Online resources to encourage a greater understanding of democracy and higher levels of civic engagement in Australia

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  • Museum of Australia Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E)

  • 2012

  • Jessica Gorlin, Education Coordinator

  • www.made.org

Description/Objectives

M.A.D.E’s e-Modules were developed to reflect the type of learning and teaching that occurs onsite at M.A.D.E in Ballarat. Included in the materials are worksheets and classroom activities, an interactive database, and hours of video content. The online offerings focus on the themes of people, and how people create change in a democracy. They are suitable for both primary and secondary school use.

The project focused on the use of digital technology to present civics and citizenship information in new and interesting ways. It also used the internet, e-newsletters and social media to gather new audiences for the material.

Results Achieved

M.A.D.E has published a number of different packages for schools. A collection of ‘school community’ worksheets are available to aid junior primary students in identifying the different citizenship themes within their school. M.A.D.E’s ‘The Night they Stormed Eureka’ learning and teaching resource looks at an historical example of a united group fighting for change.

It comes with a full set of curriculum aligned worksheets and features popular children’s author Jackie French discussing elements of the event. The ‘Giving It’ initiative contains video content with prominent members from the not-for-profit community talking about the relationship between philanthropy and democracy, and ‘M.A.D.E from Gold’ lets students look at the development of industry and the place of gold mining in a regional community.

The e-modules have now been accessed thousands of times in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Darwin and even internationally. Collected teacher and student feedback indicates that the resources have been successfully integrated into classrooms.

What worked well and why?

Once the planning and drafting process was completed, it was easy to secure the interest and involvement of third parties to support the creation of materials. Many of the interview candidates that M.A.D.E approached were enthusiastic about the need for better democracy and civics and citizenship information within the classroom and generously gave their time to appear on camera.

What obstacles, if any, did you encounter and what changes did/would you make to overcome these to improve the outcome?

Producing online education resources during M.A.D.E’s first few years of operation was challenging as the organisation hosted a considerable number of launches, school tours, activities and events at the same time. To overcome these obstacles, M.A.D.E used a local employment solution to install a trainee design student into an assisting position for the project. The double benefit of this was that one of Victoria’s recently graduated VCAL students was able to find job stability in an uncertain, regional employment environment. The student was able to gain industry-specific and general workplace-related skills by working on the resources.

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