Skype creates the drama in four Victorian schools


Deanne Joosten, Leading Teacher from Phoenix P-12 Community College in Victoria, is an amazing example of how technology can bring learning to the next level. Deanne has well and truly knocked down her classroom walls, giving students in rural communities the opportunity to get creative in her VCE Virtual Drama Classes.

With 700 kilometres distance between four different schools – Deanne teaches drama to 23 students at the same time using Skype.

“I’m really passionate about technology and passionate about drama – without the virtual drama program they would miss out altogether because their schools are not able to offer VCE Drama, and that would be a real shame,”Ms Joosten said.

The IT departments from each school set the students up with a laptop, and Ms Joosten would then use Skype to project to the three other classes from a projector screen in her live class. The program has empowered students to improve their ICT skills, build relationships with other students, gain confidence by performing solo as well as in a group – and they also get the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with Deanne, and get live feedback on their performances.

“Learning and teaching with technology is a life long journey – and I’m excited to see where the future will take me.”

“It has been an incredible journey, and I’ve been so impressed how quickly the students have solved any problems along the way. They’ve received some fantastic results, and one of my star students even got selected for Top Class in Melbourne, where 30 of the best drama students in the State come together to perform.


“The content that has come out of the program has been awesome. The technology also allowed the students to let their creativity come to life. I love how creatively they incorporated the projector and the devices into their performances as props, interacting through the screen, creating characters like the ‘technology ruler’ in their performance.

“I have had to adapt some of the teaching techniques that I would use in a normal class – and surprisingly the use of Skype actually made student’s concentrate more as they didn’t have some of the distractions that come with a live class. There have really been no barriers in this program that we haven’t been able to overcome, and I’m proud of what we have achieved.

“Microsoft has given me a push to explore different ways of doing things, it ‘blows my mind’ with what teachers can achieve.”

“I would love to expand the program so it was purely a virtual drama class, encompassing around ten schools all at the same time. This program has so much potential. There is really is no limit in what you can do when you are using technology in the classroom. Learning and teaching with technology is a life long journey and I’m excited to see where the future will take me.”


Ms Joosten is also one of Microsoft’s Expert Educators – a global network of education experts who work closely with Microsoft to drive technology innovation in the classroom.

“Just being part of a global network and connecting with different people inspires you to do more and more and try new things. Microsoft has given me a push to explore different ways of doing things, it blows my mind with what teachers can achieve as teachers using technology in our classrooms. I’ve learnt a lot from the other Expert Educators, and I’ve taken what I’ve learnt on board, and made changes along the way.”

Deanne has also been recognised by Drama Victoria – receiving an award for her innovative curriculum in VCE Drama and Theatre Studies.

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