National Museum of Australia launches pioneering online education initiative

Australia’s National Defining Moments Digital Classroom is a game changer

The National Museum of Australia, in partnership with Gandel Foundation, 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.

Students 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.

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 $ 6.5 million education initiative.

Dr Mathew Trinca AM, National Museum Director, said the ADMDC is 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.

Mr and Mrs Gandel said: “We are proud to have collaborated with the National Museum on this flagship grant. Much of our giving through Gandel Foundation is about providing opportunity for children across Australia, helping them to reach their potential. This is something that will be realised through the ADMDC.”

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, “This is an excellent one-stop shop for all areas of history content when students need reliable and trustworthy sources.”

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

Significant defining moments include:

  • 65,000+ years ago: Evidence of first people;
  • 1788: Arrival of the First Fleet;
  • 1872: Free, compulsory and secular education;
  • 1880: Ned Kelly’s last stand;
  • 1902: Women granted the vote in federal election;
  • 1967: Indigenous referendum;
  • 2009: Black Saturday bushfires.
The National Museum of Australia’s director Dr Mathew Trinca  launches Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom at Lyneham high school, year 8 class. Picture: Karleen Minny, THE CANBERRA TIMES, ACM. 

Two further elements of the ADMDC were postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown and will be launched in 2021.

  • The ADMDC competition (February 2021) will invite students to identify, research and present their own local community defining moment as part of their entry.
  • The state and territory Youth Challenge Program (April 2021) comprises eight one-day forums run by Ryebuck Media to introduce the concept of ADMDC to students with a segment on how to enter and participate in the competition.