Internet Trends Report and The Conversation US

The Conversation launches US service

The acclaimed Australian news analysis website The Conversation launched its US service last week – following the UK launch last year. “The 3 newsrooms will work as one, sharing content and ideas from 14 000 academics. Australian academics and institutions will benefit from the increased global audience and opportunity for collaboration” – and readers will have increased access to quality information on current topics.


Technology improves higher learning – it doesn’t kill it

Gavin Moodie (RMIT) believes that MOOCs are unlikely to “disrupt” universities any more than print books did in early universities. Rather – “informal, open and online learning will be absorbed within exisiting universities to augment and improve their practices”. Interesting info about libraries and how they were changed by print…early libraries were closed to undergraduates – at Cambridge they were fined for entering them in the early 17th century! In the 18th century books were so numerous that a pedagogical role emerged for libraries, helping students navigate texts.


Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2014

The tech analyst’s influential report comes out annually mid year. She notes the biggest trend is towards mobile devices with sensors that enable users to share a huge range of information. This big data  can in turn be used to solve problems and create new products, but privacy and other rights could be compromised.


Interesting insights:


* Internet users globally growing at less than 10% a year, but initiatives like Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s hope to increase this

* Mobile usage continues to grow strongly – 25% of all web usage

* 30% of all mobile users are now smartphone users

* Tablets are growing faster than PCs ever did

* Unbundling of web and mobile apps – users now want simple apps that do one thing well

* New smartphone sensors (eg. accelerometers, compasses, barometers, heart rate sensors, GPS etc) are fueling the Big Data Age; it is hard to analyse all this Big Data

* 34% of the digital universe is useful but only 7% is tagged

* Cybersecurity is getting harder

* Mobile interfaces are changing everything – transport (Uber), restaurants (Yelp), accommodation (Airbnb), music consumption (Spotify)

* Many developing countries leapfrogged the laptop/PC era and went straight to mobile

* Social networking is changing from broadcast to private sharing – rather than sharing a little with a lot of people, we are sharing a lot with a few close friends. Giant international messaging apps have risen (Snapchat, WhatsApp etc)

* Music streaming up, digital song sales down for the first time (files are a nuisance; streaming is easier)

* Huge interest in cryptocurrencies (eg. bitcoin)

* Photo sharing is huge – we also upload fitness, events and computer code

* Decreasing cost of digital storage

* 84% of mobile owners use devices while watching TV

* Viewers are ditching traditional TV for online video content

* TV channels growing fast as mobile apps

* YouTube channels have huge reach and growth; YouTube stars are the new movie stars

* Rise of BuzzFeed (top Facebook news publisher)

* New genre of video – “Spectator gaming” – watch others playing – Twitch is top video streaming site

* Top 5 internet properties are from the US – Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia – but majority of their users are from abroad

* Top public tech market leaders – Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tencent (China)

* China is becoming a tech superpower with many innovations eg. WeChat


Summary of slides (54 slides):

Full report (164 slides):

Review of the Australian Curriculum and Future schools


An interesting week with the Review coming out….

Recommendation 18: “With the exception of literacy, numeracy and ICT that continue as they currently are dealt with in the Australian Curriculum, the remaining four general capabilities are no longer treated in a cross–curricular fashion. Critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding should be embedded only in those subjects and areas of learning where relevant and where they can be dealt with in a comprehensive and detailed fashion”.

Full review:


“Axing” of the Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies Curriculum Foundation to Year 10

This week’s Review of the Australian Curriculum recommended that schools only introduce specific digital technology subjects from Year 9 onwards, or as an option for the states and territories. Many teachers thought the proposed curriculum was too difficult, especially in the early years – but members of Australia’s technology industry and other academics are dismayed by the decision, saying it will set Australia back internationally in the technology field and will affect the future economy. Jason Zagami from the Aust. Council for Computers in Education posted a response: .


However, the Government will spend $12 million improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) education in primary and secondary schools, including $3.5 million for computer coding education and $7.4 million for maths resources. A new Commonwealth Science Council will advise on science and technology issues, including Nobel Laureate Prof Brain Schmidt, Prof Ian Frazer and Catherine Livingstone.,govt-promises-12-million-for-stem-in-schools.aspx‘axing’-of-digital-tech-curriculum-causes-outrage


Avoiding obsolescence: 13 standards for a near-future school

Food for thought and interesting ideas from Terry Heick, founder of TeachThought (which always has interesting articles).…

In 2024 traditional classrooms and pedagogy will have changed quite radically and current models will be obsolete. “Teaching, as we have designed it, curriculum, as we have packaged it, and education as we have promised it absolutely, positively cannot be successful on the shoulders of a single classroom teacher”. Or even 10. Heick suggests 13 standards for a near-future school. These include:

* every classroom should be “published” through appropriate social platforms

* student access to a network of peers, mentors and global “friends”

* artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool  for students to create their own learning experience via their own “Siri”

* students should have endless choices

* self-directed learning, creativity, making, the humanities, emotion and citizenship transcend curriculum and catalyze learning

* all texts (literature, non fiction, social commentary, creative, informal etc) should be responsive – adjusting to a student’s literacy level & reading preferences

* search is dead; research is born – search engines will have been replaced by a hybrid of search, recommendation, crowd-sourcing and “resource prediction” (a personalized learning algorithm that predicts what resource or learning element will benefit the student)


More interesting suggestions from Heick….

Teaching Google natives to value information

10 strategies – not necessarily new ideas for TLs J