ICT news

Digital Australia Report 2016 (DA16)

The video game industry in Australia is worth over $1 billion a year and sales exceed movie box office receipts. The Australian games industry is growing and video games are being used widely in education, health and ageing. Bond University and IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Assoc.) surveyed 3398 Australians of all ages. 68% of the population plays video games – mostly on PCs but phones and tablets have seen increased use for adults. Children play on all devices. Average age of video gamers is 33 years. 47% of video game players are female. 98% of homes with children have video games. 35% of children have played games for the school curriculum. 24% have used video games at work for training. 89% say video gaming can improve thinking skills. 61% think video games could fight dementia. 49% of people over 50 play – the fastest growing segment.



PlayStation Virtual Reality headset

PlayStation VR, Sony’s virtual reality headset  for the PlayStation 4, will arrive in October 2016 for $AU550. Attached to a comfortable padded headset, special curved lenses stretch and magnify a 5.7 inch screen across your field of vision. It will come with 50 games, immersing you in a 3D world of virtual reality. You will also need a PlayStation camera and motion controllers (wands). It will be cheaper than the other 2 VR headsets coming this year – Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.


Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality were huge this year at TED in Vancouver and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with VR headsets now available with the latest mobile phones. Mark Zuckerberg: “VR is the next platform, where anyone can experience and share anything they want”.




Minecraft Education Edition

Minecraft (owned by Microsoft) is used in over 7000 classrooms in more than 40 countries. Microsoft recently acquired learning game MinecraftEdu from Finland, which has lessons for teachers using Minecraft with STEM, history, language and art. The new Minecraft Education Edition will be rolled out mid 2016 – free at first, then $5 pa per child.



Do games boost learning?

A 2013 French study of 27 000 Year 9 students found very little correlation between playing video games and cognitive/school tests. However, a new study from the Uni of Bristol found that progressive scoring systems in games deactivate the brain’s Default Mode Network and quieten down parts of the brain associated with unfocused mind-wandering. Students given a gamified quiz showed higher engagement and more goal-directed behaviour.



Problem: Australia’s internet/broadband speed

In 2015, our download speed was ranked 49th in the world . By 2025, our broadband speed will be 75% of the world average, ranking 100th. The government’s Fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network will struggle to accommodate all devices and their download requirements in the future (eg. 4K ultra HD video streaming).



Social media and sleep

No surprise really…recent Uni of Pittsburgh studies of 19-32 yr olds found heavy use of social media was linked to sleep problems and a significantly greater risk of depression. A 2015 study of 11-17 yr olds found social media use was linked to diminished sleep quality, lower self-esteem and elevated levels of anxiety and depression.


Google Translate and Words of the Year

Google Translate: translating the entire internet

13 more languages were added on 17 Feb (Amharic, Corsican, Luxembourgish, Frisian, Scots Gaelic, Pashto…) – access for an extra 120 million people. 103 written languages are now covered – 99% of the total online population. Translations are improved over time by improving algorithms and systems and learning from translations via Translate Community (3 million people have contributed).




Free fun way to learn over 13 000 words effectively – suitable for Grade 5 onwards. A games approach personalises learning experiences, asking questions to increase vocabulary. The online dictionary used is very user-friendly and easy to understand. Vocabulary lists are easily created and can be shared. Educator Edition also available. Available on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.




Macquarie Dictionary Words of the Year 2015

Announced Jan/Feb and chosen from new entries in the annual update of the online dictionary. Word of the Year: captain’s call (People’s Choice and also the Committee’s choice). Runners-up – keyboard warrior and wombat gate. Category favourites – slipstream fiction, abandoned porn, deso, lumbersexual, hoverboard, fitspiration, digital tattoo, dox, fancruft, fur baby, grandcare, slackpacking, selfie drone. Most searched words online in 2015 – chuffed, wellbeing, practice, practise, firsthand, licence, healthcare, onboard, longstanding, frontline.





Other Words of the Year 2015


Global Language Monitor

These rankings are based on actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world (1.83 billion people). Words are analysed from the internet, blogs, the top 275 000 print and electronic global media and new social media sources.

Top word: microaggression. Phrase – migrant crisis. Name – Donald Trump. Other top words: climate changing, refugee, migrant, thug, trans, affluenza. Most understood word of the English language – OK. Number of words in the English language (1 Jan 2016 estimate): 1 035 877.



Collins Dictionary

Binge-watch. Other popular words: clean-eating, dadbod, ghosting, swipe, contactless, shaming, transgender.



American Dialect Society

Singular they (gender neutral pronoun). Other popular words: ammosexual, ZFG, yaass. Most notable emoji – face with heart eyes.


Yaass: excited affirmative statement – see Yaass cat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGUn-rOl_9s



Suffix -ism. Top words: socialism, fascism, racism, feminism.



Oxford University Press – (UK and US)

Face with tears of joy emoji.