“Closing the Gap” – ETL 503

Part A – Assessment of curriculum resource needs (approx 500 words) (20 marks)

  •         Identify a unit of work from a school curriculum.
  •         Provide a clear overview of the chosen aspect of the curriculum and explain the nature of the resources needed to meet the learning and teaching needs of this unit of work for a specific group of learners.


Unit of Work

The Stage 2 HSIE Unit “British Colonisation of Australia” seemed a very relevant school curriculum unit to investigate as I will be teaching it in term 1 2015. This unit provides opportunities for students to explore issues related to Australia’s original inhabitants, explorers before the British and the British arrival and occupation of Australia.  The unit focuses on the evaluation of viewpoints about the consequences of British colonisation for people, groups and the environment, and on formulating informed opinions.

A lot of children today are completely oblivious to the actual happenings of how Australia came to be what it is today. Yes students have a basic understanding of certain aspects, for example, the Aboriginal people were the first inhabitants of the land and the British “took over”. But I feel as though this is quite limited to what students should be engaged with and exposed to.

I find students today are not even aware of why we acknowledge the traditional leaders of the land, or even have a real understanding of the need for tolerance in light of our past and our present. We live in a very cosmopolitan city with a huge immigrant population – many of whom have come to Australia in search of better lives for their families; many of whom have endured great hardship to get here. Australia has a diverse cultural history and developing empathy and tolerance can only prevent a recurrence of the discrimination that exists in the world’s past.

Resources Required

As this is a History based unit, students need access to resources which are relevant and up-to-date.  Currency is a vital criterion for resourcing this area of the curriculum.  For a unit embedded in 21st century learning, students will need access to social networking tools, a range of ICT tools, as well as information sources such as books and websites (Wall & Ryan, 2010, p.ix). The nature of the learning outcomes dictates that students will need resources which demonstrate factual information, photographic evidence, and commentary on historical events and web content which provides unbiased information and/or a balanced discussion of the issues.  As this is a stage of 120 students and four teachers working on this unit, it is also important to provide a large number of resources.  It may be appropriate to purchase more than one copy of those items deemed to be high quality resources for the topic and also to use a wide variety of credible online resources.

School Context

Stage two consists of 120 students, four classes and four teachers. One teacher is from England and therefore sufficient resources would greatly assist her teaching practice. One of the four classes is also an enrichment class (gifted and talented). Our students are from various nationalities with 2% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. This is important to note as this unit can be confronting and needs to be taught with sensitivity.

Therefore, the school library needs to show commitment to providing high quality resources for this area.  This cohort of students displays varying abilities, from highly-able to those with special needs.  The resources provided for this unit will need to be similarly varied and offer a range of access points.  This being said, Student Learning and Support Officers (SLSOs) always provide individual assistance to those students who require help investigating a concept and can assist students in their exploration of the more complex materials.  Teachers in this year level are experienced and have demonstrated in the past that they are keen to integrate non-book formats into their teaching.  As a consequence, the school library needs to provide and continue to encourage the use of materials in a variety of formats.

Overview of Current Resources

Our Teacher Librarian is highly experienced and is extremely passionate about what she does. She is an asset to our school and her knowledge and expertise is invaluable. The school has a number of resources on the topic of British Colonisation and Aboriginal history.  The library collection contains fifty-five resources that address Australian Colonisation and two hundred and thirty resources that are relevant to Aboriginal people. However, when searching for ‘British Colonisation’ the search engine only returns a result of five resources that are relevant to that topic. Staff and students also have access to some Web 2.0 tools, namely wikis and blogs, via the school intranet.

Although the library collection is strong in the reference and online reference area, overall the current resources do not adequately cater for the learning needs of students and teachers.  One weakness in the collection is the small number of non-fiction titles available to cater to a cohort of one hundred and twenty students and four teachers who need access to the resources. In order to cater for the different learning styles of students, a variety of books are needed, in addition to digital resources and websites.  When resourcing history-based curriculum, it is vital that the most recently published items are acquired and made available for use by the learning community.  Another area of improvement is to increase the number of websites bookmarked and catalogued for this topic – there are many websites which are relevant and more current, and which offer students interactive learning experiences.  There is also a lack of material in the collection that teachers can consult when planning the unit.

Part B – Annotated resource list (approx 1500 words) (40 marks)

 Drawing upon the knowledge and understanding gained from Modules 1, 2 and 3, (and any related readings):

    •      Identify the selection criteria and selection aids you have used to choose your resources.
    •      Create an annotated resource list for the curriculum topic identified in Part A.

 The annotated resource list should represent a balanced collection of 10 resources relevant to that topic that supports the needs of the learners outlined in Part A. Each annotation should consist of:

    •    approximately 150 words, beginning with citation details (set out in APA reference style).
    •    an evaluation against the selection criteria you have chosen, and
    •    an assessment of the usefulness of the selection aids you have used.



Selection Aids

To resource this curriculum area efficiently and so that it enhances teaching and learning, I will use a variety of selection aids. This will ensure that I am adequately engaging with texts that have purpose, credibility and support the curriculum content sufficiently.

Recommendations are highly valued when selecting a resource. A variety of educational professionals and subject matter experts can greatly impact on the final selection of a resource. Their advice and expertise ensures that the resource will enhance the teaching and learning content. Subject listings that are prepared on various sites can validate relevance, currency and can be accompanied by recommendations.

Another very valuable selection aid is reviews. In terms of educational resources, most reviews are often published by those within the education field. They have specific expertise in the area being searched and provide valuable information that clearly evaluates and analyses the resource of choice. Often these reviews are published by those who specifically aim to provide information on considered, pertinent evaluations of relevant resources.

Selection Criteria

I evaluated my resources against the following needs-focused selection criteria. I tweaked my model for certain sources, excluding or including criteria when required:

Criteria Points of Consideration
Appropriateness ·        Is the content appropriate for my students’ age, developmental level, and reading abilities?·        Is the style appropriate for the subject matter?·        Does it meet the teachers’ needs appropriately?
Content ·        Does the content support the curriculum? Is it distinctive, accurate, and relevant?·        Is it interesting?
Arrangement and organisation ·        Is the information arranged in a logical, understandable manner?·        Is it organised in a way that facilitates student location of information?·        Does it facilitate easy teacher navigation?
Authority ·        Is the writer, creator, publisher a reputable/recognized source?·        Are his/her qualifications, experiences credible?
Currency ·        When was the resource created, published and updated?·        Is it consistent with recent findings?
Visual appeal ·        Will the resource appeal to my students visually?·        Is it too busy, too distracting and readable?

Table A: Needs-focused selection criteria

In conjunction with this needs-focused selection criteria, the Evalu Tech criteria (2010), which was developed for the evaluation of websites, was also used for internet resources.  This additional set of criteria was beneficial, as it offers other points to consider, such as the availability of last-updated dates, download rates and ease of navigation.  Reference was also given to the selection criteria outlined in the school’s “Library collection Management Policy” (Whiteside & Galbraith, 2010, p.5 -6) which places emphasis on the authority of the author, source or publisher, the appropriateness of the content, concepts and language of the work in relation to the library user group and the structure and layout of the resource, with regard to it being of high interest, clearly laid out and produced in a medium suitable to display content.

Resource 1

Wilson, Mark. (2010). The Little Wooden Horse. Australia: Windy Hollow Books.

I started with SCIS as a selection aid and identified this book as a possible resource. Mark Wilson is a well-known author at our school. We are an Accelerated Literacy program school and we have used his texts on various occasions as a focus text which relate to themes we are also studying.

The Syndetics review referred to curriculum-based content from the unit and the story sounded engaging and interesting from a child’s perspective. It also referred to the book as being “thoroughly researched” and “accurate”.

The list of subjects covered were relevant to the unit and the number of pages and illustration information led me to believe the story was an age appropriate picture book.

This seemed like a valuable teacher resource, with both text and visual stimulus, to open up empathetic conversation. I support Cory Doctorow’s point of view that “conversation is king [and that the] content is just something to talk about”. (as cited in Mitchell, 2011, pp. 14)

The Google Books link was a helpful inclusion for finding more information to cement my thoughts. It offered some options on where the book could be purchased. Although two sites did not have stock, it was available through Angus & Robertson and there I also came across a more comprehensive review.

Notwithstanding the fact that this was a bookstore’s website, I drew confidence from the author information. His accolades and achievements, as well as fine art skills seemed to corroborate the claim that the “stunning illustrations and paintings [would] give a compelling sense of the times”. This clearly fulfilled the criteria of authority and visual appeal.


Resource 2

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Producer). (2004). Endeavour journal.  Available from http://dl.nfsa.gov.au/module/731/

A search for ‘James Cook’ on the SCAN website returned some impressive results. There was a whole page dedicated to First Contact, containing useful links to information, despite being written for stage 4. A further search for ‘First Fleet’ also displayed promising returns, however I was denied access to the more recent journals.

All resource links support the curriculum and many are easily identified as stage, subject or age-appropriate, making SCAN a useful and credible selection aid.

The video clip on Endeavour journal is only 3:27 minutes, making for easy inclusion into a lesson. It is a free educational resource and comes with instructions for download, making it conveniently accessible. The webpage also contains suggestions for activities that teachers could tailor to stage 2.

Although it is recommended for aged 9 & 10 learners, its subject matter still applies, and it would cater to the more advanced and curious learners (particularly the enrichment class). Providing a real-world visual of James Cook’s journal from the National Library of Australia would raise issues relating to the preservation of resources and the evaluation of primary sources – meeting a host of learning outcomes.

Resource 3

Dale, Darren & Perkins, Rachel (Producers). (2008). First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay. . Available from http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/first-australians-episode-1/clip2/

My SCAN search returned another video clip of interest that meets one of the crucial curriculum objectives – providing an indigenous point of view on the arrival of the First Fleet. Credibility is added by the opinions of an Aboriginal historian and pictures and sketches from the time.

The short clip provides an interesting counterpoint to many of the historical sources that focus on animosity between Aboriginal people and European settlers (or invaders). It suggests the idea that the first encounter may have been peaceful and even friendly.

Providing a balanced set of resources would promote constructivist knowledge as learners would need to draw their own conclusions after evaluating a range of differing perspectives.

It is once again freely available online, current and a visually effective medium with appropriate content.

Resource 4

Kwaymullina, A., & Tobin, L. (2014). The Lost Girl. Australia and New Zealand: Walker Books.

After several searches, I referred back to the HSIE unit of work to assist in the resource search process. The unit of work offers opportunities for students to learn about the original inhabitants of Australia and delves into the discovery of what life was like for Aboriginal people before British colonisation.  So after a SCAN search I found The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina. The Creative Kids Tale review stated that, “This is a lovely book, illustrating the unique relationship that the Aboriginal people of Australia share with Mother Nature. The story unfolds through the stunning illustrations as we journey along with the little girl” (Creativekidstales.com.au, 2014).

The layout, number of pages and the visual stimulating illustrations suggested that this was an age appropriate book. This book could be viewed by a range of reading abilities which allows our special needs students to be easily supported throughout the exploration of the concepts and ideas this book shares. The content adheres to the outcomes required in this unit, as students get a glimpse of the unique relationship that the Aboriginal people of Australia have with Mother Nature, and how they teach their children to survive in the harsh and unyielding landscape they call home.

Ambelin Kwaymullina is and Australian Aboriginal author which suggests that her information and views are credible. She has written and illustrated a number of award winning picture books as well as writing a dystopian series – ‘the Tribe’ – for Young Adults. Being that she is a recognised and current author I find that this resource would greatly benefit the unit of work.

Resource 5

Treasure Explorer. [interactive website]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://treasure-explorer.nla.gov.au/treasure/first-australians#canoe-tree

Using Google as a selection aid, I discovered these fantastic interactive resources on the National Library of Australia website. Teachers can involve children in accessing the digitally enhanced maps and pictures, developing crucial digital literacy skills. There are other useful links, including ‘Finding the Land Down Under’, which leads learners to explore Cook’s Endeavour journal, and ‘Early Settlement’ containing more images of historical items such as the last preserved convict uniform and journals which document specific events that occurred as well as illustrations of what the first settlers saw.

The search function works well and it is fairly straightforward to navigate. The site engages students through visual stimulus, colour and fonts that evoke interest. It is full of wonderful digital artifacts and gives children the chance to ‘visit a museum’ from the classroom.

Resource 6

Murdie, R., & Nixon, C. (2014). Meet Captain Cook. Australia: Random House Australia.

Meet Captain Cook is an engaging picture book that could be catergorised as an historical narrative. It is a part of a series of books about “the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia’s history” (www.randomhouse.com.au, 2014). The content within this book is of a high quality and provides readers with factual information in relation to Captain Cook within a narrative story format. The content is clear, well structured and appropriate to the target age of the text. It provides readers with a simplistic outline of events as Captain Cook and his crew discovered the eastern coast of Australia. There is also a comprehensive timeline feature at the conclusion of the text. This text could be used in the Years 3-6 classroom to support learning in both English and HSIE Key Learning Areas. The publisher, Random House Australia also provide a teachers resource pdf available free from their website to support using the text in the classroom. The book is published both in print and as an eBook for easy access. The digital version will engage readers whilst supporting them through their use of multiple tools and text features such as text-to-speech options, dictionaries and note-taking capabilities.

Resource 7

Barlow, Alex & Gilbert, Kevin, 1933-1993 & Hill, Marji, 1947- (1987). Heroes of the Aboriginal struggle. Macmillan, 1987, South Melbourne

An aspect that is repeatedly reinforced in the curriculum outcomes is the importance of focusing on both Aboriginal and European role players in events relating to the First Contact. A prominent resistance leader was a man called Pemulwuy, who until recent decades has not been acknowledged in Australian History. This provided some challenges in locating relevant, age-appropriate resources.

Trove was a selection tool that presented successful findings. The summary on the website affirmed that this book was for children, that it contained coloured illustrations, including maps (another curriculum specification) and illustrated resistance to the colony.

A further recommendation in terms of credibility was the inclusion of an Aboriginal consultant – an imperative source of cultural context and oral, generational knowledge.

Reviews would have been useful in providing a more personal assessment of the resource, particularly as Pemulwuy met with a rather gruesome end. However, as Trove specifies that it is juvenile literature, I would take the risk in assuming that this issue has been approached with sensitivity.

Resource 8

Wheatley, N., & Searle, K. (2011). Playground. East Melbourne, Vic.: Allen and Unwin.

Using Google as a selection aid, I decided to explore Aboriginal people prior to British settlement further. Google returned a search of various stories and resources to choose from, many which were not age appropriate for stage two students; so I refined my search by adding “stories for children”. This search returned the book, ‘Playground’ by Nadia Wheatley, illustrated by Ken Searle. With historical and contemporary photographs, artwork by leading Indigenous artists, and new colour illustrations throughout, this compilation of Indigenous stories gives a fascinating insight into Aboriginal childhood, both traditional and contemporary. This picture book lends itself to the curriculum in an age appropriate and stimulating way. The pictures and content allow students of stage two to engage with the concept of Aboriginal customs and traditions without being overwhelmed with information. The book is arranged so that students can absorb concepts vastly through the visual stimulus. The teacher is able to navigate and progressively lead discussions on past and present customs in Australia. This resource is a recent publication and therefore the content is relevant to today’s classrooms. Students can connect with what they already know as well as develop and acquire new information.

Resource 9

A convict story. [interactive website]. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.resources.det.nsw.edu.au/Resource/Access/427f4fb3-c587-4734-8e54-d7f91e4561fb/1

I found Scootle incredibly user-friendly. The ‘search by Australian Curriculum’ function returned a variety of accurate, curriculum-based, multimodal resources. The option of creating learning pathways is also a most useful tool.

A convict story’ is an interactive resource that I found highly valuable. This resource provides seven different interactive sections. Because our school is a technology empowered school, presenting these on the smartboard would allow teachers the opportunity to engage learners in hands-on games, quizzes and research activities. This would appeal to learners that are driven by curiosity and those that learn better by doing. It will further develop vital twenty-first century digital skills and address our ICT scope and sequence as well. The resource supports the unit of work and meets many of the learning outcomes, being made available on the DEC website, and would incur no cost.

The interactive website is not only visually interesting and rich with pictures, paintings and photographs, it is easily arranged in such a way as to be easily navigable by all learners. The links at the bottom, which provides teaching notes, a glossary of terms and a full bibliography with links to other useful and relevant websites certainly are an extra bonus for busy teachers!

Resource 10

australianscreen,. (2014). First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay. Retrieved from http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/first-australians-episode-1/clip1/

Another search on Scootle resulted in the resource ‘Bound for Botany Bay – unit of work’. This unit of work provides many relevant resources in many forms such as media, visual, audio and print. Upon reflection on the resources I have already found, I was drawn to the video resource, First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay? (2008). A three part clip (‘Life Before Contact’, ‘Can You Imagine?’ and ‘A Genuine Relationship’) each with the duration of approximately 2:30 minutes provides encapsulating imagery of the Australian landscape. The narration is somewhat monotonous which may deter some student’s engagement.

Stage two students will absorb direct information without being overloaded and specific teaching content of British settlement are addressed. Some points made throughout this clip are interesting are often thought provoking. Some terminology used would need to be explained as it can become slightly complex. The short interviews with Aboriginal historians confirm that this is a credible resource as well as its currency due to this film being composed in 2008.

Teachers will be able to easily navigate this clip and find this resource useful in addressing curriculum content and provoking discussions that deepen the students understanding and extend their knowledge. The only negative about this resource is that some of the images are dated and not as engaging as the resources above. However being that it is only a short clip and most of the video of the Australian landscape are magnificent, I feel it is still a resource worth exposing the students to.


Throughout the resource selection process I have learnt to critically evaluate texts. Evaluating the collection is most important. It allows for strengths and weaknesses to be identified in the collection and highlights areas in need of improvement to meet the needs of its users (Bishop, 2007, p.142). Evaluation is extremely important as user’s needs are constantly changing so the collection must be evaluated in order to stay relevant (Kennedy, 2006, p.88). Evaluation of the collection not only highlights what is being done well and where improvement is needed, it also acts as a tool to increase funding (Bishop, 2007, p.142). The structure of the needs-focused selection criteria (which was predominantly used throughout this process) has allowed me to select various resources that are suitable for the stage two HSIE unit ‘British Colonisation’.

An integral part of evaluating a collection is weeding. Weeding was a term that I was unfamiliar with before completing this assignment. I now know that weeding is just as important as acquiring new resources for the library. It isn’t simply looking at a resource and removing it due to bias or condition, there are guidelines and criteria that can be used to effectively weed the current collection. The growth of digital information, exceptional levels in the production of global information where quality and authority of information is often not contested, and the emergence of participatory and collaborative web environments all provide a rich case for the necessity of school libraries to develop the intellectual, social and personal agency of students to learn, live, and be productive citizens in a 21st century world (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 10).

A lot of resources I initially discovered were too advanced in terms of content for a year 3 and 4 group of students. With such a sensitive topic such as British colonisation, many articles, books and videos explored the massacres that occurred, delved into the stolen generation and the fierce discrimination that all accompanied that time in history. Therefore I found that I had to be particular with my choice of key words rather than generating a broad search. Some selection aids enabled me to tick a box that narrowed my search to suit year 3 and 4 students, but not all did.

Selection aids are also an important part of the process as it allows you to direct your search more thoroughly. Tools I found valuable were the SCIS OPAC, the resource reviews database, Scan, the National Digital Learning Resources Network (which provides online resources that I could access through Scootle), TaLe and the various curriculum pages of the NSW DET.  Online booksellers and retailers were also useful. I really had no idea that so many selection aids existed.  While I had never heard of TROVE (the online database of the National Library of Australia) before, this was the first time and as I explored the database I was amazed at how extensive it was. Prior to this assignment, I would often use Google to resource the curriculum and choose resources that mostly had visual impact. From this I have learnt to evaluate my search more thoroughly and adhere to the criteria named in the needs-focused selection criteria. Whilst it is more time consuming, the benefits for the teaching and learning program are far more relevant.


Reference list

A convict story. [interactive website]. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.resources.det.nsw.edu.au/Resource/Access/427f4fb3-c587-4734-8e54-d7f91e4561fb/1

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Producer). (2004). Endeavour journal.  Available from http://dl.nfsa.gov.au/module/731/

australianscreen,. (2014). First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay. Retrieved from http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/first-australians-episode-1/clip1/

Barlow, Alex & Gilbert, Kevin, 1933-1993 & Hill, Marji, 1947- (1987). Heroes of the Aboriginal struggle. Macmillan, 1987, South Melbourne

Bishop, K. (2007). Evaluation of the collection. In The collection program in schools : concepts, practices and information sources (4th ed.) (pp. 141-159). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

Creativekidstales.com.au,. (2014). The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina – Creative Kids Tales. Retrieved from http://www.creativekidstales.com.au/authors-illustrators/ckts-book-reviews/538-the-lost-girl

Dale, Darren & Perkins, Rachel (Producers). (2008). First Australians – Episode 1, They Have Come to Stay. . Available from http://aso.gov.au/titles/documentaries/first-australians-episode-1/clip2/

Evalu Tech. (2010) Criteria for evaluating websites.  Southern Region Education Board.  Retrieved from http://www.evalutech.sreb.org/criteria/web.asp

Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: School library futures project. Report for New South Wales Department of Education & Training, Curriculum K–12 Directorate, School Libraries & Information Literacy Unit. Sydney: Curriculum K–12 Directorate, NSWDET. Retrieved from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/21c_report.pdf

Hughes-Hassell, S & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) K-6 syllabus. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://k6.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection Management: A concise introduction. Centre for Information Studies, Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Kwaymullina, A., & Tobin, L. (2014). The Lost Girl. Australia and New Zealand: Walker Books.

Mitchell, Pru. (2011). Resourcing 21st century online Australian Curriculum: The role of school libraries. (pp. 10-15). Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au

Murdie, R., & Nixon, C. (2014). Meet Captain Cook. Australia: Random House Australia.

[www.randomhouse.com.au], R. (2014). Meet Captain Cook by Rae Murdie – Books – Random House Books Australia. Random House Australia. Retrieved from http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/tba/meet-captain-cook-9780857980182.aspx

Scan Online Journal for Educators. (2014). Retrieved from http://scan.nsw.edu.au

SCIS Catalogue. (2014). Retrieved from http://opac.scis.curriculum.edu.au

Scootle. (2014). Retrieved from http://scootle.edu.au

Treasure Explorer. [interactive website]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://treasure-explorer.nla.gov.au/treasure/first-australians#canoe-tree

Trove. (2014). Retrieved from http://trove.nla.gov.au

Wall, J. & Ryan, S. (2010). Resourcing for curriculum innovation: learning in a changing world. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press.

Wheatley, N., & Searle, K. (2011). Playground. East Melbourne, Vic.: Allen and Unwin.

Whiteside, J & Galbraith, D. (2010).  Library Collection Management Policy.  Retrieved from https://portalkc.overnewton.vic.edu.au/Collaboration/library/stafflib_home/library_staff_resources/default.aspx

Wilson, Mark. (2010). The Little Wooden Horse. Australia: Windy Hollow Books.




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