Moderating a Colloquium: Annabel Astbury from ABC Splash

Providing Aussie content for

An opportunity offered students in INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium, is to moderate one of the sessions with the view to interact with ideas and thought leaders.  This week, I teamed up with classmate Patricia Buckley to host Annabel Astbury from ABC Splash.

This was an insightful presentation of the history and development of the ABC Splash site, the resources and artefacts available in the collection, and the design considerations and use of analytics by the team at ABC Splash.

ABC Splash was established in 2012 and produced in partnership with Educational Services Australia.

The initial funding ran out 2014, but the team was able to keep the pilot programme running due to  frugal management and are now taking it to its next stage. This was just one of many government projects funded to demonstrate fast broadband and promote the Australian Curriculum.

Initially, there were two main aims of ABC Splash:

  1. to digitise archive resources for education and the new Australian curriculum.
  2. to develop interactives, infographics, games and other digital tools.

The team now comprises of seven staff members and funding has been extended to continue the site.  There are presently over 3000 resources mapped to the Australian Curriculum. This is an impressive effort and the result is a very useful resource for Australian teachers and students.

Throughout the colloquium with Annabel Astbury, I was struck by the many connections to motivations and processes identified in the literature research studied for INF536: Designing Spaces for Learning.  Many of these motivations and processes were also utilised by the ABC Splash team in the development and delivery of this resource.  Some of these included: 

  1. Annabel’s leadership of this project demonstrates a commitment to championing the resource within and beyond the ABC Splash team.  This proactive publicising of the site provides the perseverance that is necessary throughout a project in order to see the vision through to reality (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Horsby, 2012, p.111).
  2. The ABC Splash team’s commitment to an ever-changing and evolving resource and learning space demonstrates a successful mindset for design which values the ongoing assessment of learning spaces, resulting in iterative design and continuous improvement (Oblinger, 2005, p.18).
  3. The ABC Splash team have a commitment to more than just providing quality resources – through initiatives such as the live events and competitions they also promote student achievement and build community, thus creating new patterns of social and intellectual interaction.  Within learning space design literature, this is identified as an important philosophy that assists in maintaining learner-centred and education-centred change (Istance & Kools, 2013, p.47).

A second connection that I made during Annabel’s presentation was an idea raised by Selwyn who asks researchers to consider “the organizational, political, economic and cultural factors which pattern the design, development, production, marketing, implementation and ‘end use’ of a technological artefact” (2010, p. 69).  An example of this drawn during the colloquium is that the initial funding for ABC Splash was driven by the political pressure to push the Australian Curriculum and in recent time the STEM agenda.


Istance, David, and Marco Kools. “OECD Work on Technology and Education: Innovative Learning Environments as an Integrating Framework.” European Journal of Education 48.1 (2013): 43-57. Web. 29 Sept. 2014

Kuratko, Donald F., Michael G. Goldsby, and Jeffrey S. Hornsby. “The Design Thinking Process.” Innovation Acceleration: Transforming Organizational Thinking. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 103-23. Print.

Oblinger, Diana. “Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces.” Educause Quarterly 1 (2005): 14-18. Web. 27 Sept. 2014.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 65–73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x.

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