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.

Student Voice Heard in Canberra at Election Youth Forum

The Panel in Canberra

Senior students from our school were given the opportunity to be involved in a a videoconference linkup with Gungahlin College, in Canberra. This was Election Youth Forum was organised by Gungahlin College in conjunction with Electroboard (See Share Shape)and Community CPS Australia  on Friday 31st May 1:20 – 2:45pm.  Seven schools across Australia joined students from the ACT in questioning federal politicians and experts on youth issues in the lead up to the 2013 federal election.  Members from the three major parties were open to questions from students in the theatre audience and schools who join in via the video conference. The forum was  hosted by respected Australian journalist, James Grubel, Senior Political Correspondent from Reuters.  Polycom videoconferencing equipment was used to link students from across Australia. Seven schools were videoconferenced in – a mix of states, a mix of government, International and private schools. A twitter hashtag $gcf2013 gave every student the opportunity to share their voice.

Georgia asks her question

Georgia’s question was chosen to be one of those asked of the panel:-

What will you do to help with the costs for rural students of moving away from home to attend higher education in the city.

Questions ranged from lowering of the voting age, youth suicide, illegal immigrants, legalization of gay marriages, costs for rural students of moving to the city for tertiary education, racism, sexism etc. The twitter feed allowed all students and other interested community members to have a voice.

Keeping an eye on the twitterfall

Well done to our students for their maturity shown and involvement. Thanks also to Mrs Van Englen, Mr Poynton and Mrs Butters for helping collate a list of student questions.

A photo shared on twitter by @youthco_act of Canberra school

Writing Poetry with Libby Hathorn – Bookweek Launch

Grade 6 students enjoyed a videoconference linkup with Libby Hathorn on Monday August 21st  as part of the launch into Book Week. Libby is  an award-winning author of more than fifty books for children and young people. The videoconference was organised by Polycom. Libby came to us from the State Library in NSW.

One of the grade 6 students,  Jess has summarised this experience in the following report:-

Today, grade six had the opportunity to hear an inspirational videoconferencing session with Polycom, with famous author, Libby Hathorn. Students from Shepparton and Lismore, NSW,  grade six students also joined the conference. Libby was at the State Library in NSW.

I loved the way Libby and Pauline also asked us questions, as well as students always asking questions that they had. Libby’s questions were very interactive. It was easier to stay involved when she told us how she expresses herself with nature. Libby let us do short activities and small poems just like hers.

Personally, I love to write, especially like Libby does. I thought that it was an extraordinary session that I’ll never forget.

Below are some comments from the other students:-

  • Caitlyn: Awesome! I thought the writing the poems was fun
  • Travis:   I like listening to Libby and seeing myself on the screen
  • Sarah: It was good and easy
  • Caitlin: It was fun
  • Josh: It was good. I liked writing the poems
  • Sophie: I thought in some ways the poems were interesting but sometimes they were blurry and didn’t make sense to me.
  • Hayley: I thought it was interesting and I learnt lots of new things
  • Jelena: Libby is a cool writer
  • Lachlan: It was good
  • Chloe I thought Libby was cool
  • Edward: It was good. I liked writing the poems
  • Jesse: It was good

The outcome: All students wrote a poem from prompts that Libby gave them