Happy Book Week!

Literature quizzes

25 fun bookish quizzes: http://bookriot.com/2013/04/10/25-fun-bookish-quizzes/

http://www.triviaplaza.com/literature-general-quizzes/

http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/literature/

Great opening lines: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/30-great-opening-lines-in-literature/

53 best opening sentences: https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahgalo/it-was-a-queer-sultry-summer?utm_term=.drxY61B0Y#.ldmRaDLjR

100 best closing lines: http://www.stylist.co.uk/books/the-best-100-closing-lines-from-books

 

Better Reading

Australia’s largest annual celebration  of books and reading, encouraging everyone to pick up a book and read.

The first Top 100 list was launched in 2015:

http://www.betterreading.com.au/book_list/better-reading-presents-australias-top-100-books/

Vote for your favourite book in 2016  and go in the draw to win Australia’s top 100 books. Entries close 31 Aug; top 100 announced 9 Sept. Titles can be fiction or non fiction from around the world.

Top 50 kids’ books: http://www.betterreading.com.au/book_list/better-reading-presents-australias-top-50-kids-books/

 

Dymocks Top 101 2016

  1. The book thief 2. To kill a mockingbird 3. Pride and prejudice

https://www.dymocks.com.au/top-101?gclid=CP2-s6XO3M4CFQwnvQodv8gNiA

 

Miles Franklin Award announced 26 Aug

Australia’s most prestigious literary prize is awarded to “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”.

http://theconversation.cmail2.com/t/ViewEmail/r/8D3A20714D85AF372540EF23F30FEDED/E047E5910EF91B07D8E2A916412CAE5B

Book lists and awards

Literary awards around the world – there are lots!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_awards

Reading suggestions and awards: http://www.betterreading.com.au/book_list/

 

Goodreads

The world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations (owned by Amazon). Lists, quizzes, trivia, quotes…

https://www.goodreads.com/

Goodreads Choice Awards: https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2015

 

New York Times Bestsellers

Truly madly deeply by Liane Moriarty at #4.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/

 

After something new to read? Try these…

 

All these perfect strangers by Aoife Clifford

Psychological thriller (Aust. author) with an unreliable narrator. Within 6 months of Pen starting university, three of her friends are dead and only Pen knows the reason why. “A novel of disquieting intimacy and controlled suspense” – Gary Disher.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27838280-all-these-perfect-strangers

 

Ancillary justice by Ann Leckie

Award-winning sci-fi novel, the first in a space opera trilogy. The only novel to win the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Breq is the sole survivor of a starship destroyed by treachery. As the artificial consciousness of the starship, she seeks revenge on the ruler of her civilisation.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17333324-ancillary-justice

 

The trap by Melanie Raabe

Psychological thriller. “I know who killed my sister. I wrote this book for him”. Twelve years after the murder, Linda sees her sister’s killer on TV as a well-known journalist. She sets a trap for him by writing a thriller about an unsolved murder of a young woman.

https://www.textpublishing.com.au/books/the-trap

Go books and reading!

 

 

Robots and Education Today magazine

Education Today: the school principals’ magazine

You may have seen this interesting magazine in staffrooms. It comes out each term and is also available online and searchable back to 2007. The articles cover a broad range of current educational topics, are written in an engaging style and PDFs of articles are available for downloading and sharing. Education Today is owned and published by Minnis Journals (publisher: Bill Minnis) and is not aligned with any group. www.educationtoday.com.au

 

Interesting articles from Education Today (term 2 2016):

 

Digital technologies: beyond the panic – Damian Perry

The new AC Digital Technologies Curriculum will be in place in 2017, but will probably take 10 years to implement. It promotes the creation of solutions using technology, with students experimenting with algorithms and programming, exploring hardware, software, data and networks. Computational thinking is an essential component. It differs from the ICT General Capability, where students use software, access and evaluate information, consider issues of copyright and privacy, and collaborate and share. Money and time will be needed to train teachers in the new Digital Technologies Curriculum and students will be at vastly different skill levels.

There are some f=good links at the end of the article.

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/Digital-Technologies–1195

 

 

NAO robots enhance learning in South Australia

These humanoid robots have been used in 7 independent schools since early 2015, in the first major Australian study of how humanoid robots affect  learning and teaching in schools. They have been used with preschoolers to Yr 10 for Maths, Digital technologies, English and German. Using the robots has enhanced collaboration between students and teachers, unlocked innovative approaches to education, led to a rapid uptake of high level cognitive processes and quick adoption of coding language Python. The robots have proved to be a powerful way for teachers to embrace the new Digital Technologies Curriculum. Teachers and students love the robots because of the endearing way they behave. Deepest learning occurs when students play with the robots and discover things themselves. ANO robots have been used to diagnose autism and treat brin-injured patients – subjects often respond better to the robots than humans. NAOs are expensive though – $8000.

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/NAO-robots-enhance-learning-in-SA-1196

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/NAO-robots-get-to-work-in-classrooms-1197

Aust. distributor of NAO robots: http://www.brainaryinteractive.com/nao-robot/

 

Pretty sure you want a robot?

Here are 13 advanced humanoid robots for sale: Darwin Mini ($499), Hovis Eco Lite ($700), Robotis Op 2 ($9600)…..or maybe you’d prefer the Robothespian ($78 000) or perhaps the Asimo ($2.5 million)?

http://www.smashingrobotics.com/thirteen-advanced-humanoid-robots-for-sale-today/

Fearful of robots? Don’t worry…they have to follow the Three Laws:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

 

I’d love to be using my robotic vacuum cleaner this weekend (if I had one)…..

 

ICT news

Coding world record

On 20 July, more than 10,000 Australian kids set a new world record for the number of children coding simultaneously at the nationwide Moonhack event. Run by Code Club Australia, participants completed a series of online computer programming exercises related to science and astronomy. Founded in 2014, Code Club Australia has over 900 clubs.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/aussie-kids-set-new-coding-world-record/news-story/83825ec56170e8bcf45861f09afb08c4?utm_source=The%20Australian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

 

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app

At WWDC in June, Apple introduced the free Swift Playgrounds app that makes learning to code fun and easy for all. Designed for the iPad, the app encourages beginners to explore using Swift, the easy-to-learn programming language used by professional developers. Through lessons, students learn how to write code to guide onscreen characters through worlds, solving puzzles as they learn core coding concepts. Templates are included to help students create real programs that can be shared. Swift Playgrounds allows students to create an unlimited variety of interactive programs. Extra challenges will be released so students can further develop their abilities.  Swift Playgrounds is “not about learning apps for platforms. It’s about learning good coding practices” (Hodges, Apple). iOS 10 beta version available in July; final version available Sept/Oct.

 

“Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code” (Federighi, Apple VP). “The new Swift Playgrounds app from Apple is one of the most powerful, yet approachable, educational coding apps we’ve ever seen.…it’s a fun and intuitive way for our students to learn the basic principles of coding using the iPad, and also become skilled in Swift” (MacDonald).

http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2016/06/13Swift-Playgrounds-App-Makes-Learning-to-Code-Easy-Fun.html

http://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Swift Playgrounds is built for kids, but adults might like it too:

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2016/07/14/apple-swift-playgrounds-preview/#gref

 

Facebook’s internet drone test  flight

Facebook hopes to connect the world’s 7 billion people to the internet. Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, solar-powered, high-altitude drone, recently flew successfully for 96 minutes above Yuma, Arizona. Aquila will fly over areas of the world not yet connected to the internet, and beam down lasers to provide connectivity. It has a massive wingspan, flies as slowly as possible and only uses the equivalent power of 3 hairdryers. Using drones is more feasible than covering the world with signal towers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/aquila-facebook-solar-powered-internet-drone-takes-flight/7651394

http://www.theverge.com/a/mark-zuckerberg-future-of-facebook/aquila-drone-internet

 

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes

At our Year 11-12 school, we have installed 30 Asus wifi Chromeboxes to replace ageing PCs in the library. The Chromeboxes use an existing monitor and run Chrome OS ($280). The device is a desktop variant of the Chromebook laptop (HP $550), which our students use frequently.  In May this year, Chromebooks outsold Macs in the US education market for the first time. That was before Google announced that apps on the Android mobile platform – all 2.2 million – would be coming to Chromebooks too. Any app on your Android phone will sync to your Chromebook (or ChromeBox, the desktop unit). Chromebooks are less expensive and require far less IT support than PCs.

http://www.crn.com.au/feature/chromebooks-cross-major-milestone-in-battle-with-apple-431039?eid=4&edate=20160722&utm_source=20160722&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter

 

The benefits and otherwise of Pokemon Go

More daily users than Twitter; more time spent playing it than on Facebook. Some benefits: getting gamers to exercise; socialising with others; positive impacts on mental health; cooperation between players; increasing use of museums, coffee shops, cafes etc

http://theconversation.com/pokemon-go-gets-people-out-and-about-and-thats-a-good-thing-62343

http://www.sciencealert.com/pokemon-go-is-reportedly-helping-people-with-their-depression

http://time.com/money/4410946/pokemon-go-accidents-bar-crawls-dating/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/25/12273134/pokemon-go-tips-guides-news-nintendo-niantic-labs

 

Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.3 billion

The purchase includes Yahoo Search, Mail and Flickr.  Verizon will merge Yahoo with AOL, providing an advertising alternative to juggernauts Google and Facebook, which have 43% of digital ad sales worldwide. Yahoo was launched in 1995 by Stanford grad students Jerry Yang and David Filo as ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’.

http://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-buying-yahoo-likely-merging-it-with-aol/?ftag=CAD1acfa04

 

ICT news

Internet Trends Report 2016 by Mary Meeker

Her 21st annual report is over 200 slides and reveals:

Internet growth is slowing (3 billion users = 42% of world’s population); massive increase in voice commands – voice is the next big interface; in 5 years at least 50% of searches are going to be images or speech; messaging apps are rivalling the home screen as the main place for interaction; messaging is evolving with rich interactions – emoji, GIFs, videos, stickers; many online ads are ineffective; use of ad blockers is rising fast; privacy and security are ticking time bombs; user-generated videos and photos are redefining marketing; millennials don’t want to talk on the phone; smartphone growth is plateauing.

Global internet market leaders: 1. Apple 2. Google 3. Amazon 4. Facebook 5. Tencent (China)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/06/01/what-you-are-doing-online-and-other-top-findings-from-an-exhaustive-study-of-the-internet/?tid=a_inl

 

The 50 most influential gadgets of all time

A great list with interesting info including Apple Macintosh, Walkman, Victrola record player, Kodak Brownie camera, iPod, Philips VCR, Game Boy, TomTom, iPad, Kindle, Polaroid camera, Raspberry Pi, Segway, Fitbit, Wii, PlayStation….and the number 1? Apple iPhone – Apple dominates the list.

http://time.com/4309573/most-influential-gadgets/

http://time.com/4309573/most-influential-gadgets/

 

Google’s Magenta project

Magenta just wrote its first piece of music. This research project uses machine intelligence and algorithms for music and art generation. Machine learning has already been used extensively to understand content (eg. for speech recognition and for translation). Robots with rhythm?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3077977/data-center-cloud/googles-magenta-project-just-wrote-its-first-piece-of-music-and-thankfully-its-not-great.html

 

Want to test-drive for Google?

In Phoenix, you can apply to test-drive Google’s self-driving car and earn $20 per hour for six to eight hours a day, 5 dpw on a 12-24 month contract. Drivers must have a bachelor’s degree, a typing speed of over 40 words per minute and a clean driving and criminal record. Testers will work in teams of 2, with one submitting detailed reports.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/google-driverless-car-driver-job/#:jR9_-At6fdrqCA

 

Your Google Account will help you find your phone

“Ok Google, show me my Google account”. Voice searches on Google have tripled in the past 2 years. Google is now adding a Find your phone feature – in a few steps, you can locate your phone, lock and call it, secure your account and leave a callback number on the screen. For Android and iOS.

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/dont-panic-google-will-help-find-your-lost-phone-20160602-01370

National Reconciliation Week

Some resources for all ages to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority (ACARA) and also for National Reconciliation Week.

 

National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June

Reconciliation is about building better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. This year’s theme is Our History, Our Story, Our Future.  

http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/

Reconciliation Australia also links to:

Share Our Pride –  an insight into the history, lives and cultures of Australia’s First People.

Recognise – the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and to ensure that it is free from racial discrimination.

http://www.shareourpride.org.au/

http://www.recognise.org.au/

 

Some useful videos for National Reconciliation Week:

 

What is National Reconciliation Week – NITV (4 min.): http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/explainer/what-national-reconciliation-week

2016 National Reconciliation Week (1 min.): http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/nrw-60-second-video/

Who we are (8 min.) – follows the lives of 6 exceptional young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who share their stories about their families and communities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxPWd_0z3Ng

Journalist Stan Grant’s powerful speech about indigenous history in Australia (8 min.):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA3UsF8yyho

 

NITV

National Indigenous Television informs, educates and entertains its indigenous and non-indigenous audiences about the issues that matter the most to indigenous Australians. Great documentaries, news, personal accounts and perspectives.  Includes Songlines on Screen (stories of indigenous peoples’ connection to land); The point with Stan Grant (current affairs through the lens of indigenous people); Jarjums (children’s shows). http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/

20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2015/03/06/20-inspiring-black-women-who-have-changed-australia

Colour theory season 3 – hosted by artist Tony Albert, starts 12 June. Explores the work of 5 indigenous contemporary artists. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/24/tony-albert-new-host-colour-theory-season-3

Some indigenous works from Google Art Project: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/31/googles-art-project-brings-indigenous-talent-digital-world

 

SBS On Demand

A changing selection of films, documentaries and newsclips. Films with indigenous themes and issues include: Milpirri, The chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Jedda, Clouded history, The fringe dwellers, Yolngu boy, Manganinnie, When the natives got restless, Toomelah, North of Capricorn. You can also search for “indigenous” and “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” programs.

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/

 

Creative Spirits

“Learn about contemporary Aboriginal culture without agenda”. Many resources in many areas including history, arts, people, economy, law and justice, politics and media, spirituality. “Creative Spirits is an amazing collection of history and an inspiring representation of Aboriginal culture”—Michele Hetherington, Aboriginal woman from NSW.

www.creativespirits.info/

Teacher and student resources: books, movies, music, TV and radio, infographics…

http://www.creativespirits.info/resources/#axzz4AIKgaYmP

 

There are some excellent resources listed on the Reconciliation Australia site, including these below: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/

 

Books

 

State of Reconciliation in Australia Report (2016) – Highlights what has been achieved under the 5 dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance and makes recommendations for the progress of reconciliation.

 

Talking to my country (2016) – Stan Grant. “An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity…. what it means to be Australian; the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an Aboriginal man and what racism really means in this country”.

 

Paddy’s road: life stories of Patrick Dodson (2003) – Kevin Keeffe. Explores “the life and political, cultural and spiritual beliefs of Australia’s first Aboriginal Catholic priest, land rights activist, Royal Commissioner and founder of Australia’s reconciliation movement. From the moment of colonisation in the Kimberley to the era of native title, from pearling to pastoralism, through missions and institutions, this Aboriginal family has survived an uncaring and intrusive state system”. Dodson is now a senator in WA.

 

Jandamarra (2013) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The epic and tragic story of Jandamarra, indigenous hero of the Kimberley. “To the settlers, he was an outlaw to be hunted. To the Bunuba, he was a courageous defender of his country. A unique insight into an extraordinary man and a dark but important part of Australia’s frontier history. Jandamarra is story for all Australians”.

 

Boomerang and bat: the story of the real First Eleven (2016) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The first Australian cricket team to tour England in 1868 was a group of Aboriginal stockmen. Led by Johnny Mullagh, they wore caps embroidered with a boomerang and a bat and impressed crowds with their exceptional skill.

 

Stories for Simon (2015) – Lisa Miranda Sarzin. “When Simon unwraps a beautiful boomerang wrapped in an old newspaper, he learns of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. Who were the Stolen Generations and how can saying ‘sorry’ help? Through a new friendship and a magnificent collection of stories, Simon gains a deep appreciation of the past and a positive vision for the future”.

 

Books: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-reading_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf

 

Films and TV

 

Cleverman – ABC 6 part series begins 2 June.  Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell with an 80 % indigenous cast. In the near future, society fears a minority group living among them, as one young man struggles with his own power and the responsibility to unite this divided world. The series fuses an Orwellian/sci-fi/ superhero world with Dreaming stories. Can’t wait to see this!

 

Ready for this (2016) – ABC3 teen drama  12 episodes. Follows 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers, all elite in their own field, who have come to Sydney to pursue their dreams, living at performance school Arcadia House and dealing with the challenges of growing up. From the producers of Dance Academy and Redfern Now.

 

Mugu kids – NITV. Hosted by indigenous actor, writer and director Jub Clerc. The program highlights a number of indigenous languages, including the Arrente language of Alice Springs and Hermannsburg, the Gumbaynggirr language of Nambucca on the coast of New South Wales, and the Gubbi Gubbi language from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Each episode covers a different topic, such as feelings, animals, dreaming and school.

 

Films and TV: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-viewing_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf

 

Black Screen

Part of the National Film and Sound Archive – lends DVDs of contemporary indigenous films to individuals and organisations for use at screening events.

http://www.nfsa.gov.au/blackscreen/

http://www.nfsa.gov.au/blackscreen/blackscreen-dvds/

Good books

More good reads…..

 

Australian Book Industry Awards 

These awards are decided by industry experts who select the best titles published in Australia each year. Last year the top award for Book of the Year went to the childrens’ book The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. This year’s winners include:

Book of the Year and Biography: Reckoning – Magda Szubanski.

General Non Fiction: Island home – Tim Winton.

Literary Fiction: The other side of the world – Stephanie Bishop.

Book of the Year for Younger Children: The 65-storey treehouse – Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

Book of the Year for Older Children: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Publisher of the Year: Allen & Unwin.

Independent Bookseller of the Year: Readings.

http://abiawards.com.au/current-winners/

http://abiawards.com.au/general/announcing-the-abia-book-shortlist/

 

Australian Book Industry Innovation Award

Winner: The Best of Friends Social and Emotional Learning Program. The program is aimed at primary school students, with stories and illustrations by Connah Brecon, Barbara Gonzalez and Lisa Diebold. Topics include making friends, social expectations, compromise, empathy, peacemaking, conflict resolution.

http://bof.quirkykid.com.au/

The program is part of Quirky Kid Psychology Clinic http://childpsychologist.com.au/

Lots of good fact sheets and info re child psychology and wellbeing: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/

Books and resources: https://therapeuticresources.com.au/

 

7 books to read before they hit the screens

The girl on the train – Paula Hawkins. Last year’s bestselling mystery – a woman watches a couple on the train each morning and one day sees something shocking. Emily Blunt to star. Opens September.

Me before you – Jojo Moyes. A young woman becomes a carer for a young man and their lives are changed forever. Emilia Clarke to star. Opens June.

The light between oceans – M. L. Stedman. The award-winning tale of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue a baby adrift in a boat and raise her as their own, with unforeseen consequences. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander to star. Opens September.

Inferno – Dan Brown. Symbologist Robert Langdon must decipher codes within Renaissance artworks in order to save the world. Tom Hanks to star. Opens October.

Fantastic beasts and where to find them – J.K.Rowling. Set 70 years before Harry Potter; the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. Eddie Redmayne to star. Opens December.

The BFG – Roald Dahl. The adventures of Sophie and the giant will be released as a film in June, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance. Opens July.

Big little lies – Liane Moriarty. The lives of a group of middle class women and their partners start to unravel and many secrets are revealed. The HBO series comes out in 2017, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

http://www.betterreading.com.au/book_list/seven-books-to-read-before-they-hit-screens-near-you/

Libraries, bookshops and makerspaces

The bookshop that bans mobile phones and tablets

London bookshop Libreria has declared itself a “digital detox zone”, banning customers from using mobile phones and tablets within the store. It is attempting to “immerse the visitor in the visceral joys of reading and the pleasure of physical books, as well as to reawaken the art of real-life conversation, debates and talks, a sense of conviviality and a taste of the unexpected”. Visitors can take photos, but if they are caught texting, phoning, using the internet or social media, they are politely requested to stop. Most people are happy to oblige. Libreria’s founders believe “we have reached a ‘cultural tipping point’ with book lovers rebelling against the ‘digital deluge’.” Other London bookshops are following suit. Libreria groups books according to loose themes rather than genre eg. the sea and the sky. Guest curators have also made selections eg. Jeanette Winterson.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160324-could-this-be-your-new-favourite-bookshop

 

Why the internet hasn’t killed the library (yet) – Donald Barclay, Deputy University Librarian, Uni of California, Merced.

Most reference questions in US academic libraries are now via email or web chat. Over 400 academic libraries provide 24/7 reference services as members of OCLC’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Circulation and in-person reference transaction numbers have decreased markedly, but there has been a steady increase in the number of people setting foot in academic libraries. These libraries have been reinventing themselves and converting printed book space to space for students to study, collaborate, learn and even socialise! Libraries offer consultation services and spaces for research, writing, analysing data, graphic design, presentation practice, digital media preparation, makerspaces, music practice, funding opportunities etc Some spaces are open 24/7 and many have relaxed food and drink rules (!)

https://theconversation.com/has-the-library-outlived-its-usefulness-in-the-age-of-internet-youd-be-surprised-58198

 

Create knowledge and other stuff at your library!

The availability of makerspaces in many US public libraries has had many benefits. Libraries are now “places where people can not only consume knowledge, but create new knowledge” (Miguel Figueroa, ALA). 3D printers have allowed many people to create prototypes, models and parts far more cheaply at their library than through commercial manufacturing.

The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago set up their Maker Lab to support 21st century learning, as a trial in 2013. It was very popular and current sessions are usually fully booked in advance. 68% of participants are women; 55% are 26-45 year olds; 70% visited the lab to try something new. Pop-up labs visit some neighbourhoods. 3D printing, the Laser Cutter and the Vinyl Cutter are all popular. Non-digital craft programs are also offered.

http://www.cplfoundation.org/site/DocServer/Maker_Lab_White_Paper_2015_web.pdf?docID=681

http://www.chipublib.org/maker-lab/

https://psmag.com/libraries-are-the-future-of-manufacturing-in-the-united-states-5509c61ac87f#.qk9t4rw6v

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/03/everyone-is-a-maker/473286/

Long but interesting: Will makerspaces last? Do they help their members earn a real living or to learn more than a smattering of skills?: https://placesjournal.org/article/makerspace-towards-a-new-civic-infrastructure/?gclid=CjwKEAjwyPW5BRCC3JaM7qfW_FwSJACM3jz9-nMuaAiFaYD46C0nOojQ9fFuvs37reC2tsLTlPOGwBoCi1fw_wcB

 

Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology

In Silicon Valley, California, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula does not use technology in the classroom but employees of the tech giants still send their children there. Innovative thinking skills and creativity are emphasised. At the London Acorn school, the internet is banned for everyone under 16 years – at home and at school. Computers are used only with those over 14 years. “The problem with instant information is that the ease with which you can get from A to B and find the answers doesn’t reflect real life” (Sarah Thorne, principal)

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london

 

Kansas City Library, Missouri

How awesome…the façade of the parking garage of the Central Library is made of 8 metre tall book spines – the “Community Bookshelf”. The community voted on the 22 titles to be displayed, including Lord of the rings, Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, A tale of two cities, Charlotte’s web, To kill a mockingbird, The invisible man, Romeo and Juliet….

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kansas-city-library-s-giant-bookshelf

http://www.kclibrary.org/community-bookshelf

More good films

Some more good films…..sci-fi, fantasy, human rights, environment, history, animated…..

 

Cleverman

Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell. Created by Ryan Griffen. Stars Hunter Page-Lochard , Rob Collins, Deborah Mailman, Jack Charles, Robyn Nevin. This Australian 6 part sci-fi drama looks excellent. In the near future, creatures from ancient mythology – the Hairypeople – live amongst humans in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy  them. Their only refuge is to live in The Zone. The Hairies live for more than 200 years and have a knowledge of land, culture and the past. Two estranged indigenous brothers know that there is one chosen being – the Cleverman – who has the power to bring the worlds of humans and Hairypeople back together before everything is destroyed.

 

In indigenous culture, the Cleverman is a conduit between The Dreaming and this world. The Hairypeople were inspired by identities in many stories across the country and creator Griffen consulted with elders from many communities. They were designed by Jake Nash, production designer for Bangarra dance company, and built by Weta Workshop (Lord of the rings) in New Zealand. Screens ABC1 and iview on 2 June.

 

“Cleverman is a thrilling and sophisticated drama filled with conflict, unrest and smart storytelling. The show presents an allegorical view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on our world right now — our collective treatment of minority groups and what common values we share that make us a society.” – Joel Stillerman.

“Cleverman marks a new era for Australia’s production sector, inviting audiences to experience a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama. With an 80% Indigenous cast, Cleverman sets the benchmark for diversity on Australian television and its contemporary themes set in the near future will resonate widely amongst diverse audiences” – Sally Riley, Head of Indigenous, ABC TV.

https://studentedge.com.au/article/why-abc-cleverman-is-2016-most-exciting-new-show

http://thescreenblog.com/2016/02/10/a-new-kind-of-tv-cleverman/

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/feb/18/with-80-indigenous-cast-cleverman-becomes-first-australian-show-at-berlinale

 

Midnight special

Science fiction-drama. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst. A father and son flee a religious cult in Texas, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special otherworldly powers. “Jangling, darkly addictive and super-mysterious…” -Tim Robey. Sounds intriguing! Rated M. Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2649554/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/midnight-special/review/

 

Free state of Jones

Directed by Gary Ross. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Brendan Gleeson. Based on the life of Southern farmer Newton Knight, who, after surviving an American Civil War battle, led a group of farmers and slaves in an armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Mississippi. He later married a former slave and established a unique mixed community in the south which seceded from the Confederacy – the Free State of Jones. Opens June.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1124037/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-free-state-jones-180958111/?no-ist

 

Alice through the looking glass

Directed by James Bobin and produced by Tim Burton; sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, the voices of Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Time (a part human, part clock creature). After travelling for 3 years, Alice returns to Underland via a magical looking glass and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Rated PG. Opens May.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2567026/

 

The BFG

Fantasy adventure directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl. Stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rafe Spall. Sophie befriends the Big Friendly Giant who is treated as an outcast by other giants because he refuses to eat children. Trailer looks amazing! Opens July.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3691740/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/steven-spielberg-shows-off-giant-country-in-full-trailer-for-the-bfg-20160406-gnzm98.html

 

Finding Dory

Sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Written and directed again by Andrew Stanton. Stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brookes. After suddenly recalling her childhood memories, Dory sets out with Nemo and Marlin to find her family in the ocean near California. The film’s ending was revised after executives viewed Blackfish (orcas in captivity) and characters now have an option to leave a marine park. Nemo is now voiced by a younger actor than the original. Opens June.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277860/

 

The legend of Tarzan

Directed by David Yates. Stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson. After living in London, Tarzan returns to his jungle home to investigate activities at a mining camp. Rated PG-13. Opens July.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918940/

 

Kubo and the two strings

Animated fantasy action-comedy. Directed by Travis Knight. Stars Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara. In ancient Japan, a spirit from the past ignites an old vendetta. Gods and monsters chase young Kubo, who must locate a magical suit of armour once worn by his legendary Samurai father. Opens August.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4302938/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/10/11195104/kubo-and-the-two-strings-trailer-watch-laika

 

And there’s also Captain America: Civil war and X-Men: Apocalypse. And that means battle scenes. Lots of them. Early reviews of X-Men say that it has reverted to too much CGI destruction and loss of life, rather than developing the humanity of the superheroes. Disappointing, as there is a great cast – James McEvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Lawrence. Captain America: Civil War has received great reviews, as the superheroes question their powers and the collateral damage they have caused. And if you haven’t seen Deadpool….you must…hilarious…but forget about Batman vs Superman.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/11/11653190/x-men-apocalypse-review-marvel-fox

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/05/captain-america-civil-war-is-marvel-at-its-best/481539/

Good films

 

Some good films….useful for biography, global studies, music….

 

The man who knew infinity

Biographical drama based on the book by Robert Kanigel. Directed by Matthew Brown. Stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. Srinovasa Ramanujan, a young man from Madras with almost no formal mathematical training, earns attendance at Cambridge University during WW1, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor. “Mathematics plays a key role in the story, but in a way that is entirely accessible, allowing the viewer to comprehend the advances that Ramanujan made and why his legacy remains so important almost a century after his death.” (Allan Hunter). In cinemas now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/the-man-who-knew-infinity/review/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-man-who-knew-infinity-review-melodrama-doesnt-do-justice-to-mathematicians-life-story-20160504-golpxn.html

 

Eddie the Eagle

Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. The story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British ski jumper who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Although he finished last in his events, he became famous for his perseverance and as an “heroic failure”. He was also totally self-funded and needed to wear thick glasses under his goggles. Hugh Jackman plays his fictional coach. Eddie the Eagle was actually a good downhill skier, narrowly missing selection for the 1984 Games – he changed to ski jumping to better his chances at selection in 1988. Rated PG – a great feel-good movie. In cinemas now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1083452/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_%22The_Eagle%22_Edwards

 

Where to invade next

Documentary by Michael Moore, who explores  how countries such as Finland, Tunisia, Italy, France and Portugal deal with social and economic challenges – usually very differently to and more successfully than the US. Moore plans to “steal” these good ideas and bring them back to the US. In cinemas now.

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/where-to-invade-next-20160211

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/where-to-invade-next-2015

 

Wide open sky

Directed by Lisa Nicol. The inspiring story of a group of children in the remote outback of NSW who follow their dream to sing in the Moorambilla Voices choir under the leadership of Michelle, a choir director with high expectations. Set in a beautiful landscape, the film explores how the children learn about themselves and their talents and also shows the exceptional teaching of Michelle. Winner Audience Award Best Documentary, Sydney Film Festival. Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085484/

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=21586&s=Reviews

 

The jungle book

Live-action CGI film directed by Jon Favreau, inspired by Disney’s animated film based on Kipling’s stories. Mowgli sets out on a  journey of self-discovery while evading the tiger Shere Khan. Features the voices of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. The story is a balance between the Disney version and Kipling’s works. The film is not a musical but includes several songs from Disney eg. The bare necessities. Critics’ consensus at Rotten Tomatoes: “As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch…it is the rare remake that actually improves its predecessors”.

“An unusual blend of lifelike imagery and otherworldly animal action. The visuals are compelling, as is the story. Kudos to director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)” (R. Roten). In cinemas now.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_jungle_book_2016/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle_Book_(2016_film)

 

Snowden

Biographical political thriller directed by Oliver Stone, based on the books The Snowden files by Luke Harding and Time of the octopus by Anatoly Kucherena (Snowden’s Russian lawyer). Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Follows the life of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous global surveillance programs and invasion of privacy. Some see Snowden as a hero, others as a traitor. Stone met with Snowden multiple times in Moscow and made the film outside of the US. Opens late 2016.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/snowden-trailer-joseph-gordon-levitt-oliver-stone-20160427

 

The happiest refugee

The bestselling autobiography by Anh Do will be made into a film to be directed by Russell Crowe. Crowe is a big fan of the book, which tells the story of Do’s family coming to Australia as Vietnamese refugees.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/confidential/russell-crowe-to-turn-anh-dos-book-the-happiest-refugee-into-a-film/news-story/ce826e28e0ff6a0d8fa0dd64ba30f38b

ICT, robots and binge-watching

Are we being too quick to embrace technology in education?

Neil Selwyn: “Many recently developed forms of education seem to benefit those who are already well-resourced and well-educated. The participation and completion rates of many MOOCs tend to be skewed towards college-educated, high-income young males… Emerging technologies have much to offer but there will be consequences – what forms of education do we really want?” Excellent discussion by Brett Clarke in the Comments: Governments have poured too much money into devices and student-computer ratios instead of investing money into the professional development of school leaders and teachers. Teachers need skills in pedagogical practice and creating learning environments that are enhanced by technology.

Listen to the program: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/are-we-being-too-quick-to-embrace-technology-in-education/7211366

 

Australia will have to face the consequences of its education gap

According to the Fairfax-Lateral Economics Wellbeing Index, each degree or higher trade qualification is worth almost $1 million in wellbeing for the community. Employment in high-skill industries has grown more quickly – low-skill workers face growing competition from new migrants, offshoring and even robots. The growing educational-cultural divide will cause problems – the best predictor of support for Trump has been the absence of a college degree.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australia-will-have-to-face-the-consequences-of-its-education-gap-20160405-gnyrq6.html

 

Can handwriting make you smarter?

Researchers at Princeton and UCLA found that students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes – and more type. Those who write their notes appear to learn better, retain information longer and grasp new ideas more readily. Handwriting encodes the information more deeply in memory – longhand notes were more organised and students thought more about what they were going to write. Students who type can take more notes but they are verbatim and this seems to undermine learning – they forget what they have typed after 24 hours.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

 

Lower case for internet and web!

The 2016 Stylebook of Associated Press (AP) will advise that from 1 June “internet” and “web” should be in lower case and no longer capitalised. Some people aren’t happy…they like Internet! Thanks AP – in 2010 they ruled “web site” would become “website” and in 2011, “e-mail” became “email”.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/146708/20160404/the-ap-stylebook-will-lowercase-internet-starting-june-1-and-the-web-reacts.htm

 

Google: don’t be evil?

Google is one of the US’s largest providers of edtech in K-12 schools. However, Google does track student data – but not to target them for advertising or to get personal details. It tracks students signed into Google Apps for Education when they use Search, YouTube, Blogger and Maps and uses the data “to develop and improve Google products” (Sue Molinari, a Google VP).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/02/16/google-says-it-tracks-personal-student-data-but-not-for-advertising/

 

Robot tutors

The L2TOR Project (pronounced el-tutor) uses social robot tutors in 4 European cities in the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey to help immigrant pre-schoolers learn the local language. The project is run by linguists and roboticists from European universities. Students work through a course under the watchful eye of a NAO robot. The robot explains learning intentions before the lesson, observes body language during the lesson and assists with problems. Researchers have found that social robots have marked benefits over screen-based tutoring and positive impacts on motivation.

http://www.l2tor.eu/

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/robot-teaching-machines-language-learning-l2tor/426639/

 

Amazon Inspire

Amazon Education is working on a new free platform that allows schools to upload, curate, share and discover open education resources (OER). Users can self-publish resources and add ratings and reviews. Metadata tags will be assigned to the resources via learning Registry. Schools could upload their entire digital library if it was open and freely available. Scheduled for release in mid 2016.

https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/amazon-education-to-launch-new-website-for-open-ed-resources/

 

Ahh holidays…and binge-watching

It was Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2015….but it’s not all good. The University of Texas found a strong connection between binge-watching, being depressed and lonely and having a self-regulation deficiency. A team from Zurich noted that binge-watchers want more material things and feel more anxious about life. The American Medical Association examined 25 years of research and found that people who watch a lot of TV have a weaker brain function. So binge if you must but beware!

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129094341.htm?

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/is-netflix-really-making-you-sad-who-knows-but-lets-report-that-anyway-20160331-gnv7o9.html

http://asianjournal.com/news/study-binge-watching-tv-as-a-young-adult-could-lead-to-decline-in-brain-function/