Using Technology To Make A Splash In The Classroom

splash_79174609By Annabel Astbury.

Asking Australia’s first Astronaut what it was like living in space, helping an advocate defend a case in Ancient Rome, creating an online census and discovering some national treasures from Austraila’s leading galleries and museums – these are just some of the exciting activities that Australian kids have enjoyed through their experiences with ABC Splash.

A partnership between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Education Services Australia, funded by the federal government, ABC Splash has grown to be one of the most valuable education sites for teachers, students and parents in Australia and beyond. Since its launch in October 2012, ABC Splash has added over 2,000 media items which have been mapped to the Australian Curriculum. All the materials on Splash are made available freely to all Australian students, teachers and parents.

The site offers much beyond its core media library which has thousands of short video and audio clips –many of which have been sourced from the ABC Archive. Hundreds of interactives, live webcast events, competitions, teaching materials and immersive games also form part of this ever-expanding resource.

So, where to start? Whether you are new to the world of digital education or a seasoned master, ABC Splash can help you transform your classroom with high quality Australian content.

Prepare to flip

With over 1,500 video and audio clips, all hand picked and mapped to the English, Maths, Science, History and Geography curricula, it is easy to start (or continue) your flipped classroom. Each clip on ABC Splash can be used as a stimulus or introduction to a topic or a resource to conduct deeper investigation. Each clip is supported with curriculum links, transcripts and a set of questions – “Things to think about” – that could be considered before, during and after watching or listening to each clip.

For those contemplating implementing a flipped model in their classroom – whereby most content is consumed outside of the class so that face-to-face teaching time can be dedicated to exploring and developing understanding of a concept – the library is a great place to start. For those wanting to delve deeper, create an account to access ‘MySplash’, your own personalised space where you can save your favourite content and create specialised playlists for you and your students.

Searching by topic makes it easy

There are now over 40 topics that have been added to the Splash library to help teachers and students find a specially curated selection of content that can be watched or saved to playlists. Search by topic and school level to find topics suitable for you. These topic pages include the most requested content, such as ANZAC, Minibeasts, Rights and Freedoms, and Bushfires.

The breadth of content included on Splash is wide – from the historical footage from the vaults of the ABC, including race riots after the death of Martin Luther King in 1968, to student favourites like ‘Behind the News’.

Games to support learning: ABC Zoom, QED: Cosmo’s Casebook, ConCensus

In addition to over 200 learning objects that have only – until now – featured in ESA’s repository SCOOTLE, Splash has had the opportunity to develop a range of high end games and interactives that reflect the kinds of resources that students and teachers expect to have access to in a digitally connected world.

Whilst some educators are very well-versed in using games in their classrooms, the majority by and large have been reluctant to use games as a truly integrated part of their teaching and learning program. On the other hand, some educational games are seen by students not as games but ‘digital worksheets’. With the games developed specifically for ABC Splash, there has been a focus on playability, enjoyment and educational robustness to appeal to the varied audiences.

See the unseen with ABC ZOOM

The ambition and detail of ABC Zoom will enthral you and your students. A science game aimed at students in Years 9 and 10, ABC Zoom allows the player to explore what really goes on beneath the surface of objects like a touchscreen, a laser and even the human body. Set in outer space, Zoom invites the player to save the fictional spaceship Solaris by undertaking several mini scientific challenges. It is only until the player can solve these challenges that the ship can be saved. Supported by detailed teacher resources, videos and scientific explanations, Zoom was created by the team at ABC Science in conjunction with some of Australia’s leading scientists. You can access Zoom on tablet devices and desktops via this address

Ancient Rome comes to life with QED: Cosmo’s Casebook

If you have fond memories of ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’, you and your students will quickly become immersed in the world of Ancient Rome as you help Cosmo Veritas, a local public advocate, who has to gather evidence to defend his clients in court. Along the way, the player has to collect ‘lore’ – cards which unravel the history of daily life in Ancient Rome and which will ultimately be used to help build a case for his client.

Built in collaboration with games developer Robot Circus, QED: Cosmo’s Casebook, is one of the most exciting educational games to have emerged in the past few years. Not only is the gameplay and story enjoyable and challenging, it lays a solid foundation for students to learn about the past and to build their skills of historical interpretation and reasoning. Whilst the content in QED: Cosmo’s Casebook is designed to meet the requirements of the Year 7 History curriculum, students aged 10-14 (and adults!) will love to crack the cases presented. Available as an app for iOS and Android, and playable on desktop, QED is free and can be accessed at

Students create their own stories with stats!

Developed in partnership with production company 2and2, students will see statistics like they have never seen before with ConCensus – a data visualisation game which allows you to interact with real data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census. Aimed at students in Years 5-8, ConCensus introduces students to stories about Australian society through the world of statistics. Beautifully visual and engaging, Concensus also allows students to create their own ‘census’ with the My Census tool, allowing students to compare the results with schools and communities across Australia. Over time, MyCensus will grow to form a ‘living map’ of Australian schools and their local communities. ConCensus can be accessed via a web browser at this address: 

Digibooks: made especially for students

More than just a collection of videos on a topic, Digibooks on ABC Splash brings topics to life and engages students on a range of topics to help with homework or class investigations. Each digibook is built around a popular theme and contains media from ABC Splash that is connected together with a narrative that explains content further. It is a great way for students to enjoy the content on offer on the site. Currently there are over 30 Digibooks on Splash with several of these having been developed in conjunction with Australia’s best galleries and museums, featuring content that has never been seen before. The splendour of indigenous art is seen in string theory – a digibook made with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia’s past immigration policy is unveiled by the digibook made with the National Archive and student reporters get fascinating responses from artists in the digibook made in conjunction with the Biennale of Sydney. To see more, visit this address:

Splash Live: bringing the experts straight into the classroom
Splash Live events aim to bring access to experts from around Australia and the world straight into the classroom via high quality webcasting. Students have been interacting directly with astronauts, paleontolgists, game designers and award winning journalists and authors in the ten Splash Live events held since September 2013.

Viewed straight in the web browser, Splash Live events allow ease of access to exciting educational content all while interacting live with the hosts via a live moderated chat stream accessible on any device. The events have grown in popularity and students far and wide have been taking part – from a school in western district Victoria with only 12 enrolled students, to large inner city Sydney colleges and students in remote north Queensland who are part of School of the Air. Students have engaged online with the experts and after the event through a series of challenges, creating a lively body of content created by the community.

Programs have been on a range of topics and created for a range of age groups – Space, Kitchen Gardens, Coding and journalism just to name a few. All programs are available to view on Splash as an archive. The next Splash Live event is scheduled for Term 3 on Robots and Robotics. To find out more, visit this address:

For educators around Australia, Splash has become an indispensible resource to help transform learning in the classroom. For students, it is quickly becoming the go to place for helpful, fun and informative content in a world that is media rich and a space to create and collaborate.


Annabel Astbury is the Head of Digital Education at ABC Innovation

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Education Technology Solutions
Education Technology Solutions has been created to inspire and encourage the use of technology in education. Through its content, Education Technology Solutions seeks to showcase cutting edge products and practices with a view to expanding the boundaries and raising the standards of education curricula. It introduces teachers and IT staff to the latest products, services and developments in education technology with a view to providing practical how-to guidance designed to facilitate the integration of those products and services into the school environment in the most productive and beneficial manner possible.

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