Yarrabilba shines through COVID-19

Filmpond trial fuels College success

Pictured: Yarrabilba State Secondary College staff.

After “an enormously successful” first-ever Term 1, staff at one of the state’s newest schools, Yarrabilba State Secondary College, found themselves facing unimaginable circumstances.


In just a term they had built strong and positive relationships with students and colleagues, and they had successfully embedded a hands-on Project-based Learning (PBL) approach which had really connected with pupils.

“How were we going to support our students’ learning and wellbeing and continue with our hands-on PBL approach to curriculum delivery in an online learning-at-home environment?” Mrs Tregea found herself asking.

“How would we keep up that all-important connection between students and teachers as well as continue to foster critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, resilience and independence?” she said.

“We were especially concerned for our students who struggle with literacy. Long emails, reading comprehension, online research and written tasks were not going to be easy for them without access to teacher support.


“My greatest fear as principal was that we would regress into a traditional model of teacher-centred, lecture-style delivery … I was desperate not to resort to ‘death by PowerPoint’ or worse―my pet hate―‘worksheet pedagogy’!”


Months on, YSSC staff have not only managed to build on those early connections and learning successes, they have also become a hit in their local community on social media due to their passionate approach to ensuring their students thrive.


YSSC staff have been delivering lessons and wellbeing activities, as well as showcasing their work, via videos developed through the Filmpond platform.


YSSC Head of Department Marney Brown said one of their latest videos, in which staff performed a dance for students and uploaded it to their Facebook page, had attracted more than 12,000 views and 1500 shares.


An Anzac biscuit cooking lesson she filmed on Anzac Day with her 5-year-old son resulted in parents from across the community uploading photos of their children on Facebook doing the same.

“I was inundated with more students wanting to join the cooking project,” Mrs Brown said. “I logged into Filmpond on Monday and 798 people had viewed the film!”


Videos are being used by YSSC teachers for morning check-ins with students, as well as for delivering lessons. Video was also used for important ‘How to’ lessons to help students and parents initially navigate the new COVID-19 learning-at-home environment.


YSSC’s online success has prompted one organisation, Future Anything, to ask the College to compile a video on how they are showcasing PBL in the COVID-19 landscape.

The school is one of 171 across the state which have taken up an offer by Filmpond to utilise its platform for free for three months.


Together, the 171 schools have created more than 200 film ponds and 63 films have been published on the QCT pond. Films can be open or closed to the public.


Mrs Brown said the platform was perfect for helping students engage in the PBL approach from home and it was easy for teachers to use.


She said it also did not impact on bandwidth or IT connectivity, which was a big advantage for the College.

“Once each film is published it creates its own unique URL that can be shared as a web link or directly on to our College’s Facebook page,” Mrs Brown said.


“There has been so much interest that many teachers are working on their own subpond specific to their project they are leading. This allows subpond owners to invite other teachers to share videos in their pond.”

“The videos uploaded have allowed students to have visual connection with their teachers. Well-being is so important to us at Yarrabilba.”


She said the videos also allowed students to learn at their own pace.


“So that’s where the students are really thriving,” Mrs Brown said.


Jane Frost, who was one of the first YSSC teachers to use Filmpond, has been delivering outdoor learning video lessons involving cross-curricular garden projects.


“This keeps students engaged and allows them to connect with my project on a regular basis; I can share what I am actually doing,” Ms Frost, who teaches Mathematics, Science and Art, said.


“Without this platform I wouldn’t be attempting to do as many videos, and I think it would be more difficult to communicate the information through other mediums.”


Mrs Brown said Filmpond had also allowed YSSC teachers to be creative in how they delivered the curriculum in an online platform.


“Do you know what? Our staff are absolutely having so much fun with making videos,” she said.


She said Filmpond had a series of short videos that teachers could watch about how to use the platform. The organisation also offers online support as part of the package.



You can check out some of YSSC’s videos here: https://www.filmpond.com/ponds/yarrabilba-ssc

The free Filmpond trial runs for three months from the date a school signs up. If you would like to trial it click here.

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