Bosch Plena public address and emergency sound system
Schools are investing in smarter technology for their public address/emergency sound systems. The new breed of digitally controlled sound systems are convenient, cost-effective and simple to use; they meet the modern-day needs of schools for paging, recorded-message play, time signals, music distribution, emergency evacuation and lock-down.

Based on an ‘all-in-one’ unit, models in the Bosch Plena range have a built-in amplifier powerful enough to drive the loudspeakers in most small to medium size schools. They will work with most existing speakers, creating an affordable upgrade of the system. For larger schools, the system can easily be expanded up to 60 zones with a maximum of eight paging stations.

An in-built digital recorded message player facilitates day-to-day announcements, emergency tones and messages. These can be automatically played for routine messaging, and for relaying clear instructions during an evacuation or lock-down of the school. Individual paging zones allow the school to be divided into areas for selective paging, emergency messaging and chime-signals. 
Bosch Communications Systems
tel (02) 9683 4752

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition on again
In line with 2009 being the International Year of Astronomy, the theme for the highly popular Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competetion is Searching for Stars.

What kind of stars? Any kind, the Society says… the Sun, the Milky Way, the night sky… sports stars, rock stars, movie stars – maybe even you old mum because she’s a star too.

This year, for the first time, the competition will be an online event, with school registration and students’ entries to be submitted through the Society’s website at

Entries open in March 2009 and there are attractive prizes to be won in each category.

Last year, more than 12,000 poems were entered and the Society is hoping that the ease of online registration and entry will encourage even more schools to participate. tel (02) 6742 1200

Free film is part of Rialto Observation Deck package
Melbourne 360, the Melbourne Observation Deck at Rialto, is an excellent place to begin a school visit to Melbourne. Student groups will enjoy a unique, centre-of-the-city perspective on the city and the region beyond. While enjoying the views, drinks, coffee, a snack or meal are available in the on-deck cafe.

There’s also a free 15-minute film in the RialtoVision Theatre.

Free re-entry allows visitors to return on the same day as the original ticket. It’s a great way to come back and see how Melbourne lights up at night.

The Rialto Observation Deck Education Program can be adapted to the specific subjects your class is studying. Comperehensive information is available online at

Melbourne 360, The Melbourne Observation Deck at Rialto is located in the heart of the city at the lower end of Collins Street on the King Street corner.
tel (03) 9629 8222

Fun at Melbourne’s Federation Square
Discover the true story of Melbourne and Federation Square. Join Richard Richards, expert tour-guide in training and his giraffe Gerard on a whirlwind adventure through Melbourne’s civic heart.

See the city through new eyes and meet a cast of crazy characters – the architect (Mr Grey – who knows everything about Fed Square), John Batman (The man who wanted to call Melbourne Batmania and Sir Henry Parkes (the grandad of Federation, from the days when beards were popular). It’s a side-splitting romp through Melbourne’s rich cultural heritage.

Warning! This show contains time travel and actual facts. It’s perfect for students and teachers working in VELS Levels 3 and 4 or years 3 to 6.
Age range 8–14 yrs
Dates April 2, 3, 23, 24
Time 10:30 am. 45 min. show
Cost $6 per student adults free.
Bookings tel (03) 9655 1910

Student leadership conference expands
The Impact Student Leadership Conference was first held in 2006 to train student leaders from 20 schools in Perth. In 2009, 50 conferences will be held across all states and territories to train over 10,000 primary and secondary student leaders.

Impact Leadership is a non-profit organisation that aims to present conferences that are practical, interactive, enjoyable and informative. The conferences are unique in that they are presented by young adults who themselves were once leaders at school, and that the material presented is clearly focused on school-based leadership.

Separate conferences are held for primary and secondary students in city and regional locations. Visit the Impact Leadership website for local conference dates.

tel 1300 368 223

1 million garments in stock
Long-established LW Reid takes pride in holding 1 million garments in stock at its NSW premises. The company, which started out selling national brand garments door to door and to small retailers in 1922, moved into the education sector in the early 1980s and today supplies to more than 5000 Australian schools.

The company’s website at is updated at 25 minute intervals and lists all stocked items by garment type, colour and size.

With its focus on customer service, LW Reid has developed a system that enables adding a school logo or making a customised style without adding pressure to the demanding role of the school uniform coordinator.

Factories that manufacture garments for LW Reid are carefully selected to make sure that the garment quality, continuity of colour and value for money always meet expectations.
Customer service tel 1300 367 167

The Fred Hollows Foundation gets focused on schools
Many teachers have indicated a broad interest in engaging their students in social justice and development issues but simply don’t have the time or resources to research information and prepare activities and lesson plans. The Fred Hollows Foundation ‘Get Focused’ schools program aims to provide simple and engaging ways for teachers to increase awareness and support in schools for these issues in ways that are relevant to the curriculum.

The Foundation’s new look ‘Get Focused’ website is packed full of information, lesson plans and real life stories about Fred, The Foundation’s work and development issues for teachers to get their class focused and aware. The Foundation welcomes feedback from teachers about the website.

The ‘Get Focused’ team is also available to facilitate workshops in areas of NSW, Qld and Vic.
Contact Kate Morrison for more information about the ‘Get Focused’ schools program.
tel (02) 8741 1933

Powerhouse museum student programs
Sydney’s Powerhouse has been collecting for 125 years, amassing an amazing treasure trove of objects from Australia’s past.

Until recently, much of the collection has been off limits to the public. Now, at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre in Castle Hill, visitors can go behind the scenes to view a wide variety of objects that have never, or rarely, been exhibited at the Museum or Sydney Observatory.

The Discovery Centre is offering five new secondary school programs this year. These are tailored to the NSW History, Technology and Engineering Studies syllabuses.

The programs are:
History Inquiry: Preserving our Past. For years seven and eight. Available from Term 2 Tuesday – Friday.
Examining Evidence: Constructing our Past. For years eight and nine. Available from Term 2 Tuesday – Friday.

The Times They are A-Changing. For years nine and 10. Available from Term 3 Tuesday – Friday.
Design, Make Evaluate! For years seven and eight. Available from Term 2 Tuesday – Friday.
Distance Conquered for Engineering Studies Stage 6. Available from Term 3 Tuesday – Friday
Costs are $10 per student / $7 PSP schools with one teacher free per 10 students.
Contact (02) 9762 1300

Deals on Toshiba projector
Toshiba is offering attractive bonus deals to schools buying projectors. For every five projectors purchased, Toshiba is giving away a notebook or tablet PC for the classroom. Two offers are on the table:
•    Buy five projectors and get one bonus notebook: Satellite Pro, valued at $799 RRP Inc. GST.
•    Buy five wireless projectors and get one bonus tablet PC: Portégé M700, valued at $3850 RRP Inc. GST.
The offer ends on 28th April and is subject to conditions (see

Giant Classroom competition underway
The popular Giant Classroom online programs are underway again. For primary students, these are The Great Race, The Primary Research Project and the Science Challenge. The secondary schools programs are The Great Race – Current Events Edition and the Asia Wise Competition.

The programs are designed to encourage students to research their topics and to track their progress week by week.

Participation fees start at $6.00 per event per student, with discounts for enrolment in multiple events and larger groups of students.

2009 International Year of Astronomy events
One of the major events of the international IYA calendar is the “100 hours of astronomy” running over 2nd–5th April. Around the world, public star-gazing sessions will give thousands or even millions of people a chance to look at the sky through a telescope – many of them for the first time. Professional observatories will take part in a 24-hour global webcast. Planetaria, museums and other outreach centres will throw open their doors for special programs.

If you’re interested in running a star-gazing session for your school, 2nd–5th April would be an excellent time to do it.

In May, the Australian Science Festival in Canberra will take astronomy and space as its theme.
July is Moon Madness Month, with 21st July (in Australia) being the 40th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing. In Australia, both the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station and CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope were involved in receiving the TV pictures of this event and conveying them to the world. Celebrations will be held in both Parkes and the ACT.

For National Science Week (15th–23rd August) all schools across Australia will receive an astronomy activities resource book from the Australian Science Teachers Association on the theme of  Astronomy: Science without limits.

Australia will also be taking part in other international IYA events including: She is an astronomer; Dark Skies (and its radio equivalent, Quiet Skies); Cosmic Diary; Astronomy and world heritage; Galileo teacher training program; From Earth to the Universe.

Sydney TAFE chooses Panasonic projectors
The Sydney Institute of TAFE, one of Australia’s largest and most established centres of vocational education and training, has installed more than 140 Panasonic projectors, including over 70 wireless projectors to standardise the equipment used across all classrooms and campuses. The Institute’s campuses are located at Eora, Petersham, Randwick, St George, Gymea, Loftus, Ultimo and the Design Centre Enmore.

Weighing just 1.9 kg and housed in a slim, compact body, the wireless projectors are designed to be highly mobile and save space during presentations and when in storage. Panasonic’s wireless projectors feature Panasonic’s Daylight View 2 technology which helps project sharp, crisp images even in brightly lit rooms. 

The wireless functionality is used to simultaneously display multiple laptops, via the projector’s Multi-Live Mode, for group or multimedia presentations and assessments.

Malcolm Cooper, Coordinator of Audio Visual Services said: “The Daylight View technology was a clear benefit. In terms of brightness, the Panasonic projectors are the best performers we’ve seen.

“The ease of use is fantastic, especially with different lecturers using the projectors everyday,” he said.