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Resources for teaching the Australian gold rush!

By Tim Baker and Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of Resources for teaching the Australian gold rush!

Resources for teaching the Australian Gold Rush

Conclusion - Further teaching and learning opportunities
As explored throughout this presentation, there are many varying resources available for use when developing a unit of work around the Australian gold rush era. With the development of the internet resources are now at our fingertips, and it is essential that we as educators take this on board to help create engaging, educational and fun lessons to help develop each student's experience within the classroom.
Resource 3:
'Peach's Gold Eureka - 1983' - two short videos

Why study history?
What could the past possibly teach us about our ever
changing future?
Whilst it may seem futile to study the past when the possible future is changing so drastically every day, it is important to recognise the vital information that history has to offer.

History is not solely about events that have occurred in the past, studying history can help develop understandings around our modern day societies, how democracy came to be, and major landmark reforms such as human rights and equal opportunities.

The resources used within this presentation were selected for their multidimensional use, their capacity for cross-curricular learning and the way in which they deliver information, yet encourage independent learning on behalf of the student. As expressed by Brown (1996), students
learn and retain information better when encouraged and
supported to research, develop their own questions, and
arrive at conclusions on their own rather than
being spoon fed the information.

Resource 2:
'Gold Rush' - Flash interactive game
A highly interactive game that allows the individual to be the driver of their own experience on the Australian gold fields - it requires the player to use geographical knowledge, mathematics, historical understanding and their own judgement to successfully navigate their way around the gold fields.
Why learning about the Australian gold rush is important
The Australian gold rush is a significant piece of Australian history, and changed the landscape of the Australian lifestyle forever.
The population growth, immigration, philanthropy, and stuctural development was drastic during this time and has paved the way for the society we live in today.
In fact, the Eureka Stockade was one of the founding events that changed democracy in Australia, and has lead to the standards by which we live today.
How educators can make history engaging
Whilst sitting in a four walled classroom has the potential to instantly disengage a student, it is the responsibility of an educator to encourage that student to re-engage with the material offered to help harness their learning and further growth.
This can be done by offering an array of learning materials, such as verbal, visual or audio, as well as allowing in depth discussions, individual work and group work. It is also important to relate the topic back to the student, and help them to recognise the significance that the event has on the student's life nowadays.
Opportunities for further learning
The Australian gold rush era lends itself to the development of social justice understanding, empathy, emotional development and equal opportunity rights. Whilst these are not necessarily cross curricular topics, teaching the Australian gold rush opens the door for these particular areas to be discovered and explored.
This has the potential to develop a greater sense of self worth, self acceptance, and self determination.
Additionally, students may learn that they are indeed more fortunate than others and begin to explore ways in which they can change society for the better and become active citizens within the community (Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace
Relations, 2013)
Being so full of information, there is the potential that this may overwhelm some students and turn them off from engaging with the learning offered within the site
Assumes prior knowledge regarding navigation of web-pages and students abilities to source information themselves
Whilst the initial claim of the site is that the information is based around the negative impact that the gold rush had upon the Australian landscape, yet it lacks an abundance of said information
Visual representation of the gold rush - assists visual learners to engage with the topic (Mayer & Mass, 2003, p. 835-837)
Educational whilst being engaging, encourages students to partake in the viewing without feeling as if they are being forced to watch
Connects with the Australian Curriculum expectation that students have a range of material from which to explore various conditions of those living in particular colonies, specifically the gold fields, and begin to decipher differences between their lives and those on the gold fields (ACARA, 2013)
Rather monotone narration could cause students to tune out from the learning experience
Potential for students to have difficulty in relating to the videos as they are narrated by an older person, and in a manner that students may not connect with
Short videos with limited information does not make them an adequate source for research but rather a starting point for discussions
When or where may this resource be used
Rather than being offered to students as an independent research tool, these videos could be used as a bouncing board for discussions and/or a visual representation of ideas or concepts that have been discussed in the classroom - this aids the visual learners as well as cementing ideas for other students as well
The videos could also be used to explore certain concepts from the gold rush, such as power relationships, democracy or equality
The information that is presented in the game is extensive yet clear and easily understandable
The game can act as a great supporting resource to a good introduction to the topic or a further development tool later in the unit
The scenarios that the game presents can help expand student knowledge and understanding by exploring the difficulties that people on the gold fields had to deal with
Without adequate scaffolding on behalf of the educator, there is the potential that students may see this as nothing more than a game, and switch off from the learning opportunities available within the game
Although the game has many interesting scenarios, such as being robbed on the gold fields, the game play is very repetitive and this could cause students to lose interest
The individual game play can not be saved, which means each student would be required to start at the beginning each time they wish to use the resource

When or where may this resource be used
There are many ways in which this resource could be integrated into a classroom setting.
For example:
as a beginning and closing tool for a unit of work - to gauge the students learning across the unit
exploring the living conditions of those on the gold fields compared to how the students live now
developing an empathetic understanding of the hardships faced by miners on the gold fields - and how this affected their families and society
the effects of the gold rush on Australian immigration, population and economics
A vast wealth of knowledge for both teachers and students
Highly interactive, which will help keep students engaged
Options for students to explore things that interest them, or find information around specific learning outcomes
Many reputable contributors helped to make the site, therefore the information is more likely to be reliable and true
Using web pages in a classroom setting allows students to be exposed to the varied ways in which they can access reliable and relevant information from the internet. This is especially significant in later years when students are expected to actively source their own information for projects and assessment pieces (Windschitl, 1998, pp.28-33)
When or where may the resource be used
Most definitely in a classroom setting
A great classroom tool which can be used for research in regards to projects or assessment tasks
Due to the vast knowledge on the web site, it has the potential to be used as an individual research tool, or could be engaged with as a whole class learning tool
A website designed to be a hub of knowledge for all things regarding the Australian gold rush
A focus around the negative implications of the gold rush on the Australian landscape
Interactive and highly educational at the same time
Created by the Victorian Cultural Collaboration, which has members ranging from Media, to museums and educational facilities

Two short videos taken from a ten week collection of videos depicting life on the gold fields
‘Victoria the Golden’ - informative
‘Taxing the Diggers’ - reenactment of police brutality on the gold fields
(Connects to the Australian Curriculum's expectation of developing student's empathy, understanding and perspectives through the study of older Australian colonies (ACARA, 2013) )
Australian Curriculum Assessment Reporting Agency. (2013). Australian Curriculum, Foundation to Year 12. Accessed: September, 2013. URL: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/History/Curriculum/F-10?y=5&s=HKU&s=HS&layout=1

Brown, Richard H. (1996). Learning how to learn: The Amherst Project and history education in the schools. The Social Studies, 87(6), pp.267-273.

Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2013). Civics and Citizenship Education. Accessed: September, 2013. URL: www.civicsandcitizenship.edu.au

Mayer, R.E. & Massa, L.J. (2003). Three facets of visual learners: Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Style and Learning Preference, Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 95(4), pp.833-841.

National Museum of Australia. 2012. Gold Rush - Flash Game. Accessed: September, 2013. URL: www.nma.gov.au/education-kids/classroom_learning/multimedia/interactives/gold-rush

Peach, B. (983). Gold - Eureka! Accessed: September, 2013. URL: aso.gov.au/titles/series/peaches-gold/

Victorian Cultural Collaboration. (2012). Gold! Accessed: September, 2013. URL: http://www.sbs.com.au/gold/

Watson, W.R., Mong, C.J., & Harris, C.A. (2011). A case study of the in-class use of a video game for teaching high school history. Computers and Education, Vol. 56(2), pp.466-474.

Windschitl, M. (198).The WWW and the Classroom Research: What Path Should We Take? Educational Research, Vol. 27(1), pp.28-33
Studies have shown that students are more likely to actively engage with learning material if it is in an engaging format, such as a video game
(Watson, Mong & Harris,
2011, pp. 467-469)
The Australian Curriculum states that historical understanding should be developed through a number of key concepts, such as:
exploring cause and effect relationships
examining continuity and change
developing an empathetic response to varying perspectives
learning to actively source and engage with a wide array of resources (ACARA, 2013)

Resource 1:
'Gold!' - A website designed by SBS Australia
Geography- By mapping the gold rush colonies on a map of Australia students will hopefully develop an understanding of how widespread the gold rush was
Mathematics- Students can explore how much gold was worth during the gold rush era and compare it to the worth of gold in today's money.
English- Through the use of written diary entries, creating personal reflections or essays
Drama- Through the creation of mini plays depicting life on the gold fields

Quite often when the topic of history is broached within a lesson, students roll their eyes, and automatically begin to disengage - simply because they perceive history to be boring, unrelatable and unimportant. These are sore misconceptions, which can result in some students missing out on vital learning opportunities within their school curriculum.

History, particularly Australia's history, is fascinating, brutal, captivating, sad and raw, and learning about it is essential to understanding how society had progressed over time, how alliances were formed, and how this does and will affect each individual in turn.
The Australian Curriculum
Cross Curriculum Opportunities
Teaching the Australian gold rush is a fantastic base for developing a cross curricular learning experience for students. There are a plethera of ways in which a unit of work on the gold rush could be changed to encompass numerous classes within the curriculum, such as:
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