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Diversity issues in computer science classes.

Minecraft to help build digital tech skills for students

Victorian government school students will have access to Minecraft: Education Edition, a classroom version of the popular game Minecraft, specifically created to immerse students in various Minecraft worlds to promote creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.

This is the result of a new agreement between the Victorian Government and Microsoft. “This is about giving our schools and students access to the best digital technology and programs to prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said Education Minister, James Merlino.

Through the partnership, Minecraft: Education Edition, and a broad range of other software, is now available for use by all Victorian government schools, students and staff.

The Education Edition of Minecraft is tailored to teach collaboration and build students’ skills in technology and science. “We know our kids will need skills in science and in technology as well as critical thinking, and programs like this give them the opportunity to develop in these areas,” added Minister Merlino.

Students can interact with virtual learning experiences that directly link and expand on the subjects being taught in the classroom.

Teachers can also use the program to engage students, meet their learning needs and build their skills around a particular subject such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), History, Geography or Coding.

Voiceless launches new animal protection education program

Animal protection institute, Voiceless, has released its first education program for high school students – ‘Dolphins in Captivity’. It aims to introduce students to a wide range of issues and concepts by encouraging research, discussion and debate.

According to Voiceless, which works to promote respect and compassion for animals, the program is the first of its kind to be offered in Australian schools.

“Our Animal Protection Education (APE) programs are created by educators for educators and are very easy for teachers to use in the classroom,” said Ondine Sherman, Co-founder and Managing Director of Voiceless.

The programs investigate key animal protection issues and ethical and legal concepts through a suite of resources including videos, podcasts, fact sheets and infographics, as well as classroom activities which are linked with the Australian Curriculum. It includes resources developed to run alongside activities in Geography, English, Science, History, Civics and Citizenship, and the Arts.

“This approach encourages students to think critically about the future of dolphin captivity, providing them with all of the information they need to develop an informed position on the issue,” added Ms Sherman.

“Resources, including interviews with scientists, lawyers and advocates, introduce students to some of the key issues raised by holding dolphins in marine parks, aquariums and research facilities around the world, encouraging students to consider the arguments both ‘for’ and ‘against’ keeping dolphins in captivity.”

New vertical High School to open in Melbourne’s inner south

One of Victoria’s first government vertical Schools, located in Prahran, is on track to open its doors for term 1 of 2019, according to the Andrews Labor Government.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino toured the construction site on 5 June 2018 to see the School’s building progress firsthand.

“We’re building new schools here in Prahran and right across the state because no matter where you live, you deserve access to a great local school,” said Premier Daniel Andrews. “This is about giving kids in the inner south the world-class school and learning environment they need to thrive.”

Prahran High School is being built to accommodate 650 local students from Year 7-12. It will welcome its first cohort of Year 7 students on the first day of term 1, 2019.

Minister for Education, James Merlino, added that this is one of 70 new schools currently being rolled out across the state by the Andrews Labor Government.

The school will become part of the existing educational precinct, which includes Melbourne Polytechnic and the National Institute of Circus Arts.

Prahran High School has been designed by Gray Puksand Architects, and is being built by Kane Constructions. It will be constructed over five levels – all featuring direct access to outdoor learning terraces.