An introduction to MY:24 series and free filmmaking app, and suggested uses for the Level 5 and 6 History curriculum.
Janine Kelly, Australian Children’s Television Foundation
This piece was originally published in Agora (No. 1, Volume 53), the journal of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria.
Series and films produced by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) have been enjoyed in classrooms for over 30 years. From Lift Off! to Round the Twist to Little Lunch, we provide Australian children with entertaining media made especially for them.
Secondary teachers exploring Indigenous history or spirituality may be familiar with our film Yolngu Boy, and the much-loved television series My Place is used widely in the middle years to teach Australian history. An engaging and more recent series that teachers may be unaware of is our short-form documentary series, MY:24.
In this factual entertainment series, 26 young people share diverse and aspirational stories about the day that changed their lives forever. Each 12-minute episode is told from the perspective of the individual, and in their own words. The series explores many themes relevant to Humanities and Social Sciences in the upper primary and secondary years, including Indigenous perspectives, migration, refugees, and environmental issues.
The ACTF has produced three comprehensive study guides to support teachers in exploring the series with students – a guide for English, Health and Physical Education, and Humanities. Through partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, all teachers and students with login access to the state’s FUSE portal can also now freely view and download all MY:24 episodes. Victorian Curriculum-aligned support materials for Levels 5-10 complement each episode on FUSE, providing teaching ideas for a broad range of learning areas and capabilities.
Following the release of MY:24, the ACTF created an app to scaffold students in creating their own digital stories. In this free app, suitable for Year 5 and up, students use basic templates to produce their own three-minute documentary. Scenes include: a ‘diary cam’ introduction; an image montage with voiceover; a video re-enactment with filters; an interview with a family member or friend; and film credits.
At ACTF Education, we regularly hear from teachers using the MY:24 App in innovative ways. Whether following the premise of the series and asking students to reflect on their own personal history, or using the app to document another perspective or event, this technology provides an engaging learning tool for students. It develops ICT and media production skills; encourages students to tell and share their own stories; fosters communication, collaboration, and connectedness; and can provide the basis for innovative cross-curricular units of work which genuinely reflect students’ interests.
Links to the Level 5/6 History Curriculum
The short-form MY:24 episodes and related app can be used in a variety of ways to develop and demonstrate historical knowledge, concepts and skills in middle years classrooms.
MY:24 stories told by migrants and second-generation Australians, such as Rida and Andy, reveal how their perspectives and values differ from those of their parents – and how this can cause conflict between generations (VCHHC084). Reflections by African refugees Fablice and G-Storm also provide insight into the experience of forced migration to Australia (VCHHK095). These episodes are an engaging prompt for conversations about migration and diverse perspectives, and can encourage reflection on students’ own family histories.
Having viewed one or more of the above episodes, students could discuss the questions that may have elicited certain responses from MY:24 participants. This discussion will provide a tangible example of the need for both closed and open-ended questions in historical inquiry. Students could then develop their understandings by using the MY:24 App to document the experiences of someone who migrated to Australia.
Year 5 and 6 students exploring the Australian colonies can also use the app to further their historical knowledge. After investigating the establishment of the British colonies and early colonial life in Australia, students could assume the perspective of different inhabitants and detail their everyday life. For example, they may take on the persona of a convict, a free settler, an indentured labourer, or an Indigenous Australian of the time. Students’ language choice and their details of clothing, diet, leisure, paid and unpaid work, housing and lifestyle can demonstrate their understandings of daily life and events in the Australian colonies (VCHHK089).
More generally, the MY:24 App can be used to document student reflections about key dates such as Reconciliation Week or ANZAC Day. Teachers have also used this digital tool to document school events in an engaging way, or as an alternative to oral presentations for students who struggle with public speaking.
The MY:24 series and app provide teachers with another option to present the History curriculum in innovative ways. In addition to the freely downloadable app and three comprehensive study guides, Victorian teachers and students with login access to the FUSE portal can now view and download all 26 episodes of this engaging series.
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