Education Matters - News impacting schools, teachers and students

Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 – A new perspective on scanning

Smooth operation in overhead scanning enhanced with new customised features while continuing the ScanSnap concept: Simple, Fast and Compact. The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is changing the landscape of printing.

We are seeing printing opening doors to scanning books without hassle and digitising 3D objects such as school kids artwork. The SV600 is capable of high quality scanning of large documents up to A3 size in a compact unit. The SV600 uses new Versatile Imaging (VI) Technology that maintains high image quality and ensures user-friendly operation.Information is just a scan away!

Imagine that instead of paying for a textbook, you are able to just borrow it from the library, and in five minutes, scan the important pages directly to your computer. On top of that, ScanSnap scanners convert your files into searchable PDFs, so you can save time by easily searching a scanned document for exactly what you need. Think how easy it would be to search through your book using just the ‘Ctrl+F’ function.

The SV600 can directly scan large documents (up to A3 size) as well as bound books to document quality. It maintains the ScanSnap series’ reputation for sharp scanned data images as well as inheriting the iconic “One Touch” feature from the ScanSnap Series. Unique features of the SV600 include an in-built “Book Image Correction” (ability to remove distortion caused by the curve of an open book) feature and “Page Turning Detection” feature, which initiates the scanning operation via the detection of page turning movements.

The release of the SV600 with its simple and fast desktop to digital data capture capability, allows the scanning of documents such as broadsheets and thick books that were previously difficult to handle. Its compact design and overhead scanning operation, reduces desktop footprint and even allows capture of multiple business card details just by scattering them within the scanning area. This is a welcome addition to the ScanSnap series of personal scanners, which deliver fast and simple document digitization to PDF.”

SV600 Features
1. Easy to digitise different document types using the new VI Technology
VI Technology combines a lens with variable depth of field, a direction controlled LED lamp and a CCD linear image sensor to minimise unevenness in image quality. This ensures distortion is removed and scanning produces uniform document quality. As a result even large documents and bound books can be easily digitised.

(a) Able to scan newspapers and magazines up to A3 size
No need to cut or fold. Simply position the documents, books, newspapers, within the scanning area and they can be easily scanned. Thick documents (up to 30mm) such as books or greeting cards, and even those with sticky notes attached can be scanned directly without difficulty.

(b) Able to scan old or delicate documents
Because the SV600 does not touch any document surface it is possible to scan precious items that would otherwise be damaged by too much handling or feeding into ordinary ADF scanners.

2. All-in-one unit lets you create and read your own digital books
The page turning detection function and the image correction feature, greatly simplify and speed the scanning of book pages. Rack2-Filer Smart and Magic Desktop software, makes SV600 the all-in-one model for organising and enabling the reading of scanned images as digital books.

(a) Book Image Correction automatically corrects the distortion caused by the curve of an opened book
Scanned images can be confirmed and fine-tuned using the preview dialog to ensure that the data scanned from magazines and books is as sharp as the original.

(b) Page Turning Detection makes continuous page scanning efficient
SV600 automatically detects when a page is turned, allowing books to be scanned at a rate of 3 seconds per open pair of pages.

(c) Easy Book Creation converts image data to digital books with ease
The new “Rack2-filer Smart” and “Easy Book Creation” features can automatically create a virtual book based on the front cover, back cover and spine of the original. It can also be placed in a virtual bookshelf for easy selection.

3. Other benefits

(a) Fast start up and scanning times
The SV600 is ready to scan in three seconds after switch on. Three seconds are needed to scan large A3 size documents.

(b) “Multiple Document Detection” feature enables scanning and cropping of multiple documents in a single scan
Ideal for multiple business cards, sets of photographs, business receipts, as the SV600 does the cropping automatically.

(c) Additional Bundled Software
“Nuance® Power PDF Standard” for editing PDF files, and “CardMinder” for managing business cards, are buddled as standard with the SV600.
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Or contact Proscan for pricing and purchase options


New Education Minister to begin revamp of portfolio


South Australian Senator Simon Birmingham has been appointed the Minister for Education in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s brand new ministry.

The appointment of the progressive Liberal, who replaced Christopher Pyne, will see the boost of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector and will also see him take control of the government’s $4.4 billion childcare reforms as they move out of social services and back into the education portfolio.

Birmingham told Sky News’ Laura Jayes that the new ministry under Turnbull is focussed on creating an optimistic vision and future for Australia.

“…in the education and training space that [vision and future] is about making sure that our schools, our early learning, our universities and vocational training are all focussed very much on delivering people the types of skills that are required to deal with the economic and industrial adjustment we’re facing in a world where global dislocation of jobs because of technological change and so on is coming at us at rapid pace,” he said.

“Really focussing in on how we ensure training and education is relevant for the jobs, not just of today, but of the future is a critical aspiration of mine and it’s something that I’ll be looking at all of our reforms through that sort of prism.”

Birmingham, who himself was educated at government schools, is also expected to shine the spotlight on teacher standards and lifting the quality of teacher training, but has ruled out delivering the final two years of Gonski funding.

“We will, in 2017, have to negotiate new arrangements with the States and Territories in terms of the forward funding profile for schools and that is something that I’ll sit down and do and look at how we can build on the needs-based approach that already applies,” Birmingham told Sky News’ Graham Richardson.

“It is important for people to understand out there that money isn’t just determined on the basis of giving it to the States and that’s the end of it,” he continued. “We do actually have many needs-based criteria in the existing funding formula and, of course, looking at any ways we can improve that in to the future is something that I will do, but there is not a bottomless bucket of money there and there is particularly not going to be a bottomless bucket of money if we’re spending it and yet not seeing improvements in student outcomes so, that’s what we’ve got to be having a look at, what is working and how do we invest more in the things that are working to make them pay off in the future.”

Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Dr David Zyngier, has called upon the new Education Minister to dump Christopher Pyne’s proposed Higher Education reforms, replace religious chaplains in schools with well-trained and professional welfare officers, and to end the ‘culture war’ over the National Curriculum by replacing education policy adviser Dr Kevin Donnelly.

“As has already been floated by the new minister and his Prime Minister, the deregulation of universities is probably off the table for now,” Dr Zyngier said. “Minister Birmingham’s commitment to VET is admirable and the sector would like to see a similar HECS or fee-HELP system in place for what has become a very expensive option for young people.

“The culture wars over control of and focus for the National Curriculum may also be left to experts in education given the much more progressive views of the new Prime Minister and the Minister of Education. We can only hope that will be the case and that evidence-based research, not ideological belief, will guide our education policies for the next few years.”

Dr Zyngier also praised the government’s move of childcare reforms out of social services and back into the education portfolio as a very good move for education policy.



Bright young minds awarded career kick-start


Left to right: Advertising and Brand Manager at Victoria University Matthew Hazel poses with 2015 Work Experience of a Lifetime Leo Burnett Winner and Brentwood Secondary College’s Carlin Stephenson and Leo Burnett Account Director Sarah Lock.

Nearly every Year 10 and 11 student completes a work experience, but only a few make their peers say, “Wow.”

Thanks to Victoria University, seven such students in the state benefited from a rare opportunity to work directly with some of Australia’s top brands, including: BONDS, Mushroom Group, Leo Burnett, Nova Entertainment, Hacer Group, HM Group and Quest.

In its second year, Victoria University’s “Work Experience of a Lifetime” challenged students state-wide to an interactive online competition to showcase their career passion in a compelling visual or written entry. Winners were selected by an expert panel to take part in a week-long, immersive work and mentoring experience in late September.

Winner, Carlin Stephenson from Brentwood Secondary College, said the opportunity to work with global advertising firm Leo Burnett is a step towards attaining his dream job.

“Learning from the most creative people in the industry was amazing. I can now say that I’ve worked with one of the top five advertising agencies in the world,” Stephenson said.

Professor Peter Dawkins, Vice-Chancellor and President of Victoria University, said two additional placements were offered this year, along with a more diverse range of partner organisations, following a strong response to the inaugural Work Experience of a Lifetime programme in 2014.

“More than 60,000 pupils undertake in excess of 4 million hours of work experience every year with the hope of uncovering insights into their potential future. Victoria University believes it is vital that students, educators and businesses all work together to ensure every hour of that time is well-spent and we are proud to be supporting top student talent in their career development,” Dawkins said.

Andrew Woodhead, Creative Director at Leo Burnett Melbourne, said his team is dedicated to fostering talent and believes the structured placement provides a fantastic overview of the workings of an integrated agency.

“Carlin was immersed from day one in a range of disciplines to help him develop a sound understanding of the opportunities within the industry. We gave him a taste of the filming, design and sound production involved in creating some of Australia’s most recognisable brand campaigns, including Honda, 7-Eleven and Peters Ice Cream,” Woodhead said.

How your Ssudents can get involved   

Work Experience of a Lifetime” is open to all Year 10 and 11 students in Victoria. Career counsellors from all high schools generally receive collateral in May. For more information, to view entries, or to see how your students can apply in the future, visit:


Science in a secondary state school

Science is an integral component for a progressive, creative and innovative nation, and we need to engage students early with science to provide them with extensive opportunities to experience, engage, problem solve and ‘get to know’ science, writes Sarah Chapman.

Read more

How decisions are really made


When it comes to making decisions, we’d like to think logic prevails. We consider options and choose rationally. Not quite. In fact, the majority of decisions are actually not based primarily on logic. Logic usually enters the picture well after the decision is made, in order to rationalise our choice, writes Darren Stevenson, Extend Managing Director.

The logical part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, operates with our full awareness but is very slow at processing information. It critically examines evidence, compares options and thinks through situations. That being said, the majority of decisions are not made using this rational approach.

Most of our decisions are made in the emotional centre of our brain, the limbic system. In contrast to the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system is lightning fast and almost solely functions as part of your subconscious. With the exception of intense emotions such as anger or fear, we are generally not aware of the constant activity of our limbic system. And yet most of our decision making comes from the limbic system.

There’s good reason most decisions are subconscious. The amount of information in our day to day lives is more than our slow moving conscious brain can handle. Humans take in an average of 11 million bits of information per second from our busy environments but can only consciously process a maximum of 40 bits of information per second. Therefore, the ratio of subconscious to conscious processing is more than 99.9% subconscious!

With that much subconscious thought it comes as no surprise that most decisions, big and small, are made subconsciously, based on what we feel, and then supported by logic. When you’re looking for a home you have your ideal style and suburb on your list of requirements. But it shouldn’t surprise you when you find your “perfect” home with one less bedroom and two suburbs out of your ideal area. You hear yourself say, “The sunroom could be a guest bedroom and this suburb is better anyway.” Sound familiar?

With so much subconscious influence, how do we take charge of our decision making to make the right choice each time?

1. Accept you feel with your head
Decisions based on emotion are still made with your brain. And our limbic system draws on memory and stored knowledge, to form gut feelings. Don’t ignore how you feel. These feelings often stem from experience.

2. Limit your alternatives
When there are three or more alternatives, we make poorer decisions. Our brains cope best with two alternatives, so if there is a decision involving more than two options, narrow it down before making your final choice.

3. Create a story
To engage the limbic system more consciously create a story, paint a mind picture or demonstrate a future to which you can relate. This will help you see your choice more clearly based on your image of the future.

It helps to acknowledge the roles of the different parts of your brain to make the right decision at the right time, for you.

Extend is a leading provider of high quality Outside School Hours Care services within primary schools throughout Australia. Visit to read more useful articles for school leaders.


The NAPLAN risk – data can fail to identify a school’s real needs


Some state governments have considered linking the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) data to school funding. Although the perceived benefits of this funding model may indicate the education outcomes of schools can be lifted, Jo Anderson, Lecturer in Inclusive Education at the University of New England, has told Education Matters that the issue is more complex.

What are some of the perceived benefits of linking NAPLAN data to school funding?

There are perceived benefits because NAPLAN purports to assess to the basic literacy and numeracy skills, and also because one of the things it measures is the national minimum standards. So we’re talking about looking at a standardised test that gives a minimum standard skillset that all students should reach, but really with the national minimum standard we’re looking at 100% of students, ultimately that would be the ideal. So it’s about a perception that it can target those really basic needs – the literacy and numeracy skills that all students are going to need to be able to engage with all the other areas of the curriculum.

What are the challenges of linking NAPLAN data to school funding?

Well there’s a few big key issues. One of them is around participation in NAPLAN. We know that every year we’ve got declining numbers of students participating in NAPLAN, and the other thing is that that’s not consistent across schools or sectors. You could have two schools that are almost in one community, one school might have 100% participation, the next school will have 80% participation. So when you’re looking at linking funding to NAPLAN and you haven’t got data from all the students in the school that can cause issues when they do impute data because you’re not getting a really accurate representation. So there’s a risk of the data actually not identifying clearly where the real needs are.

Also, students with an intellectual disability are exempt from sitting a NAPLAN test, along with students that don’t have English as their first language. We also know that a lot of the students who are absent for NAPLAN testing tend to be students with learning difficulties that sit at the bottom end. So none of those students are having their data counted in the NAPLAN data. Which again means that you are at risk of actually not really identifying where the needs are.

What are the downfalls of penalising schools for their success?

Well that’s a really interesting one. Schools will implement a program – if their results are poorer they get additional funding and they can put in some really good programs in place. But we know with education that for programs to be successful, theyneed to be sustainable, and they need to be ongoing and long-term. The problem with the NAPLAN data is that because it’s set every two years, each year you’re testing a different cohort of students. So one year a cohort of students could do quite poorly and the school gets some additional funding. In the next lot of tests, the school can actually perform quite well but it’s a different cohort of students that’s being tested. So if the school was to then be penalised, they’re going to lose funding even though the students who need it still need it, but also as I said you need funding for the long-term.

Schools need to know that they’re going to get this funding for five years so they can actually put some really good programs in place, and know they’re going to be able to sustain it to see students through their years of schooling. If you’re looking at employing additional staff, buying additional resources, all of those things, that needs to be sustainable over time. And with improving literacy and numeracy skills, there’s no quick fix. It’s not about a quick fix, it’s about sustained intervention that’s going to build and improve outcomes for kids.

What are your suggestions for what schools and governments can do with NAPLAN data?

Although I’m at university now, I’ve just come out of working in the school system for many years and working in leadership roles in schools, and I think it can be very useful for schools to drill down into the individual student data. For individual students it’s quite useful to see what areas within literacy and numeracy are areas of need and areas of strength. You can see patterns within classrooms, so there might be a Year 5 classroom where students are particularly struggling in inferencing, and so you can see that you need to put some support in there. So schools can use it in that way.

I think it’s a useful tool if it’s used in conjunction with a whole lot of other data. That’s one of the things the Gonski review acknowledges – that NAPLAN is a data set that is available. It’s the onlystandardised data set that we have across the nation. But it needs to be used in conjunction with a whole lot of other sets of data. There’s so much data out there, I think that NAPLAN certainly has its place as a small part of that big picture data can give. However, when we’re looking at that national level or even at the state level, I don’t think it should play any more of a role than just one part of the data puzzle.

In schools, if you get inside the data and actually have a look at what the students are doing, what their areas of strengths are, where they need to build, perhaps as a school there might be some areas of weakness, then you can target some professional development for teachers and maybe target some additional support staff in the classes. So it does have its place in that way. But then again, you’ve still got some schools where you’ve got large numbers of students who are not sitting NAPLAN, so they don’t actually have that data. You need to make sure you’ve got data for all the students in your school so that you can use it to inform planning and teaching for all students, not just ones that do sit NAPLAN.

Do you have any suggested improvements for NAPLAN going into the future?

That’s a really good question. It’s a really tricky one because as soon as you look at any testing regime, obviously it needs to be done in a way so that it’s manageable. I certainly think by making NAPLAN available online for students it becomes more accessible, but also you can start to have higher expectations, or drill down a little bit more into some of the literacy and numeracy skills. One of the questions around NAPLAN is, is it really testing? Does it really test reading? Does it really test spelling? And I think if we looked at using digital technologies, then perhaps we could make sure that NAPLAN is really testing what it purports to test.

Now that we have a national curriculum, I do wonder whether rather than relying so heavily on NAPLAN it would be better to look at making sure that we perhaps increase moderation and get more consistency around the assessments that we use within our schools to assess the outcomes of the curriculum that the school students are working on, and perhaps look at report card data and at strengthening some of those things. It gives a bigger picture. One of the things with NAPLAN is that there’s no story behind the data. And when you lose that story behind the data, you run a risk of not really capturing that student or the essence of the learning of that student.

I think once NAPLAN goes online that will open up a whole lot of opportunities. We certainly need to work at making NAPLAN more accessible to the cohorts ofstudents that are currently exempt. Given that NAPLAN has the prominence it does federally and nationally, they don’t have any voice in that data at the moment, so I think that needs to be something that we need to work on.