Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to contribute to building a reconciled Australia. It is held between two significant milestones in Australia’s history, May 27 (1967 Referendum) and June 3 (Mabo Day). Reconciliation involves building positive, respectful relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the benefit of all Australians.


Information and key dates in Reconciliation:…Reconciliation.pdf

Latest news:

  • Noel Pearson’s argument in favour of constitutional change, recognition of indigenous peoples and the removal of racial discrimination from the Constitution.
  • Maiden speech of Senator Nova Peris – first Aboriginal woman in the Australian Parliament.
  • Reconciliation messages – including Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, Meshel Laurie, Troy Cassar-Daley & Fred Chaney.

Resources and fact sheets:

Video –Reconciliation is for all of us  (2:5 min.):


Sing Loud! song competition

Learn and perform one of the 3 reconciliation songs in the playlist below – or perform your own original reconciliation song. Upload your performance to the Sing!Loud website. $1000 prize each for the best original song and best cover song – judged by Delta Goodrem and Gurrumul. Competition closes 8 June.

Details and videos of songs already submitted:

Delta, Gurrumul & the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Bayini on The Voice 2013….beautiful:


Recognise (part of Reconciliation Australia)

The people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution – “We want to see fairness and respect at the heart of our Constitution, and to remove discrimination from it. Our goal is a more united nation. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together – after so many chapters apart.”

School Learning Guide (Years 10-12) – Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution:


Share our pride (part of Reconciliation Aust.)

Information about the First Australians; Culture; Shared history; Beyond the myths; Respectful relationships; Famous indigenous Australians; Books; Films.


NAIDOC Week 6 – 13 July: Serving country – centenary and beyond

The theme honours all ATSI men and women who have fought in defence of country – from the warriors in the Frontier Wars to those who have served in Australia’s military engagements around the world.


With the dreaded increases to university fees put forward in the budget, maybe now is the time to enrol in a free MOOC…

Massive Open Online Courses: 10 million enrolments globally

ANU, UNSW, Monash, Melbourne University, RMIT & University of Queensland all offer MOOCs, as well as many overseas universities.

University of Melbourne (via Coursera)

13 May: In just over 12 months, over 500,000 students from across the globe have enrolled in 11 MOOCs – “an exhilarating experience” (VC Glyn Davis). Upcoming MOOCs include: Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (30 June); French Revolution (7 July):

Australian National University (via edX)

Engaging India: the world’s first Hindi-English MOOC

This 10 week course started 29 April with over 10 000 enrolments. Presented by Dr McComas Taylor and other experts – a rich overview of contemporary India. Videos and readings will be available in Hindi and English.

Upcoming MOOC: Exoplanets – presented by Prof. Brian Schmidt, 2011 Nobel prize winner (24 June; 10 wks). Prof. Schmidt also presented Greatest unsolved mysteries of the universe (started 25 March).


ANU is the first Australian university to join edX, which was set up in 2012 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University as a non-profit organisation (unlike other providers such as Coursera and FutureLearn). The platform and source code for edX courses are freely available. Google was developing its own education platform called Course Builder, but has now decided to use the edX platform. In February 2014, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would use edX for SocialEDU, the online educational system it is providing for Rwanda. Nokia will provide affordable smartphones, Airtel will provide free data to students (1 year); the government will provide free wifi to unis.


Benefits of MOOCs

Anant Agarwal, edX CEO,  talks about the transformative power of MOOCs and how they are set to democratise education (2 min. video):


Completion rates of MOOCs?

Could be as low as 4 or 5%….but you could learn a lot even if you don’t formally complete!


MOOC List – MOOC aggregator:

MOOCs Directory:

50 top sources of free eLearning courses:

Coursera – largest provider; 80 top unis (Stanford, Yale, Columbia):

edX – Harvard, MIT, Berkley, ANU, Uni of Qld etc:

FutureLearn – UK unis, Monash Uni, British Museum, British Library:

Udacity – IT and computer science (some have a charge):!/all

MOOEC (Massive Open Online English Course) – Aust. site, supported by Qld Govt; teaches English language at all levels:

Vsauce and Veritasium – science coolness

The inaugural YouTube FanFest is on in Sydney on 31 May. It includes comedic bloggers Jenna Marbles and Ryan Higa, beauty experts Bethany Mota and Chloe Morello and science sensations Vsauce and Veritasium (see below).

Vsauce: our world is amazing

Vsauce comprises a number of YouTube channels created by Michael Stevens. The channels produce videos about scientific topics,  technology, culture, gaming and topics of general interest. The main Vsauce channel is hosted by Michael Stevens and presents philosophical and scientific questions about humans and the universe.

Topics include: Is anything real? Will we ever run out of new music ? What if everyone jumped at once? How big can a human get? Should you eat yourself? What colour is a mirror? Why do we clap? What is the greatest honour? Where do deleted files go? How many photos have been taken? We are all related. And even – A defence of Comic Sans 🙂

Stevens has stated he researches academic papers and Wikipedia to find information for his videos. Vsauce won a 2014 Webby People’s Voice Award for Best News and Information. Stevens loves playlists – he even states that “curation is the future”!


All the Vsauce videos:


Vsauce2: people are amazing

Unusual knowledge and technology, inventions, BiDiPi (Build it, Draw it, Play it – maker culture) creations, riddles….


Vsauce3: fictional worlds are amazing

Includes video games, interesting websites, new apps…


Wesauce: the best videos from the Vsauce community



Educational YouTube science channel created by Derek Muller in 2011. Videos include science experiments & cool demos, dramatisations, interviews with experts, songs and discussions with people to uncover misconceptions about science. Try these:

Will this go faster than light?:

Can silence actually drive you crazy?

World’s roundest object:

All the videos:

Look up (and put your gadgets down)

Look up

You might have seen this  video doing the rounds recently….over 19 million YouTube views since 25 April…..good for class discussion. Writer and director Gary Turk produced his 5 minute “spoken word film for an online generation”, highlighting the social isolation resulting from constant online connectivity. Turk says “Look Up is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone”.  

Yes…ironic that a film about putting down your gadgets goes viral….and it might be a bit sentimental but it’s sweet. Think about what you’re missing out on….look up.

Are you addicted to your smartphone?

Webby Award winners – the best of the web

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

The 18th Annual Webby Awards
The Oscars of the online world have now been announced – chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Categories include web, online film & video, interactive advertising & media, mobile & apps and social. A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Lawrence Lessig, co-founder of Creative Commons and staunch advocate of the open, collaborative web.
All the winners & nominees:

Winners include:
Education: Coursera
Health: WebMD
Science: Nautilus
Cultural institutions: The Second World War in 100 objects
Social media: Vine (create and share beautiful looping videos)
Social media campaign: The Melbourne remote control tourist (yay Australia!)
Public service and activism: The internet must go (John Wooley)
Experimental and innovation: D-Day: as it happens
Art: Artsy
Travel: Airbnb
Best online commercial: The epic split (Jean-Claude van Damme and the Volvo trucks)
Best use of video: The Serengeti lion (National Geographic)
Best photography and graphics: GoPro
Best use of photography: Graffiti General
Best use of animation: The art of noise
Best user experience: Medium (everyone’s stories and ideas)
Reality: Google+ same sex marriage

Wow….gazillions of resources on the interwebs….and we’ve had access for maybe 18 or so years in schools. Remember the days before the web…where to next?