Environment – Moonee Ponds Creek

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Moonee Ponds Creek near Arden St
Moonee Ponds Creek near Arden St

At The Huddle, one of the places we learn about through observation and images is the Moonee Ponds Creek.

The Moonee Ponds Creek is a neglected environment only a block away from The Huddle. Though many students live close to it, they do not recall the creek readily. Having been a swampy area with seasonal flooding, I understand the creek is currently categorized as a drain. Further upstream, it runs along a freeway and has been a concreted environment since the 1960’s. Near Arden St, it still tends to flood and running alongside the creek’s edge are a trainline, a bike path and an overhead freeway. Despite the urbanisation of the creek, with a focus on transport and other infrastructure, there is life in and around the creek.

The Huddle invites young people to document what they see along the creek on video. It also invites them to consider their vision for what a creek and indeed this particular creek should be like.

To date we have discovered a lot of wildlife at the creek including Рblack swans, ibis, turtles, ducks; indigenous reeds, peppercorn trees and grasses. We have also noticed that it is a flood plane which floods regularly, that people live under the bridges, and that there are gas lines, factories, an electrical station and a plethora of train infrastructure between here and the Docklands.

Young people visiting The Huddle have not been aware that there are major plans for development along the creek. This includes the plans relating to the Arden Macaulay Structure Plan, the East-West Road Link and a train station at Arden St. The vision young people at The Huddle have for the creek is that it should be a cleaner environment, that it should make space for plants and animals and that the impact of urbanization on the natural environment should be considered in future planning.

Their films document the environment as it is today. We wonder what will become of it in the near future …..photo 11

Moonee Ponds Creek near Arden Street
Moonee Ponds Creek near Arden Street

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One student, the daughter of a cameraman from Iraq who has migrated to Australia, brought along her own video camera and made a movie narrated in her first language. I look forward to seeing what she may create in the future.

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Kids filming under Citylink Electrical station on the creek

Join in the Chorus

Over the past few weeks at The Huddle, we worked on a creative project using the NMFC club song “Join in the Chorus”. We asked a group of students to create a lip sync video collaboratively, based on “Join in the Chorus”.

We assigned roles to each member of the group so everyone was responsible for one element of making the video

  • music/sound production – cueing the song
  • art production – enhancing the visuals and setting to be filmed.
  • camera person – shooting the footage
  • actor / lip sync-er, person filmed
  • lyrics – supporting the actor with the lyrics

Using Samsung Slates, art production was probably the most creative role. Instead of sourcing props and costumes, this role involved drawing on the screen with your finger or a stylus to animate the video and enhance the visuals around the person being filmed. The Samsung camera allows you to draw your own pictures on screen and then shoot; or to use preset frames, filters and animated emotions – or a mixture of both.

Given some roles carried a heavier workload than others, students were able to rotate through roles and gain a fuller experience of film-making. The acting role was somewhat challenging and could be done in a group, which would have the potential to make reference to the team singing the song after they win a game.

Though we talked at length about how to make editing easy, probably the hardest aspect of the activity is to edit the song together so that lip sync is achieved. So we have more thinking to do with the editing process and applications that might suit this activity.

AFL club songs are great and I love “Join in the Chorus” http://www.nmfc.com.au/video/2013-06-02/join-in-the-chorus. The lyrics are rousing, joyous and speak to the heart – making all True Roos feel proud to belong. But the beginning of the song which the players sing at the end of matches, is not recorded in the official release of the song, so it doesn’t present an opportunity for lip syncing http://www.nmfc.com.au/fans/multimedia/theme-song. After we ran the activity, we wondered whether we should ask students to video a rendition of the Hearts to Hearts verse – we may try that another time!

The best thing about the whole activity, is that it just made us laugh. I still laugh watching and thinking about it and I loved the way the students had fun with this and threw themselves into it.

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The Huddle – learning about place, self and others through digital storytelling

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At The Huddle we actively promote social cohesion through our IT-based education programs. Middle years students from local schools come to The Huddle to learn about place by exploring images of the locality and how it has changed over time. They also learn about community through the guests to the classroom, many of whom are elite sportsmen playing Australian Rules Football for North Melbourne Football Club. An underlying aim of all our programs is to develop oral language and IT skills and to empower students by giving them the camera. We cater for students with diverse language backgrounds learning in mainstream classrooms and in programs for newly arrived migrants.

Using video and stills, they make their own digital stories to build community through sharing stories. In the photo above, you can see posters some students have made that reflect on their experiences of migration.

The oval at Arden St, where we are based, was once a swamp with a seasonal lake known as the Blue Lagoon. Gil Freeman created this beautiful watercolour to re-imagine the swampy environment that is now the football oval.

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I will link to a 3 minute video about Arden St that some students from North Melbourne Primary School made at The Huddle. They now attend University High School.