World Heritage Case Study: The Great Barrier Reef
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Great Barrier Reef - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Great Barrier Reef - UNESCO World Heritage Centre | World Heritage Case Study: The Great Barrier Reef |
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Brooke Carr's insight:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre website is a great resource for a teacher to use both personally (To gain an understanding of the topic) and in the classroom (Combined information and ICT lesson).


This Website is a great resource for a teacher to use to gain understanding of the topic that they are teaching. This website gives both a synopsis and a detailed description of the Great Barrier Reef’s location, features, current issues and its reasons behind being named a natural world heritage site. It also contains various videos that explain the importance of the reef and how it became to be a world heritage site, as well as a gallery of photos that can be used within the classroom. One of the benefits of the website is its up to date News and events section, which has various links to news reports and documents that relate to the Great Barrier Reef and its environment. These links would be useful within the classroom, as learning about current issues is an important way to engage students in topics and events. The website also has various links to other websites that include conservation websites, government sites and other websites that give relevant and current information about the reef and its current situation.


As it can be seen, this website would be great use for teachers who may have little knowledge or want to refresh their knowledge with current information about the reef and its situation within the environment. As this websites provides many facts and information about the reef, teachers may also use this resource to develop key questions they may want the students to answer and develop the answer to through their sequence of lessons.  Key questions provide focus and direction to student investigations, and teachers should develop these questions with student’s interest and capability in mind (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011, pp. 58).  This resource allows for a teacher to have the answers and develop the questions they believe their students will be able to answer and achieve in developing knowledge for the outcome ENS3.6.


This website could also be used in stage 1 of inquiry, Establishing what we want to find out. The features of the website itself, such as the easy to read layout, well labeled tabs and safe content, allows for this website to be shown to the students. Even though students may not understand some of the language that the website presents, the teacher could easily use this website as part of an introductory lesson into the reasons behind it being listed as a world heritage site, exploring pictures, watching videos etc. and combine it with a ICT lesson. The teacher could show students the use of hyperlinks, embedded videos and the safe use of the internet, while still developing their understanding and introductory skills of the topic.


This resource has great benefits not only for the teacher and their own knowledge, but also for the students, either directly through an ICT lesson and introductory lesson or indirectly through the development of critical key questions for their future learning.


Reference: Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2012). Teaching Society and Environment. 4th Edition. Victoria: Cengage Learning.

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Web Quest

Web Quest | World Heritage Case Study: The Great Barrier Reef |
Brooke Carr's insight:

ReefED is a great website that has great resources and ideas for teachers and students. It runs in contact with the Marine Park Authority, which is an Australian Government organisation, to produce the most up to date and most educational resources for students and teachers. The website has several different sections including a teachers resource section which has unit of work lessons and the accompanying resources such as newspaper articles, facts and videos.


The section that will have great benefits within the classroom especially for the students is that of the Student section. In this sections students are able to explore the website on their own and develop their own knowledge and understanding of the reef and its place within the Australian environment.The section that is linked above is one interactive section called Web Quests. It is a section that allows for students, in groups, to take on a web quest and work out one of the problems that is facing the Great Barrier Reef. It is a great resource as it states what the problem is, what the task is and the roles that each student can take on. In each of the role sections, there are a series of questions that the student in that role has to complete, with accompanying resources/websites.

This would a great resource to use within the classroom, however some of the content and tasks that are asked for the students to complete could be a bit difficult for year 6 students. This does not mean that is resource cannot be used within a year 6 classrooms!


The teacher could still use this resource as a basis for a similar activity, which they can change and adapt for the students in their classroom. The teacher could still use the scenario and the roles that the website uses and have that displayed in the classroom, but give students more suitable questions and tasks to complete within their roles. In doing this also the teacher can focus their questions on the outcome ENS3.6 more by creating questions that develop their skills in the impacts of people’s beliefs, practices and values on the environment. After students have completed their roles and gathered their information, they could present their findings through a news report. This could be both written, which would make links to their English writing and could be used as an assessment, and also as a performance, where students deliver their findings to the class as if they were reporting breaking news on the television.


This type of group work is directly linked to the socio-cultural theory for learning. Students are part of a learning process through which they become one with the collective through carrying out personal activity in collaboration with other people (McInerney & McInerney, 2010, pp.54). Students are able to find and develop skills in the Zone of Proximal Development, by gaining their own knowledge through the assistance of others. This type of learning allows for students to not only develop their own skills, but help develop other students skills in a socially organised structure.


Reference: McInerney, D.M. & McInerney, V. (2010). (5th Ed.). Educational psychology: Constructing learning. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.

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Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority :: Story Place - Information on Traditional Connections to Sea

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority :: Story Place - Information on Traditional Connections to Sea | World Heritage Case Study: The Great Barrier Reef |
Brooke Carr's insight:

Story place is a reference data base that holds several resources of journal articles, conference proceedings, books, reports, DVDs, CD-ROMs, video recordings, websites and newspaper reports, that explores the relationship that the Traditional Owners have with the land and sea country in the Great Barrier Reef region.


The site aims to share information and knowledge about the Traditional Owners by allowing for teachers, researchers, students and other people interested about the Traditional Owner connection with the Great Barrier Reef, to have a one stop resource database where they can access hundreds of resources that explores this connection. The site is run by the Australian Government Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority, who has worked with various Aboriginal Groups, especially that of Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, who where a partnership in the making and creating of this website. The website instructs a terms of use page before entering the site which indicates that the site has been consulted with Aboriginal and Indigenous People, and outlines regulations and practices in terms of content, language, images of deceased people and copyright.


This resource is a great database to have as a teacher when teaching about the practices and beliefs of Aboriginal People and their environment. The database allows for a range of resources to be explored such as articles, videos and books that can be used within the classroom to stimulate discussions and activities that discuss the connection that the Traditional Owners have with the land and sea country.


Through the resource database I was able to find some website resources that teachers could use to teach different aspects of Aboriginal and Indigenous life in relation to the Great Barrier Reef. They include:

- This PDF file is a fact sheet that describes many different views of Aboriginal life and their culture in relation to the Great Barrier Reef, including aspects of sustainability which is vital in learning about this topic

- This website has an abundance of information about the Traditional Owners and their relationship with the Great Barrier Reef. An important section is that of Language and stories, which describes that there is a difference between the tribes that live along the Great Barrier Reef and the relation to the Reef. This would help in teaching about the diversity among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture


Another important website that should be mentioned, that was not found on the Story Place website, but on The Australian Government Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority Website was that of the Native Title Representative Bodies and Service Providers ( There are distinct Traditional Owner groups along the Great Barrier Reef coast who through their inherited rights and responsibilities, traditional lore and custom, speak for their area of sea country and the local Native Title Representative Body can help you identify the correct people for you to meet and get in contact with to teach specific content that relates to their traditions. This is a respectful practice that you must meet as a teacher when teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content that you are not familiar with. 

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Great Barrier Reef: protecting its future - YouTube

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best managed marine areas in the world. At 348,000 square kilometres, the ...
Brooke Carr's insight:

This video is from the Environment Education Department, and is developed to bring awareness of the processes and advancements various organisations are doing to help conserve the Great Barrier Reef for the future.


This video has great advantages as a resource within the classroom as it not only explains why it is important to conserve the reef and explains the importance of the idea of a sustainable future, but it gives the view of all different people affected by the Great Barrier Reef. It has the view of the traditional owners of the land, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Schools, fisherman, general public, the Marine Park Authority, World Heritage organization, the government and the tourism industry.


The outcome that this subject matter of World heritage sites is linked to is that of ENS3.6 which asks students to explain how various beliefs and practices influence the ways in which people interact with, change and value their environment. This video allows for an introduction into the idea of peoples values and practices and how it influences to their environment


This would be a great video to discuss and develop knowledge on the global perspective of sustainable futures in relation to the Great Barrier Reef and how the interaction of different cultures can affect this. Some of the language in this video however may be foreign to some students, so before viewing the video, it would be recommended that the teacher creates a brainstorm with the class about their knowledge of the issues the great barrier reef may be experiencing and the conservation or efforts that are being put in place to try and have a sustainable future for the reef. This would allow for students to have some knowledge and understanding before watching the film.


Students should than watch the film and than have a further discussion about the sustainable future of the Reef and add any new point s to their brainstorm. After a class discussion the lesson could go down various different roads to develop further understanding of the sustainable futures and conservation. An example of the following lesson sequences that could be developed by the teacher is below.


-       Activity 1 Edward de Bono’s Six Hat Thinking: The 6 hats of thinking are placed around the room, with questions that the students should think about in relation to conservation, the different groups and their interaction and what the future holds. Students in groups go around the room to each hat and have a discussion about the questions being presented and share with each other their ideas and thoughts. Each group gets approx. 5 mins at each hat and than moves onto the next. Once students have completed all the hats they can have their own individual reflection about the topic and write a short journal entry in their writing books about what they think about the conservation and the future of the Great Barrier Reef. (If you do not know what the 6 hats of thinking are please refer to this website  

-       Activity 2 PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE TABLE: In groups students develop a past, present and future table that discusses people interaction with the great barrier reef and the influences that it has had on its environment. It is important that students bring in their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander views into this table and how their interaction with the environment is a great example for the rest of the cultures. This task can be used as an assessment task, as the teacher is able to not only see if they understand the issues of suitability and peoples influences on the environment, but can also assess their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders interaction with the environment and its difference to that of the Europeans in the past.

-       Activity 3 Role Play: In the previous groups of Activity 2 students act out their past, present and future ideas in a role play. Students are to develop a timeline performance that shows how people’s interactions and beliefs can impact the environment both in a good and bad way. Students may want to show 2 alternative “futures” to show the differences in what will happen if we don’t start to conserve the environments to what will happen if we do. This could also be used as another form of assessment of students understanding, that things do change and can be different if we interact differently with the environment.


Research states that the application of technologies can enhance the curricula in imaginative ways, it can add a new dimension to units study and expand our notions of learning (Winch et al., 2010, pp. 400). It can be seen than through using a ICT resource such as the YouTube Video above can not only engage students learning, but help enhance they way they learn and understand.


Reference: Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy : reading, writing and children's literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford

University Press.

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Great Barrier Reef Australia - Tours, Accommodation, Info & Facts

Great Barrier Reef Australia - Tours, Accommodation, Info & Facts | World Heritage Case Study: The Great Barrier Reef |
The ultimate resource for Great Barrier Reef information, accommodation, tour and travel options related to Australia's natural wonder of the world.
Brooke Carr's insight:

The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s largest Tourism imports. Its fascinating biodiversity, incredible size and its magnificent and spectacular coral reefs attract people from all over the world to come and experience it. It is only important than, that students understand the impact that tourism has on the Great Barrier Reef and ways in which it can be harming the world Heritage Site. The resource above is a tourism website that attracts people to the Great Barrier Reef by giving facts, virtual experiences of the Reef through Google maps and also gives information about the numerous islands and activities that people can do whilst at the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. The standout point of the website is that it also does not shine away from the threats that are facing the Great Barrier Reef, and it is this part of the webpage in particular that could be used as a great resource for the students to use within the classroom.


Incorporated with an ICT and English Class, student’s could access this website and following the teachers instruction explore the areas of threats, facts and the virtual video whilst answers questions that would be provided on a sheet. These questions could include:

-       What areas are of major threat to the Great Barrier Reef?

-       What practices are Humans doing that are threating the Reef?

-       Can we do anything to stop this?

-       What are 5 interesting facts about the Reef?

-       What would make you want to come and visit the Reef?


This simple task would be developing student’s skills in ICT by accessing and identifying the information they need, than reading and understanding the information and than relaying that information in their own words. Students ICT skills can than be further tested, as well as encouraging a more challenging task with incorporation of English, by asking students to than develop a Brochure about the Great Barrier Reef.


Students would be asked to develop a Brochure that will give information about the Reef and the current issues/threats that are presented to the Reef. Students would also be required to have a section that gives ideas and activities that could help prevent the threats that are facing the Great Barrier Reef and also try to come up with ecological ways for tourists to see and enjoy the reef. The teacher may want to give students ideas of ecological activities by showing them this website or suggest simple actions such as signs that tell people to put their rubbish in the bin, in several languages and in a diagram so people from all different backgrounds can understand it.


The importance of this task would be bring back the idea that they way in people interact with the environment, whether culturally or practices as a tourist, will have an impact and change the environment, in a good and bad way. 

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