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.

http://email.acer.edu.au/t/ViewEmail/r/60882C5177B09AF02540EF23F30FEDED/F4AF64F35C0EDFC438A555EB6E97B45B

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.

https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/article/stem-learning-international-best-practice

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.

file:///H:/Downloads/Digital%20Landscape%20Report_April%202017.pdf

 

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

http://www.nielsen.com/au/en/insights/news/2017/how-australians-viewing-habits-have-changed-over-the-past-five-years.html

http://www.oztam.com.au/documents/Other/Q4%202016%20AMSR_release.pdf

 

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).

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/03/australias-internet-speeds-are-a-global-embarrassment/

 

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.

http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-why-do-adults-think-video-games-are-bad-76699

http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/5586/1742

 

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.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/is-video-gaming-bad-for-you-the-science-for-and-against/

 

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.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/ica-pcb050217.php

 

NASA EarthKAM

“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.

https://www.earthkam.org/

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

https://cosmosmagazine.com/geoscience/capturing-the-earth-as-art

 

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.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-08/google-street-view-allows-visitors-to-experience-uluru/8599050

 

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).

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/ica-liw051017.php

 

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.

http://blog.emojipedia.org/final-2017-emoji-list/

Wootube maths tutorials and ICT news

Eddy Woo and Wootube maths tutorials

Head Teacher Mathematics at Cherrybrook High in Sydney, young and enthusiastic Mr Woo has been uploading his maths lesson videos to YouTube since 2012. He has attracted 4 million views and many grateful students. He featured on Australian Story this week – Channelling Mr Woo (iView until 24 May).

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-01/teacher-eddie-woo-changing-the-face-of-maths/8472522

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/australian-story/NC1701Q012S00

https://misterwootube.com/

 

Google moves to demote fake news

Following increasing incidents of fake news and other flaws, Google is updating its algorithms and demoting misleading and offensive content in its search results. Algorithms will prioritise more “authoritative” content eg. affiliation with a university or verified news site and the quality of sites that link to the site in question. Users can now use a feedback button to report offensive and false results, including offensive autocomplete results that appear as you type in the search box.

https://www.recode.net/2017/4/25/15415428/google-updating-search-flagging-fake-news

 

China is creating an online encyclopedia

Known as the ‘Chinese Encyclopedia’, the national encyclopedia will go online in 2018. Twenty thousand scholars from universities and research institutes will contribute articles in more than 100 disciplines with 300,000 entries of 1 000 words each. These will showcase China’s science and technology developments, promote historical and cultural heritage and strengthen the core values of socialism.  The goal isn’t to mimic Wikipedia, which is blocked in China (though internet giant Baidu has its own online encyclopedia). “We have the biggest, most high-quality author team in the world. Our goal is not to catch up, but overtake” (Yang Muzhi, editor). China has the world’s largest internet population (720 million users) and some of the world’s most restrictive internet laws. The ‘Great Firewall of China’ is the world’s most most sophisticated censorship tool, blocking ‘unsavoury’ parts of the internet.

https://news.vice.com/story/china-is-recruiting-20000-people-to-write-its-own-wikipedia

 

Facebook ramps up its response to violent videos

Facebook will hire 3000 more people  to review violent videos and other posts (4 500 employees already identify questionable material for removal). Since introducing the live video feature Facebook Live in April 2016, many unacceptable videos have been uploaded. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook wants to respond quickly when someone needs help or when an unacceptable post needs taking down.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/facebook-hire-3000-review-videos-crime-suicide-47178911

 

Amazon is coming….look busy

‘The everything store – fast, vast and low-priced’ – it will shake up Australian retail. Amazon is the fastest company in history to hit $US100 billion in annual sales and leading businesses such as Harvey Norman, Myer and JB Hi-Fi could lose half their earnings to Amazon. Amazon will offer “extreme convenience” and goods could be delivered within an hour of ordering online. Amazon Marketplace, for third-party retailers, will launch this year. Amazon is currently searching for a huge logistics facility.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/fast-vast-and-lowpriced-amazon-to-shake-up-australian-retail/news-story/026ace527679086657bc156735863dc8

 

Fake news and other media news

Fake news

Politicians and the media have created a post-truth world and young people are easily duped. A recent Stanford University study found 80% of middle-school pupils could not tell an online news story apart from a piece of advertising and uni students did little better. The research covered news literacy, as well as students’ ability to judge Facebook and Twitter feeds, comments left in readers’ forums on news sites, blog posts, photographs and other digital messages that shape public opinion. Young people need to be taught digital literacy and learn about source criticism and cognitive bias and learn to mistrust the voice that says something must be right.

https://ed.stanford.edu/news/stanford-researchers-find-students-have-trouble-judging-credibility-information-online

 

News Integrity Initiative – countering fake news

Announced 3 April. Facebook, Mozilla, the Walkley Foundation (Aust.), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) and other tech leaders, non-profits and academics  have formed the $14 million consortium to counter fake news. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism will administer the initiative and plans to make tools to help people be discerning about stories they read online and to increase trust in journalism around the world.

https://www.cnet.com/au/news/facebook-spearheads-14m-consortium-to-counter-fake-news/

 

Fake news, piracy and digital duopoly of Google and Facebook

“Google and Facebook, the 2 most powerful news publishers in human history, have created an ecosystem that is dysfunctional and socially destructive” (Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp). They do not distinguish between the fake and the real because they make a lot of money from both.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/fake-news-piracy-and-digital-duopoly-of-google-and-facebook/news-story/52784483d9650cdbf8624247a590c7f8

 

Google and Facebook should pay for content

Senator Nick Xenophon thinks news organisations, publishers and TV networks should be given the right to charge Facebook and Google a content fee for publishing their stories and videos. He believes protecting traditional media companies is a crucial part of safeguarding democracy and open debate.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/digital/xenophon-bid-to-charge-facebook-and-google-for-content/news-story/d5c5cdf7142b319ad7b8fd7c7bd9fc54

 

2016: the worst year for print

2016 saw decreased revenue from advertising for newspapers and magazines (so much advertising money goes to Google and Facebook). Readership in 2016: Sydney Morning Herald – decreased M-F and Sat; The Australian – increased M-F and decreased Sat; Aust. Geographic – 31% increase; Big Issue – 35.9% increase; New Scientist – 26.8% increase; Time – 18.2% increase; Rolling Stone – 11.5% increase; Frankie – 6.6% increase; Hyper – 6.9% increase.

https://mumbrella.com.au/2016-worst-year-yet-print-industry-new-smi-numbers-reveal-419898

http://www.roymorgan.com/industries/media/readership/newspaper-readership

http://www.roymorgan.com/industries/media/readership/magazine-readership

 

Newspapers – print or digital?

A University of London study reveals that online UK newspapers engage each visitor for less than 30 seconds per day, but readers of print newspapers engage for 40 minutes per day. Time spent reading print and online newspapers doesn’t vary much between countries. In Australia, Fairfax (The Age & SMH) was expected to switch weekday editions to digital only, but is continuing with daily papers ‘for some years yet’.

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/study-national-press-online-readers-average-30-seconds-per-day-versus-40-minutes-for-print/

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/feb/22/fairfax-media-announces-half-year-profit-and-plan-to-keep-printing-newspapers

 

Digital news takes precedence at ABC

ABC News (the largest news organisation in Australia) is planning a major refocus away from TV and radio to concentrate on expanding its digital news output and this could affect the 7pm flagship news and other current affairs programs. The ABC has a declining and ageing audience for news and current affairs (the 7pm news has 82% of viewers aged over 50). Increasingly, younger viewers watch very little live TV and often don’t watch news programs. To reach younger viewers, the news division will increase production of digital videos and launch a mobile-first story-telling unit.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/digital-news-takes-precedence-at-abc/news-story/fc9f8cc6ced53f9dd5127ab3a6bb6cfa

 

Hilarious! Check this broken link and read comments from many well-known politicians eg. Trump: “Do you believe it? The Australian brought thousands of readers here and there’s nothing. Why? I will study this dumb broken link”. Someone had a lot of time on their hands J

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/fake-news-c hildren-of-the-internet-happy-to-live-a-lie/news-story/0045fccc 0724b8f8e1389202aef82c14

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

Some interesting developments – artificial intelligence, robots taking our jobs, disengaged students, Generation Alpha, words of the year, great new films, TV and books….

Previous presentations about What’s New can also be found here.

http://dckclib.wikispaces.com/Technology%2C+media+%26+popular+culture+updates

 

 

ICT news

Ok it had to happen…your bot shopping experience is here! The Kmart Buddy bot will help you with suggestions this Xmas. Search for Buddy in Facebook Messenger. Specify what you want and Buddy presents web pages where you can buy the goods online.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/kmart-buddy-bot-can-it-do-your-christmas-shopping/news-story/9f0b135b5def79e6e6880b39b54dc53f

 

Digital Inclusion Index Report

Produced by Swinburne University of Technology and Telstra in August. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index measures the extent of digital inclusion in Australia – access, affordability and digital ability. No surprise – Australians are spending more time and doing more online. The highest-scoring state is ACT, followed by Victoria. Groups with high digital inclusion include those who speak other languages. Those with low levels of income, education and employment are less included. Indigenous Australians and people with disability have low but improving inclusion. The gender gap is narrow but there is a marked difference in attitudes towards learning new technology. Geography also plays a critical role – inclusion is higher in capital cities than country areas. Access and affordability can be barriers but a person’s digital ability (attitudes, skills, activities, safety concerns) also has a large impact. The Index will help inform and promote policy and programs to enhance digital inclusion in Australia.

http://www.swinburne.edu.au/news/latest-news/2016/08/swinburne-study-measures-australias-digital-divide.php

http://digitalinclusionindex.org.au/

http://digitalinclusionindex.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Australian-Digital-Inclusion-Index-2016.pdf

 

Born Digital 2016

Born Digital 2016, the National and State Libraries Australasia conference in August, explored the collection and preservation of digital content via video interviews with experts. Topics included Science and space; Indigenous voices; Digital lifestyles; Video games.

http://www.nsla.org.au/born-digital-2016

Why it’s important to preserve video games: http://www.nsla.org.au/news/borndigital2016-day-5-play

Truth and history with John Birmingham – libraries need to preserve digital content such as Facebook, blogs and tweets: http://www.nsla.org.au/news/borndigital2016-day-3-truth-and-history

 

The NBN GranTechie Report: the new wave of silver surfers

This Sept 2016 report shows that access to fast broadband, NBN and smart devices is redefining how older Australians are using the internet and debunks myths that they are not using technology to connect and learn. 72% of grandparents say the internet makes them feel more educated, more purposeful (66%) and more connected (85%). 93% go online every day; 79% use technology to stay connected with family and friends; 59% use the internet for online shopping; 72% couldn’t imagine life without the internet. And 49% of 18-34 year olds believe older generations are just as savvy as them when it comes to technology and the internet. Go Nan and Pop!

http://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/documents/The%20nbn%E2%84%A2%20GranTechies%20Report.pdf

https://startsat60.com/stories/tech/grantechies-rise-of-the-silver-surfer

Good books and reviews: https://startsat60.com/category/stories/entertain/books

 

Google Expeditions adds 50 new tours for schools

There are now over 400 virtual reality field trips, with over 100 lesson plans also available. Places include Machu Picchu, Antarctica, coral reefs, the International Space Station and a Viking settlement. Expeditions has been used by over 1 million students and is the app is available in 123 countries. Google Cardboard VR sets make the experience more immersive, but are not essential. Android and iOS.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/peter-cosgrove-launches-google-tour-of-government-house/news-story/560b2534672c74be7174c170ae587fb0

https://blog.google/topics/education/adding-50-new-tours-schools-google-expeditions/

https://support.google.com/edu/expeditions/answer/6335093?hl=en&ref_topic=6334250

 

Google Earth Timelapse

Google has updated Timelapse, their comprehensive picture of the Earth’s changing surface. First released 2013, it now includes 4 additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data from satellites, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. Watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, glaciers in Antarctica and a river in Tibet.

https://blog.google/products/earth/our-most-detailed-view-earth-across-space-and-time/

View Timelapse: https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/

 

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs

This infographic lists verbs used to facilitate technology in the classroom, from lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) to higher-order thinking skills (HOTS).

https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/blooms-digital-taxonomy-verbs

Bloom’s taxonomy and apps for the iPad: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/06/new-visual-on-blooms-digital-taxonomy.html

More Bloom’s and apps: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/11/new-blooms-digital-taxonomy-poster-for.html

 

Netflix shows can now be downloaded and watched offline

Rolled out worldwide last week. Enjoy an offline binge on your smartphones and tablets. Update your Netfix app and choose the downward arrow icon when browsing. Free.

https://www.wired.com/2016/11/netflix-offline-viewing/

 

18 best external storage devices for iPad and iPhone

Very useful when your device is full of photos and videos. Includes Verbatim iStore ‘n’ Go (USB at one end and a Lightning port at the other) and SanDisk Connect Wireless USB flash drive (copies photos automatically straight onto the device).

http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/iphone/best-ways-get-more-storage-for-your-iphone-or-ipad-external-devices-3579792/

Lexar JumpDrive (USB and Lightning connectors): http://www.lexar.com/products/usb-flash-drives/Lexar-JumpDrive-M20i-USB-3-flash-drive.html

 

ICT news

Mobile web browsing overtakes desktop browsing for the first time

Not really surprising – but now it’s official. Browsing on smartphones and tablets now accounts for 51.3% of worldwide web browsing (StatCounter). However, in Australia, desktop accounts for 55.1% of browsing; 58% in the US and 55.6% in the UK. This will only decrease. Mobile-friendly websites are now essential and Google recently made a change making mobile search potentially more up to date than desktop.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/02/mobile-web-browsing-desktop-smartphones-tablets

 

Google’s desktop search could be out of date

Google has now begun to push mobile search and desktop searches could end up slightly out of date compared to mobile searches. Google is splitting its search index into 2 versions – a rapidly updated mobile version and a separate search for the desktop.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/14/google-desktop-search-out-of-date-mobile

 

Nielsen Digital Landscape Report

Monthly summaries of Australian online behaviour. Latest report September.  19.8 million people actively surfing, with ages 50+ having the largest percentage online (30.27%). Top 10 brands: 1. Google 2. Facebook 3. YouTube 4. MSN/Bing/Skype 5. Apple 6. eBay 7. Microsoft 8. Yahoo7 9. Wikipedia 10. Instagram. Top brands for streaming: 1. YouTube 2. Facebook 3. Vevo 4. News.com.au (9.ABC).  Men outnumber women for streaming: 7.35 million men vs 6.34 million women.

file:///H:/Downloads/Digital%20Landscape%20September%202016.pdf

http://digitalmeasurement.nielsen.com/digitalmedialandscape/surfing_report.html

 

American Academy of Pediatrics lifts ‘No screens under 2’ rule

Last month the 1999 rule was lifted. The focus has shifted from what is on the screen to who else is in the room. For babies under 18 mths, no screens are best – except for live video chat. From 15 mths to 2 yrs, children may learn new words from educational media, but only if parents are watching alongside them. Treating videos or apps like a picture book is best. Preschoolers aged 2 to 5 have the ability to transfer knowledge from screens to the real world.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/10/21/498550475/american-academy-of-pediatrics-lifts-no-screens-under-2-rule

 

Hour of Code 5 December

ABC and Code Club Aust. have set a challenge for students to make their own video game using Scratch.

http://splash.abc.net.au/res/nl/20161118/STEM_news/STEM_news_20161118.html

60 min. tutorials for all ages: https://code.org/learn

 

Zuckerberg to invest $4bn in health

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his pediatrician wife Priscilla Chan will invest nearly $AU4 billion over the next 10 years to build technology that can speed up research on disease. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC will initially create the Biohub research lab in San Francisco, which will create tools for researchers such as a cell atlas (a map of the different human cell types). Other tools could include a chip to diagnose disease and using machine learning to analyse large databases of cancer genomes. Zuckerberg and Chan have promised to give away 99% of their wealth over their lifetimes via their Initiative – one of the world’s largest philanthropic initiatives. They have also created Chan Zuckerberg Science.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/zuckerberg-family-fund-to-invest-4bn-in-research-technology/news-story/6ac9a9c2235e1318e6e9abb568311240

 

Google Play Music

Music streaming, as with movie/TV streaming, is the most popular way of listening to music. Google Play Music is now smarter and easier to use. It uses machine learning and a diverse range of datasets connected to your Google account – search history, maps, YouTube etc – to personalise your music. It then mixes in signals like location, activity, and the weather along with hand-picked playlists to give you music that you like. Started last week in 62 countries for Android, iOS and the web. Workout music as you enter the gym; a sunset soundtrack at dusk….

https://blog.google/products/google-play/introducing-the-new-google-play-music/

 

Google self-driving car project

Monthly report Oct 2016. 24 Lexus SUVs on the road along with 34 prototype vehicles. Over 2.23 million miles  driven in autonomous mode and Google cars are experts at 3-point turns.

https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//selfdrivingcar/files/reports/report-1016.pdf

 

Failed Google projects

Google has been involved in a host of projects – not all of them successful. These projects may soon cease development: Project Wing (delivery drones); Verily smart lenses (measure diabetic glucose levels via eye tears); Google Glass (sales were stopped in 2015 and social media data erased). Autonomous cars may not be available till 2025.

http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/with-so-many-failing-x-projects-its-time-for-google-to-get-back-to-basics-346227.html

 

Google to ban fake news sites from ads

Advertising tools will be closed to websites that promote fake news. Fake news easily goes viral.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/14/13630722/google-fake-news-advertising-ban-2016-us-election

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

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 and book news

Laptops a scandalous waste of money?

Sydney Grammar School has banned students from bringing laptops to school. Principal John Vallance stated “We find that having laptops or iPads in the classroom inhibit conversation — it’s distracting”. He believes in the benefits of a good teacher and a motivating group of classmates. Students will still have access to computers in labs and can use laptops for homework. Students must handwrite assignments until Year 10.

http://www.crn.com.au/News/417477,sydney-school-bans-laptops-labels-them-scandalous-waste-of-money.aspx#ixzz44XjzXPSb

 

Minecraft: the video game that builds kids’ brain cells

With 100 million users, Minecraft helps kids learn in an open-ended, game-based environment – programming, science, maths, architecture, engineering, art, languages and history. It fosters skills of creativity, curiosity, exploration and teamwork. Common Sense Media gives Minecraft a top “learning” score. WesterosCraft, built by hundreds of contributors over 3 years, could be the most elaborate Minecraft mod so far, recreating the Game of Thrones realm. The future? Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset can overlay Minecraft blocks in real-world surroundings.

Good article with videos: http://www.cnet.com/special-reports/minecraft/mindcraft-helping-students-learn

 

Cognitive computing and IBM’s supercomputer Watson

Last year IBM made 19 of Watson’s cognitive services available to the public, including natural language processing. The first Australian Watson Client Experience Centre was opened in Melbourne in October 2015. Australian firm MediaConnect is now using Watson to analyse the writing interests of Australian journalists by entering up to 50 000 stories a day from online news sources into the supercomputer. Watson then analyses the data and presents a taxonomy of journalists and the topics that interest them. This will help automate the delivery of media releases to journalists – bots will select information to be sent to each journalist based on their interests.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/personal-technology/mediaconnect-tech-conference-nbn-stem-and-watts-what/news-story/583436bba2a6822eb7f3f0e6f38aaddd

https://developer.ibm.com/watson/

 

Google and Facebook – should they pay old media for content?

Google and Facebook have made fortunes from advertising by not paying for content, accelerating the decline of old media, who cannot make enough money from advertising and sales to be profitable. Google and Facebook will make $4 to $5 billion from ads this year in Australia (35-40% of the total pool of ad revenue). Even popular digital publishers such as Buzzfeed and Daily Mail Online are concerned about how to raise enough revenue. The European Union is examining whether services such as Google News should pay to display article snippets. Why should newspaper publishers have to provide content for free?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/opinion/google-facebook-need-to-pay-old-media-for-content/news-story/1c39a0dac14b816a4b5c5ef88ca8340d

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/digital/google-news-rejects-paying-publishers-for-content/news-story/68c6cfd511b265f65eff494416e0d95f

 

Music streaming tops revenue charts in US

For the first time, streaming is the top money-maker for the recorded music business in the US. Paid subscriptions to streaming services (eg. Spotify) narrowly beat revenue from digital downloads (eg.iTunes). CD sales and digital download revenue decreased. Sales of vinyl increased by nearly a third, reaching 1988 levels before CDs emerged. Japan and Germany (world’s 2nd and 3rd largest music markets) are CD strongholds. Spotify has 30 million paying subscribers across 58 countries.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2016/3/23/technology/streaming-tops-revenue-charts

 

Google Android most popular

Google’s Android operating system was used by roughly 54 percent of mobile devices sold in Australia in December, placing it ahead of Apple iOS at 38 percent. Rumours also persist that Google will merge Chrome and Android operating systems in 2017.
http://www.crn.com.au/News/414388,bonza-google-adds-aussie-twang-to-voice-search.aspx

http://www.crn.com.au/News/411273,google-to-merge-chrome-and-android-say-reports.aspx

 

The Book Depository now in Australia

Amazon’s The Book Depository is entering the Australian market. 25 000 Australian titles will be added and delivery time will reduce to a few hours, via a delivery partner in Melbourne.  However, Tony Nash, CEO of Aust’s biggest online book retailer Booktopia, is not fazed and expects Booktopia sales to rise from $52 million a year ago to $80 million in 2016 after the acquisition of Bookworld in 2015. Australian online book sales have risen 15.5% a year. The number of print book sales is rising; ebooks have 20% of the market.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/amazon-steps-up-australian-book-sales-through-the-book-depository-20160201-gmitij.html

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/amazons-book-depository-stocking-up-on-australian-books-20160202-gmjlfl.html

 

Thriving societies produce great books: can Australia keep up?

What is Australia doing to protect its publishing industry? Should we allow parallel imports? Will cheaper books increase the amount of reading?

http://theconversation.com/friday-essay-thriving-societies-produce-great-books-can-australia-keep-up-54473

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/