Happy Book Week 22-28 August!

Theme: Books Light Up Our World

Book Week winners (includes Older Readers category):  http://cbca.org.au/winners-2015.htm

Shortlist and notables: http://cbca.org.au/awards.htm

Here at Dickson College Library we are celebrating with trivia questions each day with prizes for the first correct answers – literature, films, quotes, science, geography, history, music etc. To tie in with the theme Books light up our world, students can also identify literature quotes from books and write the titles of their favourite and least favourite books – the “light” and “dark” side of reading.


CharacTOUR: find characters you love

Launched 4 August, this fun online database is devoted to fictional characters from movies, TV shows, books and video games. CharacTOUR helps people make reading and viewing choices based on characters, rather than just titles and genres. Each character gets their own profile page – currently there are 4 500 spoiler-free profiles about characters’ origins, interests, skills and journeys. Viewers can take personalised match quizzes; create character mash-ups; browse by genre, plot, era, quotes etc;  find similar characters (If you like ….you may like ….) and vote for favourites. Interesting for classes – more for high school. The content is well written and informative but there is space for user comments….and we all know how that can end up.



Dymocks Top 101 2015

As voted by readers. 1. The book thief 2. Pride and prejudice 3. To kill a mockingbird 4. Magician 5. Lord of the rings 6. The fault in our stars 7. The hobbit 8. Jane Eyre 9. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland 10. Harry Potter series. Lots of other good reading suggestions.



Little Free Library

“Take a book. Leave a book”. Free books housed in small containers in local communities – over 15 000 worldwide in 40 countries. Also known as pop-up libraries and community book exchanges.


In Canberra: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-03/little-free-library/6277200


Books on screen

An interesting list of over 100 titles…and the book is always better than the movie J


These books would make great movies: http://www.bookdepository.com/books-that-would-make-a-great-movie


50 literary quotes

“Not all those who wander are lost” – Tolkien. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be” – J.K.Rowling.



50 most inspiring quotes about books and reading

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand” – Neil Gaiman. “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book” – Josh Jameson.



50 coolest book covers



“Weapons of Mass Instruction”

Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff drives around cities and rural areas in a car/tank armed with 900 books, giving away free books to liberate people from illiteracy.



Why are children reading books?

Sales of children’s books are increasing – printed books are special.


National Science Week, makerspaces and coding

Since it’s National Science Week 15-23 August, have a look at the RiAus website – “Australia’s national science channel, promoting public awareness and understanding of science”. Always something interesting and “accessible for all Australians”. Includes videos, articles, links, blog, In Class livestreaming sessions (eg. astronaut Chris Hadfield and Prof. Brian Cox), science/art  exhibitions.  Includes free guides to uni courses and careers – Ultimate science guide and Ultimate engineering guide.


A week in science – short video newsfeed each week. Great stuff eg. The secret life of apples; Science fiction prediction; Waking up before your alarm: http://riaus.org.au/series/week-in-science/

Blog: http://riaus.org.au/articles/type/blog/


Webby Awards 2015 – Science

Winner: If the moon were only 1 pixel: a tediously accurate scale model of the solar system.

People’s Voice: BBC Earth. Shortlist: Global climate change: vital signs of the planet; WIRED Science; Interactive history on the origins of HIV.



Top 15 most popular science websites (Aug 2015)

Based on Alexa Global Traffic Rank. 1. HowStuffWorks 2. NASA 3. Discovery 4. LiveScience 5. ScienceDaily 6. ScienceDirect 7. Space 8. Scientific American 9. Nature 10. PopSci



Makerspace ideas


Orbotix Ollie – racing, spinning and flipping robot controlled from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch – $150 http://www.sphero.com/ollie/


Orbotix Sphero – robotic ball controlled from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch – $200 http://www.sphero.com/sphero-sprk/


Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider – ultra compact drone controlled from a smartphone – $150 http://www.parrot.com/au/products/rolling-spider/


Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo – a responsive bot which jumps, rolls, zig-zags, circles and takes turns at 90° – $240. Parrot have a new range of camera-enabled mini-drones coming soon.



Lego robotics – object oriented programming – $500 per kit




Raspberry Pi – mini programmable computer board – $60  http://raspberry.piaustralia.com.au/


Makerspaces and coding in schools

3 interesting articles from the current edition of principals’ journal Education Today:


“Lauriston FabLab is transformative” 2015, Education Today, Term 3.

*Established one of the first FabLabs in Australia in 2014

*FabLab@School program from Stanford University – focus on transformative learning

*Many cross-curricular opportunities – house design; model of an eye, art, history

*3D printer, 3D mill, laser cutter, programming and more traditional tools

*Skills of problem-solving, self direction and collaboration – very relevant to workplace skills




“ScopeIT education” 2015, Education Today, Term 3.

*Scope IT Education – provides courses, instructors, lesson plans, assessment, Macbooks, equipment, internet, weekly 40 min. lessons for 10 weeks (NSW Stages 1-3 – primary school)

*Teaches coding (Scratch, WordPress, HTML, Javascript, Python, iOS apps), 3D printing, electronics, robotics, digital citizenship

*Entered into partnership with Aust. Primary Principals Association



“Coding in schools building up a head of steam” 2015, Education Today, Term 3.

  • Importance of coding as a component of STEAM teaching– Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths
  • #WeSpeakCode Microsoft conference at UTS in Sydney in May 2015 – 7000 students had to create a flappy bird game
  • Microsoft Asia Pacific study – only 32% of Australian students had an opportunity to learn coding in school (lowest figure for all countries surveyed)
  • Two-thirds of Australian students said they wanted to know more about coding
  • By 2022 a deficit of 12-15 million jobs in STEM fields
  • Kodu – games programming for kids; free download http://kodu.en.softonic.com/
  • Blockley – by Google; educational games that teach programming  https://blockly-games.appspot.com/
  • Grok Learning – coding courses (and competitions) for high school students  https://groklearning.com/
  • Code.org – many courses for different ages and levels https://code.org/


What’s new in ICT, education and popular culture?

Here is the link to my Moderation Day presentation on 13 August to Year 11 and 12 teacher librarians in Canberra, ACT.

What’s new in ICT, education and popular culture?