Home' Teacher : June-July 2011 Contents feature – creative & performing arts 47
‘ I can’t draw.’
‘ I’m embarrassed about people seeing my drawings.’
These were some of the student comments relayed by teachers in
a focus group held early last year at the Australian Centre for the
Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. The group of primary and
secondary teachers were involved in helping the ACMI Screen edu-
cation team and me design a new online screen literacy resou rce
for media, humanities and English teachers to use in the class-
room. The topic was storyboarding, and how to make it both fun
and relevant to students who are daily consu mers and creators of
media, who see no need to storyboard what they shoot on their
mobile or digital camera.
ACMI has as its focus the celebration and exploration of the
moving image in all its forms – film, television and digital culture.
Through its screen education and digital storytelling programs,
ACMI has long been bringing creative practitioners a nd the gen-
eral public, students and teachers together to actively engage in
the creation of screen works. The model of lectures, screenings
and production programs has been particularly powerful in the
way in which it creates an authentic context that mi rrors the real
The aim is to inspire a new generation of moving-image makers
and provide young people with a solid foundation i n the crea-
tive arts from which they can pursue more advanced learning.
Until now, this expertise has been available mainly to those in
Melbourne who could attend the physical progra ms. ACMI’s new
virtual creative studio, Generator, now enables anyone with access
to the internet to enjoy quality screen education resources , i nclud-
ing the interactive Storyboard Generator.
ACMI Generator launched in September last year. The online
resource is the result of an innovative project developed by the
Victorian Department of Early Childhood Developme nt and
Education. ACMI was one of six major cultural institutions in
Melbourne asked to develop a web 2.0 environ ment that would
extend learni ng outside the four walls of the traditional classroom
and move beyond the website publishing model of simply digitis-
ing museu m or archive collections. The content would be avail-
able widely to educators through the Department’s F USE portal
(Find , Use, Share, quality Education resou rces), which is an online
libra ry of resou rces for teachers a nd students.
One desirable outcome was to provide digital content free of
copyright restrictions that would be available to teachers and stu-
dents to adapt, re-use, ‘ma sh-up’ and then republish as their own
creative work. A second was to produce interactive resou rces that
were fun and engaging to use and took advantage of social media
interactions existing outside the classroom. The brief was to fully
integrate social media within the online experience and at the
same time maintain a safe moderated environment.
The design of ACMI Generator aims to encou rage students to
reflect on what makes a good story – to explore the principles of
storytelling – and to help students create stories that really connect
with an audience’s emotions.
There are four main pathways that students can take through
Be inspired. Through this pathway, users ca n gain access to the
Generator video gallery, which comprises more than 100 diverse
stories that can be rated, shared via email and social media,
selected as favourites, commented on , tagged and downloaded.
New videos are added all the time as students can then share and
publish their ow n creative work back to the video gallery.
Find out how. This pathway includes the ‘Learn from the
makers’ section , offering advice from some of Australia’s leading
screen professionals including director Rolf de Heer, documentary
filmmaker Rachel Perkins, animator and director Adam Elliot,
cinematographer Christopher Doyle, media artist Tracey Moffatt
and members of the creative and technical team at Animal Logic.
Students can also download practical tips and resou rces for their
own creative productions such as building the concept, script-
writing, legal and ethical issues, storyboarding, preparing for the
shoot and editing principles.
Download media. One of the most common requests among
teachers who are teaching media and moving image creation i n the
classroom is for access to copyright-free media for students to use
in their productions – an issue that was also raised in focus groups.
ACMI was keen to provide a library of video, images and sound
that teachers could feel confident using within a n education con-
text without fear of breaching copyright. The Generator free media
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