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The NSW DET’s Centre for Learning Innovation was established in 2004 and is part of the NSW Department of Education and Training. Its role is to provide excellence in learning resource production, and leadership in the strategic use of technology in education and training.


The DET’sTeaching and Learning Exchange (TaLE) is an innovative education portal offering quality resources for teachers, parents and the community. Resources are linked to your child’s curriculum.



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Priority Topics

Big Ideas For Better Schools

Alvin Toffler’s Future School

"The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Tofler.



Beyond political rhetoric: the research on what makes a school good  Geoff Masters

Michael Fullan

Currently an adviser to the NSW Department of Education & Training.

Professor Michael Fullan is the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is an innovator and leader in teacher education, and has developed a number of partnerships designed to bring about major school improvement and educational reform. He participates as researcher, consultant, trainer, and policy advisor on a wide range of educational change projects with school systems, teachers' federations, research and development institutes, and government agencies in Canada and internationally to such countries as the U.S., England and Australia. He has published widely on the topic of educational change.

Dusseldorp Skills Forum


The Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) is an independent, not for profit body with a mission to achieve changes needed to enable all Australians to reach their potential through the acquisition of productive skills. In particular, the Forum seeks to improve the learning and work transitions of young Australians by cooperating with communities, industry, government and non-government organisations to generate ideas, research, tools and information, and to build networks of common interest. It finances its own work.


Alternative Learning programs operate in a variety of settings and configurations, and on this site we are gathering a range of program descriptions from across Australia. Here is a quote from this site:

“The students who attend the ALESCO Learning Centre are young people who cannot complete education in a mainstream school. The reasons they cannot complete are many and varied. It is true, some students are those labeled ‘naughty’ ‘troubled’ or ‘delinquent’. Some are the ones who were always in trouble for being the bully, harassing other students, disrespecting teachers, swearing loudly, not wearing a uniform, rude gestures, generally being ‘out of control’. In fact, many of our students neatly fit this description. They have been suspended, in school and out of school, many see detention as a comfortable place to spend lunch, they have been on warnings, levels, report cards, supervision and finally expelled. We even have students who are generally banned from returning to the mainstream school system.

However, not all of our students are so. Some are students who were over whelmed by the large volume of people at school; some couldn’t handle the competitive environment. Some were the victims of serious bullying; some suffer an emotional or psychological disorder and don’t feel supported at mainstream. Some students are in State Care, some students missed a year of school because their family was on the move and no one was available to help them catch up.
And at the ALESCO Learning Centre all these students are in together.”


Learning Choices Expo 2006


Applications closed September 24th, 2005.

The selected showcase teams will be announced on October 17th, 2005.


The 2006 Learning Choices Expo will bring together programs and schools with a passion for engaging young people in learning ­ particularly those students whose needs aren't being met by traditional education. Not a regular conference, and not an ordinary Expo, it is a gathering of 500 teachers, principals, coordinators, youth workers, young people, policy folk and researchers from across the country who are working in diverse ways to meet the needs of their students.  The Learning Choices Expo in 2004 in Sydney was an inspiring two days for both conference delegates and youth teams alike. In May 2006 the Learning Choices Expo is migrating north to Maroochydore, QLD and is shaping up to be even richer than the inaugural event.


Over twenty programs and schools will be selected from Australia and overseas to send a team (three students and one teacher/coordinator) to the Expo.  As one of the Expo themes is Indigenous education, we strongly encourage Indigenous programs to apply.


Each showcase team will present to approximately 35 delegates.  The showcase presentation will be approximately 40 minutes long followed by 20 minutes of facilitated discussion and questions with the audience. The showcases must be student-lead and as interactive and imaginative in their delivery as possible. At the Learning Choices Expo in 2004 student teams presented their programs to groups of delegates by creating radio pieces during the session, building furniture, dancing, involving delegates in a mock-school meeting and treating the delegates to a café experience. 


The youth showcase teams will also take part in a range of skill and personal development activities, and social activities during the Expo. 


Please visit http://www.dsf.org.au/learningchoices/expo_2006.php for more information and to download an application form.

Applications close September 24th, 2005.

The selected showcase teams will be announced on October 17th, 2005.


For more information, please contact Chris Meares at DSF on chris@dsf.org.au



The Big Picture Company & The Met School USA Director Dennis Littky

The Big Picture Company believes that schools must be personalized, educating every student equally, ONE STUDENT AT A TIME. Each student’s learning plan should grow out of his or her unique needs, interests, and passions. We believe that the education system must ensure that students and families are active participants in the design and authentic assessment of each child’s learning. Schools must be small enough to encourage the development of a community of learners, and to allow for each child to be known well by at least one adult. School staff and leaders must be visionaries and life-long learners. Schools must connect students, and the school, to the community - both by sending students out to learn from mentors in the real world, and by allowing the school itself to serve as an asset to the local community and its needs. Finally, schools must allow for admission to, and success in, college to be a reality for every student, and work closely with students, families, and colleges throughout – and beyond - the application process.

In addition to designing and supporting our own Big Picture Schools with this philosophy, The Big Picture Company is committed to spreading our philosophy to as many individuals and communities as possible. Through our own publications and videos, writings in local and national publications, and our work with the Alternative High School Initiative and Big Picture inspired schools, we seek to use a multitude of avenues to help CHANGE THE CONVERSATION AROUND EDUCATION.

The 10 Distinguishers

One Student at a Time - Personalization

Learning in the Real World

Authentic Assessment

School Organization

Advisory Structure

School Culture


Parent/Family Engagement - Adult Support

School-College Partnership - College Preparation

Professional Development

Big Picture School Distinguishers

Big Picture Schools are distinguished by the use of the same language and practice. All Big Picture High Schools share common characteristics which we call ‘distinguishers.’ The distinguishers, listed to the right, exist as a comprehensive whole. They are interrelated and inform one another, consequently, no distinguisher is more important than another and none work in isolation. It is the combination of the distinguishers, the degree to which Big Picture Schools employ them, and intensive conversations of reflection and action, that results in the powerful success of the design.

Click here to learn about the 5 Learning Goals that are infused throughout all of a student's learning at a Big Picture School.

Marion Brady (US)

Powerpoint Presentation: Education Reform:
The Problem…A Solution

Excerpt: The curriculum as system problem:

Making sense of experience requires the seamless weaving together of knowledge.  Fields of study are now walled off from each other with awkward, artificial, arbitrary boundaries.  Because of this, our brains are denied, in real and  immediate ways, access to the raw materials essential for productive thought.

Other Links

Technology School of the Future (TSoF) South Australia

Established in 1989, the Technology School of the Future (TSoF) is a unique staff training and development centre within the South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services. The centre staff in association with an increasing number of partners, provides technology professional development services to a wide range of clients from around the world, with a primary focus on South Australian schools and preschools. The centre is the largest provider of hands-on teacher training in school use of computers in Australia.


Australian Flexible Learning Framework

The 2005 Australian Flexible Learning Framework provides the vocational education and training (VET) system with e-learning skills, professional development opportunities, products, resources and support networks to meet today's increasingly technology-driven learning environment.

The 2005 Framework is a one-year, AUD$15million national strategy collaboratively funded by the Australian Government and all States and Territories. It builds on the work of the 2000-2004 Framework but also strikes out in some exciting new directions, including working to meet the e-learning needs of students and communities, business and industry, Indigenous learners and people with disabilities.


National College for School Leadership (NCSL) UK

Will children of the future learn alone at home or in small groups, linking with teachers and other pupils via virtual communities? This is one of six scenarios that you can explore with the FutureSight toolkit.

FutureSight is part of an international project undertaken with the OECD, the DfES Innovation Unit and Demos, developing the OECD Schooling for Tomorrow initiative. This initiative explores the nature of schools and their response to the challenges of the 21st century.

Leading and managing the future school – developing organisational and management structure in secondary schools. Report, pdf. NCSL.


Building Learning Futures Report, pdf

From ULTRALAB, the learning technology research centre at Anglia Polytechnic University.


Teaching, Learning, and Schools for the Future OECD

What will our future schools look like? What kinds of teaching and learning will take place in them? Who will be the teachers, and will they be high quality? Will schools be laying the foundations for lifelong learning for all or for just the lucky few? These are crucial questions for education and society at large at the outset of the 21st Century.

The Institute for Learning Innovation US

Free-choice learning is the type of learning guided by a person's needs and interests – learning people engage in throughout their lives to find out more about what is useful, compelling or just plain interesting to them. As the world transitions from an industrial society to an information society, learning across the lifespan becomes increasingly important.

National Reports on Schooling in Australia 2000 – 2003


The New School - a university

The New School is a legendary, progressive university comprising eight schools bound by a common, unusual intent: to prepare and inspire its 9,400 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world. From its Greenwich Village campus, The New School launches economists and actors, fashion designers and urban planners, dancers and anthropologists, orchestra conductors, filmmakers, political scientists, organizational experts, jazz musicians, scholars, psychologists, historians, journalists, and above all, world citizens-individuals whose ideas and innovations forge new paths of progress in the arts, design, humanities, public policy, and the social sciences. In addition to its 70 graduate and undergraduate degree-granting programs, the university offers certificate programs and more than 1,000 continuing education courses to 13,000 adult learners every year.

Walden University

Quoting from Wikipedia

Walden University is an accredited university that was founded in 1970. This university offers Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctorate Ph.D. degrees in a select area of academic fields, to professionals who work to make a difference in the lives of children, the health of a community, or the success of an organization.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Walden University embraces a nontraditional post-baccalaureate educational system. The university's core mission is to develop individuals, embrace diverse learning styles, and strengthen the important role education plays in supporting democracies and developing principled leaders for societies.

Walden University offers fully accredited, advanced degrees to professionals in management, education, health and human resources, psychology, engineering, and IT. Walden enforces high academic standards with the goal of providing education with depth, breadth, and application through an online environment”.

See Lesson Planning Articles eg First Day Ice Breakers, and lots more.

On this page……

Michael Fullan (Canada)

Dusseldorp Skills Forum (Australia)

Dennis Littky (US)

Met Schools and The Big Picture Company

Marion Brady (US)

Education Reform:The Problem…A Solution

The New School

 a progressive university


Other Links

Articles on changes to the UK system

Alvin Toffler’s Future School

Read this if you dare!!

Toffler advocates a radical change to the US public education system, with some of these features:

-          Open twenty-four hours a day

-          Customized educational experience

-          Kids arrive at different times

-          Students begin their formalized schooling at different ages

-          Curriculum is integrated across disciplines

-          Nonteachers work with teachers

-          Teachers alternate working in schools and in business world

-          Local businesses have offices in the schools

-          Increased number of charter schools



Author and teacher John Marsden’s

Candlebark School Romsey, Victoria


Links to alternative schools



Dusseldorp Skills Forum


New Reports


Setting the Pace: a report on aspects of education, training and youth transition is an independent study of developments in education and training in Victoria since 1999.

In commissioning this important study we asked a basic question: is Victoria the national leader in youth participation in learning and work? The answer from the Monash-ACER Centre for the Economics of Education and Training (CEET) is a clear but not unqualified ‘yes’.


It's Crunch Time: raising youth engagement and attainment.


From a report in the Melbourne Age

Crunch Time has dozens of recommendations, among them:

Increase teacher staffing in disadvantaged areas, and develop alternative teaching

methods to fit the learning needs of potential dropouts.

Expand the range and depth of pre-vocational education in schools, link it to local employers and TAFE colleges, and hire retired tradesmen as teachers.

Recruit and train more indigenous education workers as mentors for indigenous children, who have the highest drop-out rates.

Offer early school leavers professional support, and vouchers to return to school or take up a training place "with real work".

Offer rewards to apprentices who complete their training.

See Dusseldorp’s MySpace Page


















Dennis Littky was a contributor to the P&C’s Term 4 Journal.

Dennis Littky co-founded and co-directs The Big Picture Company, and is the Director of The Met Center in Providence. He is nationally known for his over 35 years in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings. His work as a principal at Thayer Junior/Senior High School in Winchester, NH, was featured in an NBC movie, "A Town Torn Apart," based on the book, Doc: The Story of Dennis Littky and His Fight for a Better School. Most recently he published a book on The Big Picture’s philosophy (along with Samantha Grabelle) entitled The Big Picture: Education is Everyone’s Business (ASCD, September 2004). He holds a double Ph.D. degree in psychology and in education from the University of Michigan.


London Daily Telegraph Article on the Met Schools



































































































































































































































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 The sites listed are for your information, but the content does not necessarily align with the policies of P&C NSW. No responsibility is taken for any material contained therein.