Free Polycom Seminar – “The Plastic Brain”

As part of Education Week next week, we have the opportunity to link up with a special seminar to be held at the Gene Technology Access Centre in Melbourne. Associate Professor  Chris Reid from The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health will be presenting “The Plastic Brain” on Wednesday 21st May 2014, 6:30 pm. You can participate at school using our Polycom video-conferencing equipment. Dinner will be provided,  if there are enough people interested.

The brain is remarkable. Just how do we remember the colour of our first car, what we had for lunch yesterday or who our Prime Minister is? We don’t have all the answers but we have come a long way. In this lecture I will take you on a journey about how we think brain cells work. We will discuss how brain cells change when we learn, what we can do to learn better and what might be going wrong in disease. I’ll finish with exciting new ways we are looking into brain function that will tell us more about how this fascinating organ works.

 This talk is a special event during education week, and teachers and students (as well as the community) are especially encouraged to come along.  Chris Read is head of the synaptic plasticity lab at the Florey. Plasticity is the capacity of the brain to change with learning. Can an adult retrain their brain after injury? Can we train our brains to improve our performance? What are the implications for medical research?

I hope you will consider this opportunity to listen to an expert in neuroscience and learn more about this fascinating organ that defines our personality, drives our body and determines our very survival. Please contact Britt Gow by email at brittgow(at) or by phoning the school.

Anzac Linkup via Polycom with Lismore PS

On Monday 22nd April, Years 5 and 6 had a special Polycom linkup with Lismore Primary School, another small rural school, over an hour’s drive from us. Both schools had been researching Australia’s involvements in past wars.  Five students spoke about a relative who had been involved in a war. As Lismore students had created a movie of some of their interviews with past war veterans, they shared the movie presentation using the Smart boards. It was wonderful to share what each school had learnt with each other.

One of our students brought along her great Grandfathers army blazer, complete with badges and medals. This was proudly shared with each class together with the accompanying story.

Students have found 11 relatives who we will find on the Honour Roll at the Australian War Memorial when the students go to Canberra later this year.

World War 2 Army Jacket

Virtual Author Visit to our Classroom

Terri Rose Baynton author of ‘Mr Bear Branches and the cloud conundrum’ visited our year 2 and year 5/6 classrooms last week. Thanks to Electroboard, Polycom and HarperCollins Terri Rose presented a workshop to each class engaging readers through Visual Literacy and Problem Solving. Students entered the session with anticipation, looking forward to Terri Rose reading her book. It’s a fantastic experience to have an author read and share a book they have written. Being able to discuss the characters and learn how they were developed was amazing. After reading the book Terri Rose took us through different parts of the story and described how her characters developed and stepped us through the illustration of Mr Bear Branches and his friend Lintfree Longfellow. Each child and teacher participated in the drawing process with results that amazed themselves. Students have time to think and prepare questions they may like to ask both before and during the workshop and conversed with Terri Rose as though she was physically in the room. The sessions run for approximately 45 minutes and the time just flies as everyone is so engaged and busy.

National Science Week 2012

Last week, Hawkesdale P12 College celebrated Science Week with some great activities across the school.

Monday, August 13th:- Students from years 9 to 12 interested in gaming as a career participated in a webinar (virtual classroom)  hosted by Qantum Victoria as part of their “The Young Scientist and Engineer” series. Paul Taylor, a game designer, educator and software engineer described the skills required and the same exciting aspects of a career in Gaming and Game Design.

Tuesday, August 14th:- Magdelene Lum spoke to year 9 students via skype from Perth about her jounrey in Science as a chemist, metallurgist, photographer and science writer. Mags writes a blog Philosophically Disturbed which students commented on. Mags encouraged students to do what they enjoy and work hard to achieve their goals.

Wednesday August 15th:- Catherine Anderson, a molecular genetics specialist from Canada, spoke to year 7 students about DNA, genetics and why she loves it. She wrote a great post on her blog for our students on What is DNA? Our students have commented back on this post.

Friday August 17th:- Year 7 students will use Polycom videoconferencing equipment to link up with the Australian Museum for a session on “Life in Freshwater”. This videoconferencing equipment is to provide high quality videoconferencing for our students and classes to link up with other classes, speak to experts and form collaborative partnerships with other schools.

Thanks to Mrs Gow for her great work in organising these wonderful opportunities for our students. Thanks also to our wonderful presenters for taking the time to share their learning and experiences with our students and encourage them to continue on studying science.