ICT and STEM news

STEM learning

Special edition of STEM articles from Teacher magazine. Includes virtual classrooms for Year 10s, STEM and gender and best practice for primary STEM.

Demystifying the AC Digital Technologies Curriculum P-6

Webinar with Dr Linda McIver; 19 June and 31 July 3.45-5pm.


STEM learning: international best practice: Queensland science teacher Sarah Chapman gathered evidence from around the world. Essential elements include real world experiences, expertise from industry links, mentorships and cross-curricular integration.


Full report: https://cew.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Engaging-the-future-of-STEM.pdf


Australian Online Landscape Review (latest: April 2017)

Quarterly report produced by IAB/Nielsen. Top 10 brands: 1.Google 2.Facebook 3.YouTube 4.MSN/Outlook/Bing/Skype 5.Apple 6.eBay 7.Microsoft 8.Wikipedia 9.Instagram 10.Yahoo7.

Top 10 brands for streaming: 1.YouTube 2.Facebook 3.VEVO (music) 4.Vimeo (videos) 5.news.com.au 6.smh.com.au 7.MSN/Outlook/Bing/Skype 8.nine.com.au 9.Yahoo7 10. ABC Online

Smartphones are used more than desktops, which are used more than tablets.



Australians’ viewing habits

There are more screens (6.4 in each home) and most are internet-capable. Viewing is spread across devices but TV remains by far the most-watched screen. 86% of video viewing is on TVs – free-to-air or subscription; live or played back. TVs are also used for other tasks – gaming, DVDs, internet, music streaming, YouTube videos etc




Australia’s internet speeds

According to the most recent Akamai State of the Internet report we are now 51st in the world for home broadband internet speeds (10.1 Mbps). However, we are well above the global average of 7 Mbps even with a large area to cover. Fastest is South Korea (26.1Mbps) 2. Norway 3. Sweden 4.Hong Kong 5.Switzerland. We are leading the Asia-Pacific region in mobile connectivity speeds (13.8 Mbps).



Why do adults think video games are bad?

The excellent news site The Conversation is running a series for children – Curious Kids, where children send in questions they would like an expert to answer. Recent research suggests that playing online games that involve puzzle-solving increases scores in maths, science and reading, whereas using social networking reduces academic achievement.




The science for and against video gaming

They can make your brain grow and they make you more self-aware and happier; but they can make you less empathetic and more violent.



People could be genetically predisposed to social media use

One to two-thirds of variance in social media use is attributable to genetic traits; unique and shared environmental factors account for the remainder of variance.




“A classroom with the ultimate view” – students enrol in missions on the International Space Station and request images of specific locations on Earth. The program was set up by astronaut Sally Ride in  1995, initially on space shuttle flights. 8000 schools from 78 countries have now participated with over 500 000 students creating a library of 94 000 images.


Search the image gallery: https://www.earthkam.org/ek-images



Google Maps street-view of Uluru

Just launched after 2 years of consultation with traditional owners. The interactive map includes audio stories from the Anangu owners about the significance of Uluru, traditional law and creation stories. Many sacred sections of the rock were not photographed. Viewers can zoom into crevices, walk along trails and view ancient art. Google plans to map other Australian cultural sites, including Kakadu.



Live interactions with robots increase their perceived human likeness

We need to get used to a future where robots will be part of our everyday lives, but rarely do we see robots face to face. A recent study found that people who watched live interactions with a robot were more likely to consider the robot to have more human-like qualities. Robots presented in virtual reality also scored high in human likeness. Watching a robot on a 2D screen scored lowest. “Many people will have their first encounter with a service robot over the next decade. Service robots are designed to communicate with humans in humanlike ways and assist them in various aspects of their daily routine. Potential areas of application range from hospitals and nursing homes to hotels and the users’ households” (Schreiner).



The 2017 emoji list: emoji version 5.0

All those cute little emoji have to be approved by the Unicode consortium and will be launched this month. There are 69 new images; 24 have 5 additional skin tones and 10 are non-gendered. New emoji include a genie, an older person, a breastfeeding mum and broccoli. There are now a total of 239 approved emoji.


Good films


Some good films….useful for biography, global studies, music….


The man who knew infinity

Biographical drama based on the book by Robert Kanigel. Directed by Matthew Brown. Stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. Srinovasa Ramanujan, a young man from Madras with almost no formal mathematical training, earns attendance at Cambridge University during WW1, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor. “Mathematics plays a key role in the story, but in a way that is entirely accessible, allowing the viewer to comprehend the advances that Ramanujan made and why his legacy remains so important almost a century after his death.” (Allan Hunter). In cinemas now.





Eddie the Eagle

Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. The story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British ski jumper who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Although he finished last in his events, he became famous for his perseverance and as an “heroic failure”. He was also totally self-funded and needed to wear thick glasses under his goggles. Hugh Jackman plays his fictional coach. Eddie the Eagle was actually a good downhill skier, narrowly missing selection for the 1984 Games – he changed to ski jumping to better his chances at selection in 1988. Rated PG – a great feel-good movie. In cinemas now.




Where to invade next

Documentary by Michael Moore, who explores  how countries such as Finland, Tunisia, Italy, France and Portugal deal with social and economic challenges – usually very differently to and more successfully than the US. Moore plans to “steal” these good ideas and bring them back to the US. In cinemas now.




Wide open sky

Directed by Lisa Nicol. The inspiring story of a group of children in the remote outback of NSW who follow their dream to sing in the Moorambilla Voices choir under the leadership of Michelle, a choir director with high expectations. Set in a beautiful landscape, the film explores how the children learn about themselves and their talents and also shows the exceptional teaching of Michelle. Winner Audience Award Best Documentary, Sydney Film Festival. Out now.




The jungle book

Live-action CGI film directed by Jon Favreau, inspired by Disney’s animated film based on Kipling’s stories. Mowgli sets out on a  journey of self-discovery while evading the tiger Shere Khan. Features the voices of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. The story is a balance between the Disney version and Kipling’s works. The film is not a musical but includes several songs from Disney eg. The bare necessities. Critics’ consensus at Rotten Tomatoes: “As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch…it is the rare remake that actually improves its predecessors”.

“An unusual blend of lifelike imagery and otherworldly animal action. The visuals are compelling, as is the story. Kudos to director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)” (R. Roten). In cinemas now.





Biographical political thriller directed by Oliver Stone, based on the books The Snowden files by Luke Harding and Time of the octopus by Anatoly Kucherena (Snowden’s Russian lawyer). Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Follows the life of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous global surveillance programs and invasion of privacy. Some see Snowden as a hero, others as a traitor. Stone met with Snowden multiple times in Moscow and made the film outside of the US. Opens late 2016.



The happiest refugee

The bestselling autobiography by Anh Do will be made into a film to be directed by Russell Crowe. Crowe is a big fan of the book, which tells the story of Do’s family coming to Australia as Vietnamese refugees.


Films for action

Some excellent documentaries and films for senior students of global studies, sociology, geography, sustainability, human rights…..

Films for Action

“Discover, watch and share over 3000 of the best social change videos online – a community powered learning library and alternative news center for people who want to change the world”. Includes documentaries, videos, short films, presentations, trailers and articles.

Search for films via subjects and countries eg. corporations, big ideas, human rights, social issues, climate change; war and peace, culture, consumerism; globalization; cities; animal rights; vision; technology and design.

Includes films such as Inside job; War made easy; Consuming kids; Capitalism: a love story; WikiRebels; Flow: for love of water; The internet must go; Chasing ice; Plastic planet; The superior human?; Schooling the world: The cove; Exit through the gift shop.

View titles via the visual Wall of Films: http://www.filmsforaction.org/walloffilms/
View the Top 100 Documentaries: http://www.filmsforaction.org/top-100-documentaries/
Also includes featured articles: http://www.filmsforaction.org/news/

Webby Award winners – the best of the web

Some good resources for media, art, photography, graphic design, popular culture, business studies, social sciences….

The 18th Annual Webby Awards
The Oscars of the online world have now been announced – chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Categories include web, online film & video, interactive advertising & media, mobile & apps and social. A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Lawrence Lessig, co-founder of Creative Commons and staunch advocate of the open, collaborative web.
All the winners & nominees: http://webbyawards.com/winners/2014

Winners include:
Education: Coursera
Health: WebMD
Science: Nautilus
Cultural institutions: The Second World War in 100 objects
Social media: Vine (create and share beautiful looping videos)
Social media campaign: The Melbourne remote control tourist (yay Australia!)
Public service and activism: The internet must go (John Wooley)
Experimental and innovation: D-Day: as it happens
Activism: change.org
Art: Artsy
Travel: Airbnb
Best online commercial: The epic split (Jean-Claude van Damme and the Volvo trucks)
Best use of video: The Serengeti lion (National Geographic)
Best photography and graphics: GoPro
Best use of photography: Graffiti General
Best use of animation: The art of noise
Best user experience: Medium (everyone’s stories and ideas)
Reality: Google+ same sex marriage

Wow….gazillions of resources on the interwebs….and we’ve had access for maybe 18 or so years in schools. Remember the days before the web…where to next?

How many things live on Earth?


RiAus is Australia’s national science hub, promoting public awareness and understanding of science. Their email newsletter always has interesting user-friendly updates in the world of science: http://riaus.org.au/


“In 2011 the human population surpassed 7 billion people, but how does that compare to other animal species?

The combined population of our home planet is almost impossible to quantify. While the human population is in the billions, bacterial species measure in the quadrillion quadrillions!”

3 minute video: http://bit.ly/1ge4Jnc

Global Populations

RiAus have included some useful links:

Current World Population – Statistics from Worldometer

Population Fact Sheets – Fact sheets by United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

How many people have ever lived on Earth – Article from the Population Reference Bureau

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – Lists from International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Endangered Species Population Number – http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/endangered-species/endangered-species-population-numbers/3596

Farm Animal Populations Continue to Grow – Article from World Watch Institute


The science of Doctor Who

RiAUS are also presenting this fun & interactive stage show (BYOD) around Australia from April to June 2014. Investigate time travel and teleportation, discover how the Tardis can be bigger on the inside and find out if regeneration is really possible.


The universes of Doctor Who: http://riaus.org.au/articles/universes-doctor/

Climate, science & global poverty

Some interesting info for geography, science, global studies, sociology..…

State of the climate 2014 Report

Released 4 March, it is the third report produced by CSIRO & Aust. Bureau of Meteorology – a summary of observations of Australia’s climate and analysis of the factors that influence it. Chapters include: Heavy rainfall & tropical cyclones; Oceans; Future climate scenarios.

Fast facts: Aust’s climate has warmed by 0.9 degrees since 1910 & there is more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes. Extreme fire weather has increased and the fire season has lengthened across large parts of Aust. since the 1970s. Sea-level rise and ocean acidification will continue.


Video & info: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-04/climate-extremes-increasing-carbon-dioxide-levels-rise-report/5295876


Goodbye Scirus

Scirus, the science-specific search engine, has retired (Jan 2014). It was owned and operated by giant medical & scientific publishing company Elsevier (publisher of Lancet & Gray’s anatomy), which does have a reputation for very high subscription costs for universities & other institutions.

Elsevier still offers the ScienceDirect database which searches through thousands of journals and books. Many of the articles have a cost, but free open access full text articles can be found via Advanced search. Articles are suitable for university level and advanced senior high school students.



Global Citizen Tickets

This initiative of the Global Poverty Project tracks and rewards social activism that helps address poverty, by giving out free concert tickets. Fans can earn points for each online action taken (not fundraising) and go in the prize draw for tickets. Performers such as the John Butler Trio, Bernard Fanning, The Temper Trap, Gotye, Art vs Science, The Jezabels & Eskimo Joe have all donated tickets to their forthcoming concerts.


Global Poverty Project is an international education and advocacy organization working towards the end of extreme poverty by 2030. Since launching in 2012, more than 250 000 Global Citizens have joined, taking more than 1.5 million actions.



Human rights resources

Some interesting resources for geography, science, global studies, sociology, legal studies..…

Human Rights Watch

This excellent and informative independent organisation recently published its World Report 2014, its 24th annual review of human rights practices in over 90 countries.


Human rights issues by country – interesting to read about Australia:


Current news and human rights information – browse by topic or region: http://www.hrw.org/home

Videos of human rights issues: http://mm.hrw.org/

Rights struggles of 2013: stopping mass atrocities, majority bullying and abusive counterterrorism – keynote by Kenneth Roth: http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/essays/rights-struggles-of-2013


Social watch: poverty eradication and gender justice

This international network of citizens’ organisations is committed to peace, social, economic, environmental and gender justice. Social Watch Reports are produced annually, as well as detailed National Reports. The Gender Equity Index measures the gap between men and women in education, the economy and political empowerment. The Basic Capabilities Index monitors the evolution of basic indicators and makes comparisons between and within countries. Detailed statistics are provided for countries and also an interactive map.



Aust. Human Rights Commission

Comprehensive information – news, current projects, legal issues, forums, publications etc. Includes Asylum seekers and refugees, Disability, Race, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Rights and freedoms, Age, Sex discrimination, LGBTI.


Hot topics index: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/hot-topics-index

Teachers’ resources and books to download: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/human-rights-school-classroom

More human rights links: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/commission-website-information-students-useful-links


International human rights: HSC legal studies

Useful links from the State Library NSW – websites and other resources, some of which need a State Library card (the National Library & Libraries ACT would probably offer access to similar resources).


Human rights in Aust: http://guides.sl.nsw.gov.au/content.php?pid=273664&sid=2373567

ICT and popular culture news

Tis the season for lists!

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

Always interesting to see the results of the survey by Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) – as voted by 500+ learning professionals from 48 countries. 1. Twitter 2. Google Drive/Docs 3. YouTube 4. Google Search 5. PowerPoint 6. Evernote 7. Dropbox 8. WordPress 9. Facebook 10. Google + Twitter retained #1 for the 5th year running. Pinterest jumped 14 places to #22. Coursera (MOOC platform) was a new addition at #38. http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/ Analysis: http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/analysis-2013/

Yahoo Year in Review 2013

Interesting videos and images from around the world: http://news.yahoo.com/year-in-review/

Top US searches: Miley Cyrus #1; computer game Minecraft was #4 (high also in Aust). Part exploratory adventure, part creative building tool, highly valued by gamers, teachers, architecture students…watch the YouTube documentary (1 hr 40m) about its development, founder Markus “Notch” Persson and its unorthodox success.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySRgVo1X_18

Facebook trends 2013

Most talked about topics worldwide: 1. Pope Francis 2. Election 3. Royal baby 4. Typhoon 5. Margaret Thatcher 6. Harlem Shake 7. Miley Cyrus 8. Boston Marathon 9. Tour de France 10. Nelson Mandela Short video: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/09/here-are-facebooks-most-talked-about-topics-for-2013/

For Australia – 9 million daily users: 1. Vote 2. Princess Kate 3. Cricket 4. Kevin Rudd 5. Grand Final 6. Election 7. GST  8. Lions 9. Tony Abbott 10. Big Brother. The most checked in location was the MCG. http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/528860/20131210/facebook-trends-2013-australia-topics.htm

Top Bing searches in Aust. 2013

Various categories – from quinoa to Miranda Kerr to royal baby to Sydney Swans… http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/2013/12/02/18/46/kerr-tops-most-binged-2013-list

Top 10 ads viewed on YouTube in Aust. http://www.adnews.com.au/adnews/australia-s-most-popular-youtube-ads-in-2013

One minute on the internet today compared to 2012

The interwebs just keeps on getting bigger….75% increase in Google searches; 42% increase in Amazon revenue; 233% growth in YouTube video hours; 250% increase in Twitter tweets.


National Geographic shares maps via Google Maps Engine

Google Maps Engine is a public data program that lets organisations distribute maps to consumers via Google. National Geographic is now sharing 500 of their maps via the program for free. They will overlay the maps with interactive features such as articles and photos about environmental issues, expeditions and historic events.



Look – up in the sky! It’s your unmanned pizza delivery! The coming drone invasion will deliver everything from pizzas to Amazon products. In the US, Amazon aims for their drones to deliver within a 10 mile range and 30 minute time frame whilst the DomiCopter will deliver 2 Domino’s pizzas. The widespread use of drones has been approved by Congress, starting in 2015. There are of course, many associated privacy and surveillance issues. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-whitehead/amazon-dominos-and-big-br_b_4373867.html?ir=Technology

In Australia, a drone was (illegally) used during the NSW bushfires in October but may be used legally in the future. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/technology/drones-ready-to-fight-fires-if-allowed/story-e6frgakx-1226748464574

A textbook rental company will make deliveries by drone to customers in Sydney CBD, starting March 2014 – the first commercial use of drones in the world. The textbooks will be lowered on a cable to the customer. Short video: http://www.cnet.com.au/australian-textbook-delivery-care-of-drones-339345677.htm

“OK Google” voice search on Chrome web browser (desktop)

No need to type your search query. No need for a microphone either (currently needed in Chrome). Download the Google Voice Search Hotword plugin and say “OK Google, what is an ocelot?”. It will read out most answers. It can be used for searches, translations, reminders, setting calendar events and getting directions. The service is in beta and currently works only with google.com (not .au), but can still be downloaded in Australia. http://www.cnet.com.au/google-introduces-ok-google-voice-search-on-chrome-for-desktop-339346074.htm

Google barges

The 3 mystery barges being built in San Francisco by Google may be “interactive spaces where people learn about new technology”….or they might just be floating retail stores. They will eventually be docked in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York and will be “curious and visually stunning” exhibition centres with fish fin sails. Gotta beat those cool Apple stores somehow… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/google-barge/

TED Books

TED Books are interesting short non fiction electronic books, produced once a month by TED Conferences. The books are less than 20 000 words – “long enough to unleash a powerful narrative, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.” Most can be read in less than an hour and are available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks. Price: $1.99 each. The TED Books app is free for the iPad and has audio, video and social features embedded into each book. For a yearly subscription of $14.99, you have access to the entire TED Books archive. http://www.ted.com/pages/tedbooks


Good TV programs

Some great TV programs that support many areas of the curriculum….

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: The day of the Doctor
ABC1 Sunday 24 Nov early in the morning! The ABC will simultaneously broadcast the 75 minute special as it goes live from the UK with a 7.30pm repeat. 87 Australian cinemas will also show it in 3D on the big screen. The special will star Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Billie Piper and Jenna Coleman, and reveals the dangerous past of the Doctor. It is the longest running sci-fi TV show in the world and has 80 million viewers.

ABC iView has shown many episodes of recent Dr Who series ahead of the evening broadcast time. In the lead-up to the anniversary episode, iView will show 47 classic episodes featuring every Doctor from the first to the eighth, plus awesome monsters and favourite companions.

ABC2 is also showing specials on Sundays at 7.30pm, starting with Doctor Who explained (20 Oct) – everything you need to know about the Doctor – current, past or future. Other programs include The science of Doctor Who; The timey-wimey of Doctor Who; The women of Doctor Who; The destinations of Doctor Who. And you can watch all episodes from series 1-7 on ABC2 weeknights at 7.30pm. Something for everyone – if only we had more time hehe.
Excellent recent trailer – 5 decades of The Doctor: http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/20/doctor-who-the-50th-celebration-trailer-doesnt-feature-the-day-of-the-doctor-footage-but-it-couldnt-be-any-better-4152398/

Ja’mie: private school girl
ABC1 – starts Wed 23 Oct 9 pm. The new 6 part mockumentary series chronicles the final 3 months of high school for 17 year old private school captain Ja’mie King…..and who hasn’t got a soft spot for rude, self-obsessed Ja’mie? Chris Lilley is a great actor, whether in male or female roles. This series features a sexting scandal, love interests and the possibility of being immortalised in bronze. Ja’mazing!

The art of Australia
ABC1 Tues 22 Oct 8.30pm. Hosted by Edmund Capon, this 3 part series explores how art and artists helped to shape Australia’s national identity, from the colonial period to the present. The series interweaves the story of British, European and indigenous art traditions and includes the works of Lycett, Roberts, Streeton, Nolan, Boyd, Fairweather, Olsen and the Papunya movement.

Autopsy on a dream
ABC1 Sun 20 Oct 9.25pm. The controversial recently found 1968 BBC film that looks at the construction of the Sydney Opera House and the resignation of Jorn Utzon. Updated voice-over by original narrator Bob Ellis. Includes 30 minute prologue The dream of perfection, the story of the film plus interviews.

Redfern now: series 2
ABC1 – starts Thurs 31 Oct 8.30pm – 6 parts. The follow-up to the acclaimed first series written & directed by indigenous Australians, exploring the lives of indigenous families in inner city Redfern, Sydney. Some of the characters return from season 1, including Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell. New additions include Ernie Dingo, Sibylla Budd and Steve Bisley. Directors include Beck Cole, Wayne Blair, Leah Purcell and Rachel Perkins. This series will once again provide powerful and moving stories and is an excellent resource supporting the ACARA Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum Priority.

Coast Australia
History Channel – starts December. Presented by Neil Oliver, with Australian experts – an Australian version of the acclaimed British series. The 8 part series explores stories and facts about our coastal history, people, archaeology, geography and marine life. And if you like Neil Oliver’s TV history series, then you will have a chance to see him in Australia in December with his History in the Making shows, bringing British and Australian history to life.

The fatal shore
Looks like the book by Robert Hughes will finally be filmed. The 6 part dramatised documentary series will be hosted by Neil Oliver, with CGI-created re-enactments of epic events. Due 2014.

Catch-up TV
ABC iView, SBS on Demand, PLUS7, ninemsn Video and now TENplay – these services are great for catching up on missed shows. Although programs cannot be saved and are not online forever, they are very useful for classes to watch – especially in schools that don’t have access to online digital video systems like ClickView.
The new TENPlay service plans to live stream the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and some shows can be accessed on TENPlay before they are broadcast locally. There are also rumours that US streaming giants Hulu and Netflix may launch locally.
Despite these options, Australians are still major TV pirates, leading the way with torrent downloads of the finales of Breaking bad and Game of thrones.

National Science Week

National Science Week is on 10 – 18 August – an annual celebration of science in Australia.
Maybe it’s time to enter the national Sci-ku poetry competition with a short 3 line Haiku-style poem about science – this year with a statistics or mathematics theme: http://riaus.org.au/events/sciku/
We are having a Sci-ku writing competition for Science Week and Book Week at our college – after all Book Week has the universe theme! We are going to be flexible with syllables (usually 5,7,5).
Sci-ku examples: http://blog.mbl.edu/?p=1953

African clawed frogs
have flown on the space shuttle.
That’s one giant leap.
(Greg Early)

Some know the time by
looking at the sun. I can’t
make out the numbers
(A. Shalizi)

Good sites for science news:
Science Daily: Extensive science news http://www.sciencedaily.com/
Scirus: Use this science-specific search engine for science news, information, journal articles etc http://info.scirus.com/
CSIRO: Includes news, blogs, CSIROpedia http://www.csiro.au/en.aspx
ABC Science: News, TV and radio programs http://www.abc.net.au/science/
Royal Institution of Australia: A national science hub bringing science to the people  http://riaus.org.au/
Science Direct: Full text database of journal articles and book chapters http://www.sciencedirect.com/
Science, physics, technology: http://phys.org/
Science news and blogs: http://scienceblogs.com/
LiveScience: Science articles and news http://www.livescience.com/
Australian Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com.au/
How stuff works: http://www.howstuffworks.com/

eBizMBA: This site has rankings for many subject areas, based on Alexa Global Traffic Rank + other ranking tools. Intriguing! Find the most popular music sites, gadget sites, health sites, reference sites, most popular blogs etc  http://www.ebizmba.com/
15 most popular science websites for Aug. 2013: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/science-websites

Since it’s also the International Year of Statistics, here are some interesting sites with info about world stats that would be useful for social science classes.  And without statistics, we would have to search the internet one page at a time! http://www.statistics2013.org/

Gapminder: for a fact-based world view
Stats, graphs, videos. Gapminder World shows the world’s most important trends.
Search for many indicators on the Data page eg. poverty, marriage, democracy, drought, working hours etc  Then visualise them in Gapminder World: http://www.gapminder.org/data/

Real time world stats – population, economics, environment, society and media, food, energy etc.  Great site!

Compares national statistics in graphical formats, using data from sources such as CIA World Factbook, UN, WHO, UNESCO, OECD etc Some of the data may be a bit dated but could be used as a starting point for more research.

IDB: International Database World Statistics
Choose countries and various demographic reports. Compare figures from past years and into the future.

World stats in many categories: A great list of sites.

State of the climate in 2012
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their report on 6 August – an annual “checking on the pulse of the planet”.
The full report: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2012.php