Film and TV news

Some great shows coming up on ABC:
Whitlam: the power & the passion – Documentary; 26 May & 2 June 7.30pm.
Cliffy – 26 May 8.30pm. Stars Kevin Harrington as Cliff Young the potato farmer who won the Sydney to Melbourne ultramarathon in 1983.
Paper giants: magazine wars – 2 June & 9 June. Stars Rachel Griffiths as Dulcie Boling, editor of New Idea magazine, and Mandy McElhinney as Nene King, editor of Woman’s Day. The rival Murdoch & Packer empires battle it out for magazine supremacy in the 80s & 90s. The soundtrack will be great!

Q & A with Bill Gates
A very interesting Q & A this week from the Sydney Writer’s Festival…and next week a special Q & A with Bill Gates (ABC Tues 8.30pm). Bill Gates, once again the world’s richest man, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will answer questions from an audience at the University of NSW, with discussion on investment in global health & development. Gates is “a true global leader and champion for the betterment of society by tackling global health issues” – David Gonski. Gates will also meet with Julia Gillard for discussions on overseas aid.
The primary aims of the Gates Foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation (Bloomberg report).

The great Gatsby opens in Aust. 30 May
The reviews might be mixed but the international audiences are loving it – Gatsby is currently top at the international box office. Go Baz!
Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack! “… this musical roller coaster mixes electronica, hip-hop and rock with jazz-age sounds into a breathy, sexy, dangerous, electric result.” — The Washington Post
The album was produced by Baz Luhrmann and features original new music from artists that span several genres, including Florence + the Machine, The xx, Gotye, Sia, Jack White, U2, Beyoncé,, Fergie, and Jay Z. Lana Del Rey’s Young & beautiful is a musical motif repeated throughout the film. Bryan Ferry & his orchestra do Love is the drug 1920s style….go Bryan!
Great interview with Baz by Leigh Sales (8 min.). Luhrmann reflects on the critics, risk-taking, how Australia treats celebrities, and the temptation to simply retire.
Looking forward to the stage musical of Baz’s Strictly Ballroom which will launch in 2014!

Blue Man Group
This innovative, entertaining performance troupe will do shows in Sydney in August. The 3 blue men explore our world with a sense of wonder. There’s comedy, experimental music, great percussion & multimedia – but no singing or talking. The show is just awesome and would be great for students from upper primary to senior high – including drama, dance & music students. Themes include science & technology, art, connection to others, information overload, innocence, the outsider, following your bliss. I saw this show in Vegas and loved it and I’m going again!

Redfern now: series 2
The acclaimed first series won the Most outstanding drama award at the Logies. Series 2 will star Ernie Dingo, Aaron Pedersen, Steve Bisley & Craig McLachlan. Some season 1 characters will return – including Wayne Blair, Deborah Mailman, Leah Purcell. The 6 episodes will again feature “powerful, heartbreaking & uplifting stories”. Filming has just begun.

Man of steel
A reboot of the Superman series. The film reveals a darker, troubled Clark Kent, who feels alienated because of his special powers and struggles to find his place in life. Directed by Zac Snyder; stars Henry Cavill. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El, Superman’s biological father and a leading scientist on planet Krypton before its destruction. Trailers and SFX look impressive! Opens 27 June.

A new film adaptation is being made, starring Michael Fassbender as Macbeth and Natalie Portman as Lady Macbeth. Australia’s Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) will direct. The film will be set in the 11th century and use Shakespearean language. It will have significant battle scenes. The role of damn Spot is yet to be announced.

The mortal instruments: city of bones
Based on the bestselling young adult urban fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare. Directed by Harald Zwart. Stars Lily Collins (son of Phil) as Clary Fray – the chosen one who battles evil forces in the New York underworld in order to save her mother. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the evil Destroyer. The second film will be City of ashes. The franchise could be as popular as The Hunger Games & Twilight films. Opens 22 August.

And if you haven’t seen Robert Downey Jr and his ironic Iron Man 3 yet…go see it! Good script, big SFX, we see Iron Man struggle with anxiety. And Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin and Guy Pearce as the baddie. As good as The Avengers : ) Very entertaining!

BYOD, Google & the NBN

Whether it’s BYOD or BYOT or just BYOS (stuff), more schools are enabling students to connect to their wifi networks with their own devices. We have noticed a big increase in the last year and we endeavour to connect any device brought in by a student. Students use a short printed guide to connect PC laptops and the IT officer connects Mac laptops & Android phones. In the library, teacher librarians connect iDevices. It all seems to be going well, judging by what we can see when we look around the library – a great variety of devices successfully working, helping students with their ICT needs and hopefully supporting their learning! We will assess the need for more wifi points as needed (and more powerpoints for recharging). Students still like to borrow the 25 library netbooks so they can sit where they want in the library and we also have desktops.
An interesting article on BYOD at The Southport School, Qld. More money has been put into infrastructure to support BYOD. MacBooks & iPads are the most popular.
In a recent study of several schools now connected to the NBN, it has proved to be very worthwhile. A 3 month study of 60 teachers at PLC Armidale (NSW) and Willunga HS (S.A.) found that 82% of teachers said student learning experiences would be increased. 96% said the NBN will allow students to achieve more and increase teachers’ PD & learning. At Willunga HS, C-grade students were now getting A-grades and there was better learning for special needs students. PLC  said the school was moving to a more autonomous learning style. “Online collaborative learning supported by fast, ubiquitous broadband is motivating children to become even more engaged & successful in the subjects they learn”. – R. Olsen.
(Maiolo, A. 2013, ‘NBN shows its worth’, Education Review, issue 1.)

In a project involving ABC Splash, AARNet & the NBN, primary students filmed their own local news stories about sustainability, which were broadcast live at ACMI in Melbourne.

A tale of 2 NBNs – Fibre to the Home (expensive & lengthy to set up but fast & less maintenance) or Fibre to the Node (cheaper & quicker to set up but more maintenance, still uses copper wiring and not as fast):

Google I/O Developer Conference
Held in San Francisco this week….I/O means input/output….yeah I googled it  Google users now get a combined 15GB of free storage for Google Drive, Gmail & Google+. New developments at Google include:
Google Maps: Bigger & clearer labels (like Apple Maps); 3D buildings included (previously only in Google Earth – they appear to be combining Earth & Maps products); more personalized info in maps; zoom out & see the Earth in space in real time; compare transportation modes; see multiple routes at the same time.
Google conversational voice search: “OK Google…when does my flight leave?”. Google responds with voice & also gives text search results.
Education: New services on Android tablet platform to rival the success of the iPad in schools.
Payments via Gmail: Users will be able to send money to other users by clicking on a $ sign in Gmail.
Google Play Music All Access: Very clunky name. Google’s new music streaming service – millions of songs for $10/month; create your playlists of artist, songs or genre. Not in Aust. yet.
Plus there are lots of photo tool improvements in Google+, such as automatic photo enhancement.
What’s new & when we Australia will see it:
7 new things from Google:

How Google gets all that Street View data for Google Maps
Fascinating photos of the devices used by Google – from the Street View car to the snowmobile!

Wikispaces Classroom and Google Glass

Wikispaces Classroom
Many schools have learning management systems & social learning platforms – both commercial and free. Edmodo has proved popular at our school, due to its ease of use (often thought of as “Facebook for schools”). Some teachers use it ahead of the departmentally supplied LMS.
Wikispaces recently announced its new free platform for education: Wikispaces Classroom.
“Wikispaces Classroom is a social writing platform for education. We make it incredibly easy to create a classroom workspace where you and your students can communicate and work on writing projects alone or in teams. Rich assessment tools give you the power to measure student contribution and engagement in real-time. Wikispaces Classroom works great on modern browsers, tablets, and phones”. It also incorporates a social news feed feature so that teachers and students can see what is happening in the learning space.
See examples:
How to – videos:

Google Glass
Lots of tech people have recently trialled Google Glass, which won’t be generally available till next year. Apps (which must be free with no ads) are currently being developed by various companies to make Google Glass an intriguing & useful item of wearable technology.

Google Glass eyewear is a small glass screen above the right eye and a right arm that contains a trackpad that you can tap. It has 16GB of storage, Bluetooth & a 5MB camera. Bone audio technology allows the wearer to hear audio with no headphones (soundwaves go through cheekbones into the inner ear). You can give voice commands eg. “OK, Glass, take a picture” or use the trackpad. You can view emails etc in front of your eyes on the screen or ask for directions. You wake the glasses up by tilting your head upwards. Apparently the screen doesn’t obscure the line of vision. But there are privacy issues – people may not know they are being filmed or spied on! Cost $1500 – that will reduce. Don’t get ready to barcode a class set for the library just yet 

Excellent 3 min. video:
Physics teacher uses Google Glass to take his online students on a virtual excursion to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland:

YouTube to launch paid subscription channels
Free-to-air TV and the main channels are certainly facing more competition each year from online video sources & IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), both free & subscription. Netflix will probably be here within 2 years. YouTube will soon offer some paid premium content – users will be able to subscribe to 50 exclusive channels that will have TV shows & films.
YouTube vs TV? The battle is already over
YouTube: 1 billion unique visitors each month. YouTube means more engagement than TV – it is the future.

10 top time-saving tech tips
10 simple tips for computer, web, smartphone and camera users.

Webby Awards announced

Some good resources for media, art, photography, graphic design, popular culture, business studies, social sciences….

The 17th annual Webby Awards
The Oscars of the online world were announced on Tuesday. Awards are chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Categories include web, online film & video, interactive advertising & media, mobile & apps and social. Look through previous winners, back to 1997, and see how the online world has changed!

Dumb ways to die
An Aussie success – catchy, quirky, amiable animated characters – with an important message. Melbourne’s Metro Trains’ rail safety public service campaign has won 7 Webby Awards, including –  Best Viral Online Film & Video (over 45 million YouTube views); Best Animation Film & Video; Best Viral Marketing Interactive Advertising & Media; Best Public Service & Activism (Social Content & Marketing). HEAPS of online parodies. Karaoke version also available.
Original video:

Some Webby winners….and there are LOTS more..….
Special Achievement: Jerry Seinfeld, including his 10 episode web series Comedians in cars getting coffee – Seinfeld hanging out with his comedian friends.
Activism: – the world’s petition platform.
Best Practices: TEDEd: lessons worth sharing.
Best Use of Photography: Humans of New York.
Education: TEDEd.
Games: Angry Birds Star Wars.
Green: TERRA: the nature of our world.
Health: WebMD.
Movie & Film: Hunger Games: Capitol tour.
Music: VEVO.
Web Services: Dropbox.
Weird: One tiny hand.
Technology: The Engadget Show.
Variety: TED.
Augmented Reality: Band-Aid Magic Vision….wow…cool Band-Aids!
Online commercials: Hashtag Killer (aims to eradicate the #FirstWorldProblems meme).
Experimental & Innovation: The Silent History: a new kind of novel.