-enactment to a re-development and design and redefine the way students are learning by using technology and resources in a way not done before.
Teaching isn’t done in isolation. Quality educators are collaborative. Once more the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians challenge educators to develop stronger partnerships (MEETYA 2008). This is certainly an important part of quality contemporary resourcing. The value of collaborative partnerships is vital in the delivery of an exciting dynamic learning environment. Each member of the community has a contribution to make to the dialogue of student achievement within a school – especially the students.
Who might you turn to collaborate with?
- Assistant Principal Religious Education or Religious Education Coordinator.
- Teacher Librarian or School Librarian.
- Colleagues beyond the subject area.
- Students, parents and family members.
- The wider community
- The local parish
- Local interest groups
- Other schools
- The world.
See how other educators are collaborating in a beyond their schools here. If you are interested in this global collaborative approach to education, learn more from the work of Julie Lindsay at Flat Connections.
Resourcing contemporary learning and teaching requires a renewed approach. If educators are to work towards the goals as outlined in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australian then now is the time to take stock, to reimagine and to see how they can access, curate, engage, innovate and collaborate to work towards supporting student achievement within a contemporary context.
“If school systems are to be able to bring more students than ever before to higher levels of accomplishment than ever before, they will need to do some different things and do them in different ways…”
(Levin, 2007, p 230)
Susanna di Mauro (Education Officer Information and Systems ResourceLink)
Kay Oddone (Librarian ResourceLink)
Benjamin van Trier (Education Officer ResourceLink)
Brisbane Catholic Education (2011) Learning and Teaching Framework, Brisbane, Brisbane Catholic Education.
Brisbane Catholic Education (2013) Religious Education Archdiocese of Brisbane, Brisbane, Brisbane Catholic Education.
Levin, B. (2008). How to change 5000 schools: a practical and positive approach for leading change at every level. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Education Press.
MCEETYA. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Melbourne: Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.
Top effort. This is a high quality comprehensive piece. I am sure it went over well at REAP and will have many more effective applications.
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Thanks for your support Kerry :).