Australia’s defining moments

Cathy Freeman opened the 2000 Sydney Olympics before providing one of Australia's greatest sporting highlights by winning the 400 metres.

The National Museum of Australia, in partnership with Gandel Philanthropy, has launched a pioneering digital initiative which will take Australian history into classrooms around the country.

Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom (ADMDC) is an innovative teaching and learning website which offers rich resources for teachers and students of Australian History, Geography, and Civics and Citizenship.

In a year which has highlighted the value of online learning for students forced to study from home due to Covid-19, this unparalleled initiative is a resource for its time as it brings Australian history alive in the digital age and elevates the exploration of our national story in the classroom.

Students, primary and secondary, can explore Australian history via interactive online games and quizzes, animations, videos and virtual tours, plus teaching and learning activities, delivered to schools via a range of digital devices.

The freely available ADMDC draws on the National Museum’s highly respected Defining Moments in Australian History project, and was made possible by the generous $1.5 million donation by John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC in 2018 to support the unprecedented education initiative.

Dr Mathew Trinca, National Museum Director, said the ADMDC was the classroom of the future.

“It will empower teachers with information at their fingertips and inspire young people to embrace history and engage with the nation’s story in new and innovative ways,” Dr Trinca said.

David Arnold, program manager of Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom, said: “A key element of the ADMDC is learning through direct experience and play. Students will develop research skills, begin to understand the significance of defining moments in history, and have the opportunity to reflect upon their knowledge. The main aim of interactives is to encourage students to investigate and record what they consider to be defining moments in Australian history through the National Museum of Australia’s Landmarks gallery, their own life and their family’s history, and the history of their local community,” Mr Arnold said.

Marissa Beard, schools and engagement manager, said it was an excellent one-stop shop for all areas of history content when students need reliable and trustworthy sources.

The ADMDC includes numerous historic archival film clips from the National Film and Sound Archive.

“We are thrilled to have selected and contributed more than 50 titles from our collection,” chief engagement officer at the Archive, Matt Ravier said.

“This footage brings to vivid life the moments that shaped us as a nation, empowering students to engage with our living memory and discover how history can inform their role as active citizens and builders of Australia’s future.”

Popular historian David Hunt has produced eight animated defining moments which will be used extensively on the ADMDC site to further engage students.

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