A high-tech tool to help secondary students engage with Tasmania’s colonial heritage was launched today by the Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage, and the Arts, Michelle O’Byrne.
Key to Port Arthur Investigations encourages students to make links between the history of the Port Arthur Historic Site and contemporary society by reflecting on concepts such as justice, poverty, punishment and social conditions.
Key to Port Arthur Investigations tells the stories of Port Arthur convicts and residents using rich interactive media, including more than an hour of video material and 100 pages of research material. Students select a Port Arthur identity, called a ‘key life’, and follow that life through a series of tasks or projects.
“Student projects may take many forms and cover a range of learning areas, from maths, science or history to literature, music, theatre and dance,” Ms O’Byrne said.
The CD-ROM based resource contains a wide range of information and research material that is unique to Port Arthur and not available elsewhere.
“The really exciting thing about Key to Port Arthur Investigations is that it has been aligned with our school curriculum. The information and tools that teachers need to both encourage and assist their students and to assess projects based on learning indicators and our learning standards are all included in the package.”
Key to Port Arthur Investigations is fully integrated with and tailored to the Tasmanian and Victorian curricula. It is backed up by a dedicated and integral website and schools using the program are supported by the Port Arthur Historic Site’s Education Officer.
While not essential, the Key to Port Arthur learning experience ideally incorporates a visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site itself.
“The Port Arthur Historic Site is a centre for excellence in terms of knowledge and understanding of our convict past,” said Ms O’Byrne.
“Now students everywhere can access that knowledge using this entertaining and interactive resource, which I believe will transform the teaching of Tasmanian history.”
Key to Port Arthur Investigations has been developed by a team of award-winning Tasmanian companies working with Port Arthur Historic Site’s professional staff.