ICT news and ACARA: technologies

State of the web report by Mary Meeker (from Internet Trends D11 conference- 28 May 2013)
Each year Meeker analyses the web and makes a detailed report. Fascinating info includes: Facebook leads social media, but YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram are rising fast. Mobile traffic is growing sharply. Smartphone users reach for their phone 150 times per day. 17% of Australians say they share “everything” or “most things” online (world av. 24%). We are heading for a new computing cycle, following the rise of smartphones & tablets – wearable, drivable, flyable, scannable technology.
7 interesting graphs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/internet-facts_n_3361077.html
Full report (117 slides!):  http://au.businessinsider.com/mary-meekers-latest-masterful-presentation-on-the-state-of-the-web-2013-5#meeker-preso042-42
7 things you need to know about Apple iOS7
From this week’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Tim Cook says it’s the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone. Cleaner icons & fonts; true multitasking; new camera app with filtering; male or female Siri (Siri soon to be integrated into cars); autodownloads of App Store updates; iTunes radio.

Apple iTunes Radio
Announced this week and available later in the year in Aust. You can browse by popular tunes, by mood, feel or genre. Choose a  station or set up your own. Also works with Apple TV.

Music streaming services in Australia
Excellent overview of all the music streaming choices in Aust. – from free Pandora (awesome) to Spotify, JB Hi-Fi Now, Samsung Music Hub, Songl, Rdio and more. Using these services is just like tuning in to a radio station – but one that you can program by artist, genre or mood. With free Pandora, you may never need to buy songs again!

ACARA: technologies
Computer coding is a feature of the Draft Foundation to Year 10: Technologies curriculum. “The Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies draws together the distinct but related subjects of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies. It will ensure that all students benefit from learning about and working with traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which we live. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world, students will contribute to sustainable patterns of living for themselves and others.”

Why programming is the core skill of the 21st century
It’s never been easier, more accessible or more essential to learn coding skills.

Learn computerese as a second language

Online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in programming languages. Users get badges and scores for exercises.

Supports and promotes the learning of coding. Testimonials from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, Ashton Kutcher…

Yahoo, owner of Flickr, recently announced some updates. “Photos are now arranged in an attractive lattice design that is less cluttered with text and comments, and it has two killer features: photos can be stored as high-resolution images and are not cropped, and Flickr will offer one terabyte of free storage to every user: enough for more than 500,000 photos each, depending on resolution”.
 Adobe CS6 last version before cloud and pay per user
Goodbye to Creative Suite (Photoshop etc) – it is now Creative Cloud and will involve buying monthly subscriptions. Not sure how this will work in schools.

Apple Maps improves
Improvements have been added steadily with regular updates on iOS6. Apple Maps is nearly 5 times more data-efficient than Google Maps because it uses vector graphics, where no new data needs to be downloaded to zoom in on a map (1.3mb to download a Google map but only 300kb for an Apple map).

Gmail tabs
Gmail is the world’s most popular email service. Google is cutting the clutter from Gmail inboxes with a new design that incorporates tabs. Important emails will go in the Primary tab – other tabs could include Social (Facebook notifications etc), Promotions (ads), Updates (bills, confirmations etc), Forums (messages from online groups). The use of the tabs is optional and you can choose which ones you want.

SMH and The Age paywalls
From 2 July, Fairfax Media will introduce a paywall and digital subscriptions for these 2 papers. Online readers will be allowed 30 free articles using web or mobile, before being asked to pay for a subscription. For tablets, some sections will be free and others will be for paying readers. So in July, all major Aust. papers will be charging for web, mobile & app access. “Digital subscribers will also have access to new features including research tool Zoom, specialist eBook collection Shortbooks and rewards program, My Benefits”.

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: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/05/google-io-roundup-whats-new-and-when-australia-will-see-it/
7 new things from Google: http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-3513_7-10016856.html

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. http://www.edmodo.com/
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. http://www.wikispaces.com/content/classroom/about
See examples: http://blog.wikispaces.com/2013/04/announcing-wikispaces-classroom.html
How to – videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hS8iJYnFFE

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: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/google-glass-googles-wearable-gadget/story?id=19091948
Physics teacher uses Google Glass to take his online students on a virtual excursion to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRrdeFh5-io

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.

Google’s Knowledge Graph and cloud storage

18 May 2012
The secrets of the superbrands 3 part series (ABC1 Thurs 9.30pm) looks good. This week’s was on Technology.

Google’s Knowledge Graph
This is rolling out to Google.com from 16 May with various places getting it gradually.
Google is building a Knowledge Graph from all the searches that are sent to Google. It is a huge collection of people, places and things and how they are connected to one another. Watch the short video to see how Google is changing from an information engine to a knowledge engine. It will try to determine the exact result you require – the semantic web (eg. Mercury the planet, not the chemical element). When you search for a person, place or thing there will be a summary box to the right of your results with the most useful & interesting information for that topic, based on the questions other people have asked. It looks like it will help to clarify search results and make the results easier to review and explore.

Google Search Education
Google has revamped its search education pages. Includes search literacy lesson plans – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. Also has Live Trainings page with video tutorials about search literacy. You might not follow the lesson plans exactly as they are, but they could be good as a guide.

Cloud storage
Need more space to store your files? Keep losing your USB stick? There’s definitely a good reason why Apple didn’t put a USB port on the iPad – will we really need them in the future? Use these free services for storing your documents, music, photos etc

Google Drive – 5GB free storage
Google’s cloud storage system launched on 24 April and now has millions of users. You must sign in to your Google account. You can share your files publically. Extra storage: 25GB: $2.49/month; 100GB: $4.99/month.

Microsoft Skydrive – 7GB free storage
You can create Word docs, PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets and OneNote notebooks in the cloud with group editing and public sharing. Save an Office 2010 document in SkyDrive, and you can edit it online using Office Web Apps. You need a Windows Live ID. Use phone apps, iPad or web browser to access files.

Dropbox – 2GB free storage
Dropbox recently made sharing easier by adding a public link for every file. Use phone apps or PC & Macs to upload files.

iCloud – 5 GB free storage
iCloud syncs across iOS (iPhones, iPods, iPads) and Mac devices.

Sugarsync – 5GB free storage
For PCs/Macs and phone apps. Select the files that you want to synchronise across all devices and it will happen automatically when connected to the internet.

Compare storage services from Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive, Dropbox and Apple iCloud: