ICT news

Coding world record

On 20 July, more than 10,000 Australian kids set a new world record for the number of children coding simultaneously at the nationwide Moonhack event. Run by Code Club Australia, participants completed a series of online computer programming exercises related to science and astronomy. Founded in 2014, Code Club Australia has over 900 clubs.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/aussie-kids-set-new-coding-world-record/news-story/83825ec56170e8bcf45861f09afb08c4?utm_source=The%20Australian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

 

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app

At WWDC in June, Apple introduced the free Swift Playgrounds app that makes learning to code fun and easy for all. Designed for the iPad, the app encourages beginners to explore using Swift, the easy-to-learn programming language used by professional developers. Through lessons, students learn how to write code to guide onscreen characters through worlds, solving puzzles as they learn core coding concepts. Templates are included to help students create real programs that can be shared. Swift Playgrounds allows students to create an unlimited variety of interactive programs. Extra challenges will be released so students can further develop their abilities.  Swift Playgrounds is “not about learning apps for platforms. It’s about learning good coding practices” (Hodges, Apple). iOS 10 beta version available in July; final version available Sept/Oct.

 

“Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code” (Federighi, Apple VP). “The new Swift Playgrounds app from Apple is one of the most powerful, yet approachable, educational coding apps we’ve ever seen.…it’s a fun and intuitive way for our students to learn the basic principles of coding using the iPad, and also become skilled in Swift” (MacDonald).

http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2016/06/13Swift-Playgrounds-App-Makes-Learning-to-Code-Easy-Fun.html

http://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Swift Playgrounds is built for kids, but adults might like it too:

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2016/07/14/apple-swift-playgrounds-preview/#gref

 

Facebook’s internet drone test  flight

Facebook hopes to connect the world’s 7 billion people to the internet. Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, solar-powered, high-altitude drone, recently flew successfully for 96 minutes above Yuma, Arizona. Aquila will fly over areas of the world not yet connected to the internet, and beam down lasers to provide connectivity. It has a massive wingspan, flies as slowly as possible and only uses the equivalent power of 3 hairdryers. Using drones is more feasible than covering the world with signal towers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/aquila-facebook-solar-powered-internet-drone-takes-flight/7651394

http://www.theverge.com/a/mark-zuckerberg-future-of-facebook/aquila-drone-internet

 

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes

At our Year 11-12 school, we have installed 30 Asus wifi Chromeboxes to replace ageing PCs in the library. The Chromeboxes use an existing monitor and run Chrome OS ($280). The device is a desktop variant of the Chromebook laptop (HP $550), which our students use frequently.  In May this year, Chromebooks outsold Macs in the US education market for the first time. That was before Google announced that apps on the Android mobile platform – all 2.2 million – would be coming to Chromebooks too. Any app on your Android phone will sync to your Chromebook (or ChromeBox, the desktop unit). Chromebooks are less expensive and require far less IT support than PCs.

http://www.crn.com.au/feature/chromebooks-cross-major-milestone-in-battle-with-apple-431039?eid=4&edate=20160722&utm_source=20160722&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter

 

The benefits and otherwise of Pokemon Go

More daily users than Twitter; more time spent playing it than on Facebook. Some benefits: getting gamers to exercise; socialising with others; positive impacts on mental health; cooperation between players; increasing use of museums, coffee shops, cafes etc

http://theconversation.com/pokemon-go-gets-people-out-and-about-and-thats-a-good-thing-62343

http://www.sciencealert.com/pokemon-go-is-reportedly-helping-people-with-their-depression

http://time.com/money/4410946/pokemon-go-accidents-bar-crawls-dating/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/25/12273134/pokemon-go-tips-guides-news-nintendo-niantic-labs

 

Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.3 billion

The purchase includes Yahoo Search, Mail and Flickr.  Verizon will merge Yahoo with AOL, providing an advertising alternative to juggernauts Google and Facebook, which have 43% of digital ad sales worldwide. Yahoo was launched in 1995 by Stanford grad students Jerry Yang and David Filo as ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’.

http://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-buying-yahoo-likely-merging-it-with-aol/?ftag=CAD1acfa04

 

ICT news

Internet Trends Report 2016 by Mary Meeker

Her 21st annual report is over 200 slides and reveals:

Internet growth is slowing (3 billion users = 42% of world’s population); massive increase in voice commands – voice is the next big interface; in 5 years at least 50% of searches are going to be images or speech; messaging apps are rivalling the home screen as the main place for interaction; messaging is evolving with rich interactions – emoji, GIFs, videos, stickers; many online ads are ineffective; use of ad blockers is rising fast; privacy and security are ticking time bombs; user-generated videos and photos are redefining marketing; millennials don’t want to talk on the phone; smartphone growth is plateauing.

Global internet market leaders: 1. Apple 2. Google 3. Amazon 4. Facebook 5. Tencent (China)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/06/01/what-you-are-doing-online-and-other-top-findings-from-an-exhaustive-study-of-the-internet/?tid=a_inl

 

The 50 most influential gadgets of all time

A great list with interesting info including Apple Macintosh, Walkman, Victrola record player, Kodak Brownie camera, iPod, Philips VCR, Game Boy, TomTom, iPad, Kindle, Polaroid camera, Raspberry Pi, Segway, Fitbit, Wii, PlayStation….and the number 1? Apple iPhone – Apple dominates the list.

http://time.com/4309573/most-influential-gadgets/

http://time.com/4309573/most-influential-gadgets/

 

Google’s Magenta project

Magenta just wrote its first piece of music. This research project uses machine intelligence and algorithms for music and art generation. Machine learning has already been used extensively to understand content (eg. for speech recognition and for translation). Robots with rhythm?

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3077977/data-center-cloud/googles-magenta-project-just-wrote-its-first-piece-of-music-and-thankfully-its-not-great.html

 

Want to test-drive for Google?

In Phoenix, you can apply to test-drive Google’s self-driving car and earn $20 per hour for six to eight hours a day, 5 dpw on a 12-24 month contract. Drivers must have a bachelor’s degree, a typing speed of over 40 words per minute and a clean driving and criminal record. Testers will work in teams of 2, with one submitting detailed reports.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/google-driverless-car-driver-job/#:jR9_-At6fdrqCA

 

Your Google Account will help you find your phone

“Ok Google, show me my Google account”. Voice searches on Google have tripled in the past 2 years. Google is now adding a Find your phone feature – in a few steps, you can locate your phone, lock and call it, secure your account and leave a callback number on the screen. For Android and iOS.

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/dont-panic-google-will-help-find-your-lost-phone-20160602-01370

Libraries, bookshops and makerspaces

The bookshop that bans mobile phones and tablets

London bookshop Libreria has declared itself a “digital detox zone”, banning customers from using mobile phones and tablets within the store. It is attempting to “immerse the visitor in the visceral joys of reading and the pleasure of physical books, as well as to reawaken the art of real-life conversation, debates and talks, a sense of conviviality and a taste of the unexpected”. Visitors can take photos, but if they are caught texting, phoning, using the internet or social media, they are politely requested to stop. Most people are happy to oblige. Libreria’s founders believe “we have reached a ‘cultural tipping point’ with book lovers rebelling against the ‘digital deluge’.” Other London bookshops are following suit. Libreria groups books according to loose themes rather than genre eg. the sea and the sky. Guest curators have also made selections eg. Jeanette Winterson.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160324-could-this-be-your-new-favourite-bookshop

 

Why the internet hasn’t killed the library (yet) – Donald Barclay, Deputy University Librarian, Uni of California, Merced.

Most reference questions in US academic libraries are now via email or web chat. Over 400 academic libraries provide 24/7 reference services as members of OCLC’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Circulation and in-person reference transaction numbers have decreased markedly, but there has been a steady increase in the number of people setting foot in academic libraries. These libraries have been reinventing themselves and converting printed book space to space for students to study, collaborate, learn and even socialise! Libraries offer consultation services and spaces for research, writing, analysing data, graphic design, presentation practice, digital media preparation, makerspaces, music practice, funding opportunities etc Some spaces are open 24/7 and many have relaxed food and drink rules (!)

https://theconversation.com/has-the-library-outlived-its-usefulness-in-the-age-of-internet-youd-be-surprised-58198

 

Create knowledge and other stuff at your library!

The availability of makerspaces in many US public libraries has had many benefits. Libraries are now “places where people can not only consume knowledge, but create new knowledge” (Miguel Figueroa, ALA). 3D printers have allowed many people to create prototypes, models and parts far more cheaply at their library than through commercial manufacturing.

The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago set up their Maker Lab to support 21st century learning, as a trial in 2013. It was very popular and current sessions are usually fully booked in advance. 68% of participants are women; 55% are 26-45 year olds; 70% visited the lab to try something new. Pop-up labs visit some neighbourhoods. 3D printing, the Laser Cutter and the Vinyl Cutter are all popular. Non-digital craft programs are also offered.

http://www.cplfoundation.org/site/DocServer/Maker_Lab_White_Paper_2015_web.pdf?docID=681

http://www.chipublib.org/maker-lab/

https://psmag.com/libraries-are-the-future-of-manufacturing-in-the-united-states-5509c61ac87f#.qk9t4rw6v

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/03/everyone-is-a-maker/473286/

Long but interesting: Will makerspaces last? Do they help their members earn a real living or to learn more than a smattering of skills?: https://placesjournal.org/article/makerspace-towards-a-new-civic-infrastructure/?gclid=CjwKEAjwyPW5BRCC3JaM7qfW_FwSJACM3jz9-nMuaAiFaYD46C0nOojQ9fFuvs37reC2tsLTlPOGwBoCi1fw_wcB

 

Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology

In Silicon Valley, California, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula does not use technology in the classroom but employees of the tech giants still send their children there. Innovative thinking skills and creativity are emphasised. At the London Acorn school, the internet is banned for everyone under 16 years – at home and at school. Computers are used only with those over 14 years. “The problem with instant information is that the ease with which you can get from A to B and find the answers doesn’t reflect real life” (Sarah Thorne, principal)

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london

 

Kansas City Library, Missouri

How awesome…the façade of the parking garage of the Central Library is made of 8 metre tall book spines – the “Community Bookshelf”. The community voted on the 22 titles to be displayed, including Lord of the rings, Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, A tale of two cities, Charlotte’s web, To kill a mockingbird, The invisible man, Romeo and Juliet….

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kansas-city-library-s-giant-bookshelf

http://www.kclibrary.org/community-bookshelf

ICT, robots and binge-watching

Are we being too quick to embrace technology in education?

Neil Selwyn: “Many recently developed forms of education seem to benefit those who are already well-resourced and well-educated. The participation and completion rates of many MOOCs tend to be skewed towards college-educated, high-income young males… Emerging technologies have much to offer but there will be consequences – what forms of education do we really want?” Excellent discussion by Brett Clarke in the Comments: Governments have poured too much money into devices and student-computer ratios instead of investing money into the professional development of school leaders and teachers. Teachers need skills in pedagogical practice and creating learning environments that are enhanced by technology.

Listen to the program: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/are-we-being-too-quick-to-embrace-technology-in-education/7211366

 

Australia will have to face the consequences of its education gap

According to the Fairfax-Lateral Economics Wellbeing Index, each degree or higher trade qualification is worth almost $1 million in wellbeing for the community. Employment in high-skill industries has grown more quickly – low-skill workers face growing competition from new migrants, offshoring and even robots. The growing educational-cultural divide will cause problems – the best predictor of support for Trump has been the absence of a college degree.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australia-will-have-to-face-the-consequences-of-its-education-gap-20160405-gnyrq6.html

 

Can handwriting make you smarter?

Researchers at Princeton and UCLA found that students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes – and more type. Those who write their notes appear to learn better, retain information longer and grasp new ideas more readily. Handwriting encodes the information more deeply in memory – longhand notes were more organised and students thought more about what they were going to write. Students who type can take more notes but they are verbatim and this seems to undermine learning – they forget what they have typed after 24 hours.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

 

Lower case for internet and web!

The 2016 Stylebook of Associated Press (AP) will advise that from 1 June “internet” and “web” should be in lower case and no longer capitalised. Some people aren’t happy…they like Internet! Thanks AP – in 2010 they ruled “web site” would become “website” and in 2011, “e-mail” became “email”.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/146708/20160404/the-ap-stylebook-will-lowercase-internet-starting-june-1-and-the-web-reacts.htm

 

Google: don’t be evil?

Google is one of the US’s largest providers of edtech in K-12 schools. However, Google does track student data – but not to target them for advertising or to get personal details. It tracks students signed into Google Apps for Education when they use Search, YouTube, Blogger and Maps and uses the data “to develop and improve Google products” (Sue Molinari, a Google VP).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/02/16/google-says-it-tracks-personal-student-data-but-not-for-advertising/

 

Robot tutors

The L2TOR Project (pronounced el-tutor) uses social robot tutors in 4 European cities in the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey to help immigrant pre-schoolers learn the local language. The project is run by linguists and roboticists from European universities. Students work through a course under the watchful eye of a NAO robot. The robot explains learning intentions before the lesson, observes body language during the lesson and assists with problems. Researchers have found that social robots have marked benefits over screen-based tutoring and positive impacts on motivation.

http://www.l2tor.eu/

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/robot-teaching-machines-language-learning-l2tor/426639/

 

Amazon Inspire

Amazon Education is working on a new free platform that allows schools to upload, curate, share and discover open education resources (OER). Users can self-publish resources and add ratings and reviews. Metadata tags will be assigned to the resources via learning Registry. Schools could upload their entire digital library if it was open and freely available. Scheduled for release in mid 2016.

https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/amazon-education-to-launch-new-website-for-open-ed-resources/

 

Ahh holidays…and binge-watching

It was Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2015….but it’s not all good. The University of Texas found a strong connection between binge-watching, being depressed and lonely and having a self-regulation deficiency. A team from Zurich noted that binge-watchers want more material things and feel more anxious about life. The American Medical Association examined 25 years of research and found that people who watch a lot of TV have a weaker brain function. So binge if you must but beware!

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129094341.htm?

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/is-netflix-really-making-you-sad-who-knows-but-lets-report-that-anyway-20160331-gnv7o9.html

http://asianjournal.com/news/study-binge-watching-tv-as-a-young-adult-could-lead-to-decline-in-brain-function/

 

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.

http://www.igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Digital-Australia-2016-DA16-Final.pdf

 

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.

http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-playstation-vr/?ftag=CAD1acfa04&bhid=23787909704659446143753669728655

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”.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ted-virtual-augmented-reality-1.3453884

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/mwc-2016-virtual-reality-steals-the-show-in-barcelona-20160224-gn24fq.html

 

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.

http://education.minecraft.net/

 

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.

http://readwrite.com/2016/01/27/video-games-education-default-attention-mode/

 

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).

http://theconversation.com/infographic-how-fast-is-the-nbn-54392

 

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.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201601/tweeting-not-sleeping-balancing-sleep-and-social-media

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).

http://googletranslate.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/from-amharic-to-xhosa-introducing.html

 

Vocabulary.com

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.

https://www.vocabulary.com/

https://www.vocabulary.com/howitworks/

 

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.

https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/news/view/article/352/

https://media-macquarie-wspdigitalproduction-com.s3.amazonaws.com/media/hosted_files/Macquarie_Word_of_the_Year_2015_entries.pdf

https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/news/view/editor/article/337/

 

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.

http://www.languagemonitor.com/category/word-of-the-year/

 

Collins Dictionary

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

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/word-lovers-blog/new/binge-watch-collins-word-of-the-year-2015,251,HCB.html

 

American Dialect Society

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

http://www.americandialect.org/2015-word-of-the-year-is-singular-they

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

 

Merriam-Webster

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

http://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-of-the-year-2015/-

 

Oxford University Press – (UK and US)

Face with tears of joy emoji.

http://blog.oup.com/2015/11/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2015-emoji-face-tears-joy/ism

STEM and ICT news and Google’s best of 2015 lists

Good news for STEM in Australia…..

 

The new National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA)

Malcolm Turnbull’s $1.1 billion innovation package (the Ideas Boom) was released yesterday at CSIRO in Canberra – “inspiring Australians to be innovative” and to take risks. The government will spend $48 million over the next 4 years “inspiring” Australians in digital literacy and STEM areas. This includes funding to upgrade teachers’ digital skills, educational apps and $13 million to boost the participation of girls and women in STEM. The government will spend $51 million over five years targeting coding activity in schools including online computing challenges for Year 5 and 7 students, ICT summer schools for Years 9 and 10, an annual ‘Cracking the Code’ national competition for years 4 to 12 and support for teachers to increase IT-related activity in the classroom. This fits well with  the AC Digital Technologies.

 

CSIRO and other science research projects will enjoy more funding and a renewed focus, businesses will get more support for innovation and universities will get increased funding for research. The Australian Synchroton (bright light beams for research) and the Square Kilometre Array (largest radio telescope) will get $800 million over 10 years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-07/pm-malcolm-turnbull-unveils-$1-billion-innovation-program/7006952

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-comes-the-governments-innovation-statement-2015-12

 

 

Tech Girls Are Superheroes

The Tech Girls Are Superheroes campaign was started by the Tech Girls Movement (TGM) in 2014. Founded by Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, TGM promotes positive female IT role models to encourage and raise awareness of STEM career options for girls. The free booklet Tech Girls Are Superheroes has 26 stories from talented women in IT, each with their own avatar. Available here:

http://www.techgirlsaresuperheroes.org/home/

The winners of the 2015 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero were announced last month. See their work here:

http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/news/2015/11/9/hp1cc4do6v7rnzq8jwvxpv6yy7c6q9

Entries are now open to all girls in years 4-12 for the 2016 Next Tech Girl Superhero. Students submit technology-based solutions for different challenges according to their year group eg. building body confidence, increasing cybersafety, reducing environmental impacts. Winners receive funding and mentoring for their idea. Entries close 1 July 2016. http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/superherosearch/

Resources: http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/repository/

 

 

Google’s best of 2015 lists

Take a look at what has been popular in Android during 2015 – apps; games; top-selling music, movies, books, news sources; favourite movies and TV…

Click on each category to see the full list – all with links to buy now! (hmm thanks Google).

Favourite books include: Go set a watchman – Harper Lee; Fates and furies – Lauren Groff; The buried giant – Kazuo Ishiguro; Between the world and me – Ta-Nehisi Coates; Carry on – Rainbow Rowell.

Favourite movies and TV include: Paper planes; The secret river; Ex machina; Mr Robot; Fargo; Outlander; Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries; Inside out; Mad Max: Fury Road.

Favourite music includes: 25 – Adele; Currents – Tame Impala; Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit – Courtney Barnett; Fire and the flood – Vance Joy.

Best apps include Skype, Catch of the Day, Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Microsoft Word.

https://play.google.com/store/info/topic?id=bestof2015

Google Trends – check out what we’re searching for: https://www.google.com.au/trends/

Robotics and coding

Spare parts – film

This is a very good film and book – great for Lives and Times / Biography units. It is the true story of 4 Mexican high school students (3 of whom were illegal immigrants) who form a robotics club at an underfunded Phoenix, Arizona high school, under the leadership of a teacher (in real life, 2 teachers). With no experience, $800, used car parts and a dream, the team goes up against the country’s reigning underwater robotics champion, MIT. Directed by Sean McNamara. Stars George Lopez, Marisa Tomei. Rated PG.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3233418/

The original story by Joshua Davis appeared in WIRED magazine in 2005. Following publication, readers contributed more than $90 000 in scholarships for the 4 youths.

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/4-mexican-immigrant-kids-cheap-robot-beat-mit/

Here’s what they are doing now: http://www.wired.com/2014/12/spare-parts/

Book by Joshua Davis – Spare parts: Four undocumented teenagers, one ugly robot, and the battle for the American Dream: http://www.amazon.com/Spare-Parts-Undocumented-Teenagers-American/dp/0374534985

“This is hands down my favorite kind of story: underdogs plus ingenuity plus pluck and dedication equals a deeply moving and touching narrative. I love these kids!” ―Adam Savage, cohost of MythBusters

 

Robotics and computer coding in Queensland schools

These will be taught to all students from prep to Year 10 from 2016. The premier announced that the AC Digital Technologies curriculum would be fast-tracked. Every state school in Qld will also have access to specialist STEM teachers and a Qld coding academy will be set up. The AC Digital Technologies revised curriculum (approved in Sept) now has programming beginning in Year 5, rather than Foundation.

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/leadership/queensland-makes-coding-and-robotics-compulsory-in-schools/2015101515722.html

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1

 

5 reasons to teach robotics in schools

It’s fun for kids; it introduces programming; provides skills for future employment; suitable for range of abilities; demystifies a complex technology.

http://theconversation.com/five-reasons-to-teach-robotics-in-schools-49357

 

Code Club merges with Raspberry Pi Foundation

Global children’s coding network Code Club has merged with the UK charity Raspberry Pi Foundation, which makes low-cost computers to promote computer skills in schools. They are both part of the movement helping people become digital makers and not just consumers. In Australia, the popular Code Club teaches programming languages like Scratch and Python to more than 8000 students in 300 classes. Now they will also start robotics. Raspberry Pi comes pre-loaded with Scratch and Python. It can also be used for Minecraft  and advanced robotics. The new merger will offer even more free resources online for learning coding and digital making.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/03/pi-club/

https://www.codeclub.org.uk/

http://www.codeclubau.org/

https://www.raspberrypi.org/

 

Wayback Machine, AI, YouTube Red and emojis

The Wayback Machine gets an update

An important part of the world’s cultural heritage now resides only on the web. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is used by millions to access 19 years of the web’s history – offering access to over 439 billion web captures including old web pages, video and images (1 billion pages captured each week). The Wayback Machine will soon be updated. When completed in 2017, it will have more higher quality webpages that are easier to find. “Taking the Wayback Machine to the next level will make the entire web more reliable, transparent and accessible for everyone.”

Update features: http://blog.archive.org/2015/10/21/grant-to-develop-the-next-generation-wayback-machine/

 

Google is letting Artificial Intelligence run search

Artificial intelligence (AI) is developing a prominent role in search. For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of search queries per second typed into Google have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain. RankBrain uses AI to embed vast amounts of written language into vectors that the the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words have similar meanings and filter the result accordingly. This helps Google deal with the 15% of queries a day which it has never seen before. Google aims to embed AI into every aspect of its business. Facebook uses AI to filter our newsfeeds and Microsoft is using AI to increase the capabilities of Bing.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-26/google-turning-its-lucrative-web-search-over-to-ai-machines

 

YouTube Red

YouTube Red is a new $10 per month subscription service, starting in the US this week before going international. All ads are removed from all videos, everywhere you watch (however, this does not apply to paid content, such as paid channels or movie purchases). YouTube Red will be available for YouTube, YouTube Gaming apps, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV, gaming consoles. You can download YouTube videos to your phone or tablet and watch them for up to 30 days without a connection. You can also isten to videos on your phone when your screen is off (good for music). Subscribers will also get a free monthly Google Play Music subscription and access to members-only original shows and movies from top YouTubers. The YouTube Music app will start soon as a dedicated place to listen to music on YouTube.

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/youtube-red-details/?ftag=CAD3c77551&bhid=23787909704659446143753669728655

 

Will you heart Facebook’s new emojis?

Facebook is adding 6 more symbols to help 1.5 billion Facebook users express themselves. Along with the Like button, we will be getting Yay, Angry, Haha, Wow, Sad and Love. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook did not want to add the negativity of a Dislike button. The new emojis are currently being tested in Ireland and Spain. Emojis originated in ancient Japan and Japanese cell phone makers were using them in texting apps in the 1990s. “e” means picture and “moji” means character.

http://www.cnet.com/news/will-you-heart-facebooks-new-emojis/?ftag=CAD1c318f6&bhid=23787909704659446143753669728655

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.

http://riaus.org.au/

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.

http://www.webbyawards.com/winners/2015/websites/general-website/science/

 

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

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/science-websites

 

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.

http://www.parrot.com/au/products/jumping-sumo/

 

Lego robotics – object oriented programming – $500 per kit

http://www.teaching.com.au/catalogue?catalogue=MTA&category=MTA-WEDO-ROBOTICS

http://shop.lego.com/en-AU/Robotics-ByCategory

 

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

http://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/about/lauristons-fablab-school

https://tltl.stanford.edu/about/fablabatschool

 

“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

http://www.scopeiteducation.com.au/

 

“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/