National Reconciliation Week

Some resources for all ages to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority (ACARA) and also for National Reconciliation Week.


National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June

Reconciliation is about building better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. This year’s theme is Our History, Our Story, Our Future.

Reconciliation Australia also links to:

Share Our Pride –  an insight into the history, lives and cultures of Australia’s First People.

Recognise – the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and to ensure that it is free from racial discrimination.


Some useful videos for National Reconciliation Week:


What is National Reconciliation Week – NITV (4 min.):

2016 National Reconciliation Week (1 min.):

Who we are (8 min.) – follows the lives of 6 exceptional young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who share their stories about their families and communities

Journalist Stan Grant’s powerful speech about indigenous history in Australia (8 min.):



National Indigenous Television informs, educates and entertains its indigenous and non-indigenous audiences about the issues that matter the most to indigenous Australians. Great documentaries, news, personal accounts and perspectives.  Includes Songlines on Screen (stories of indigenous peoples’ connection to land); The point with Stan Grant (current affairs through the lens of indigenous people); Jarjums (children’s shows).

20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia:

Colour theory season 3 – hosted by artist Tony Albert, starts 12 June. Explores the work of 5 indigenous contemporary artists.

Some indigenous works from Google Art Project:


SBS On Demand

A changing selection of films, documentaries and newsclips. Films with indigenous themes and issues include: Milpirri, The chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Jedda, Clouded history, The fringe dwellers, Yolngu boy, Manganinnie, When the natives got restless, Toomelah, North of Capricorn. You can also search for “indigenous” and “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” programs.


Creative Spirits

“Learn about contemporary Aboriginal culture without agenda”. Many resources in many areas including history, arts, people, economy, law and justice, politics and media, spirituality. “Creative Spirits is an amazing collection of history and an inspiring representation of Aboriginal culture”—Michele Hetherington, Aboriginal woman from NSW.

Teacher and student resources: books, movies, music, TV and radio, infographics…


There are some excellent resources listed on the Reconciliation Australia site, including these below:




State of Reconciliation in Australia Report (2016) – Highlights what has been achieved under the 5 dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance and makes recommendations for the progress of reconciliation.


Talking to my country (2016) – Stan Grant. “An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity…. what it means to be Australian; the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an Aboriginal man and what racism really means in this country”.


Paddy’s road: life stories of Patrick Dodson (2003) – Kevin Keeffe. Explores “the life and political, cultural and spiritual beliefs of Australia’s first Aboriginal Catholic priest, land rights activist, Royal Commissioner and founder of Australia’s reconciliation movement. From the moment of colonisation in the Kimberley to the era of native title, from pearling to pastoralism, through missions and institutions, this Aboriginal family has survived an uncaring and intrusive state system”. Dodson is now a senator in WA.


Jandamarra (2013) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The epic and tragic story of Jandamarra, indigenous hero of the Kimberley. “To the settlers, he was an outlaw to be hunted. To the Bunuba, he was a courageous defender of his country. A unique insight into an extraordinary man and a dark but important part of Australia’s frontier history. Jandamarra is story for all Australians”.


Boomerang and bat: the story of the real First Eleven (2016) – Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton. The first Australian cricket team to tour England in 1868 was a group of Aboriginal stockmen. Led by Johnny Mullagh, they wore caps embroidered with a boomerang and a bat and impressed crowds with their exceptional skill.


Stories for Simon (2015) – Lisa Miranda Sarzin. “When Simon unwraps a beautiful boomerang wrapped in an old newspaper, he learns of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. Who were the Stolen Generations and how can saying ‘sorry’ help? Through a new friendship and a magnificent collection of stories, Simon gains a deep appreciation of the past and a positive vision for the future”.




Films and TV


Cleverman – ABC 6 part series begins 2 June.  Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell with an 80 % indigenous cast. In the near future, society fears a minority group living among them, as one young man struggles with his own power and the responsibility to unite this divided world. The series fuses an Orwellian/sci-fi/ superhero world with Dreaming stories. Can’t wait to see this!


Ready for this (2016) – ABC3 teen drama  12 episodes. Follows 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers, all elite in their own field, who have come to Sydney to pursue their dreams, living at performance school Arcadia House and dealing with the challenges of growing up. From the producers of Dance Academy and Redfern Now.


Mugu kids – NITV. Hosted by indigenous actor, writer and director Jub Clerc. The program highlights a number of indigenous languages, including the Arrente language of Alice Springs and Hermannsburg, the Gumbaynggirr language of Nambucca on the coast of New South Wales, and the Gubbi Gubbi language from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Each episode covers a different topic, such as feelings, animals, dreaming and school.


Films and TV:


Black Screen

Part of the National Film and Sound Archive – lends DVDs of contemporary indigenous films to individuals and organisations for use at screening events.

More good films

Some more good films…..sci-fi, fantasy, human rights, environment, history, animated…..



Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell. Created by Ryan Griffen. Stars Hunter Page-Lochard , Rob Collins, Deborah Mailman, Jack Charles, Robyn Nevin. This Australian 6 part sci-fi drama looks excellent. In the near future, creatures from ancient mythology – the Hairypeople – live amongst humans in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy  them. Their only refuge is to live in The Zone. The Hairies live for more than 200 years and have a knowledge of land, culture and the past. Two estranged indigenous brothers know that there is one chosen being – the Cleverman – who has the power to bring the worlds of humans and Hairypeople back together before everything is destroyed.


In indigenous culture, the Cleverman is a conduit between The Dreaming and this world. The Hairypeople were inspired by identities in many stories across the country and creator Griffen consulted with elders from many communities. They were designed by Jake Nash, production designer for Bangarra dance company, and built by Weta Workshop (Lord of the rings) in New Zealand. Screens ABC1 and iview on 2 June.


“Cleverman is a thrilling and sophisticated drama filled with conflict, unrest and smart storytelling. The show presents an allegorical view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on our world right now — our collective treatment of minority groups and what common values we share that make us a society.” – Joel Stillerman.

“Cleverman marks a new era for Australia’s production sector, inviting audiences to experience a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama. With an 80% Indigenous cast, Cleverman sets the benchmark for diversity on Australian television and its contemporary themes set in the near future will resonate widely amongst diverse audiences” – Sally Riley, Head of Indigenous, ABC TV.


Midnight special

Science fiction-drama. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst. A father and son flee a religious cult in Texas, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special otherworldly powers. “Jangling, darkly addictive and super-mysterious…” -Tim Robey. Sounds intriguing! Rated M. Out now.


Free state of Jones

Directed by Gary Ross. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Brendan Gleeson. Based on the life of Southern farmer Newton Knight, who, after surviving an American Civil War battle, led a group of farmers and slaves in an armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Mississippi. He later married a former slave and established a unique mixed community in the south which seceded from the Confederacy – the Free State of Jones. Opens June.


Alice through the looking glass

Directed by James Bobin and produced by Tim Burton; sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, the voices of Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Time (a part human, part clock creature). After travelling for 3 years, Alice returns to Underland via a magical looking glass and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Rated PG. Opens May.



Fantasy adventure directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl. Stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rafe Spall. Sophie befriends the Big Friendly Giant who is treated as an outcast by other giants because he refuses to eat children. Trailer looks amazing! Opens July.


Finding Dory

Sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Written and directed again by Andrew Stanton. Stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brookes. After suddenly recalling her childhood memories, Dory sets out with Nemo and Marlin to find her family in the ocean near California. The film’s ending was revised after executives viewed Blackfish (orcas in captivity) and characters now have an option to leave a marine park. Nemo is now voiced by a younger actor than the original. Opens June.


The legend of Tarzan

Directed by David Yates. Stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson. After living in London, Tarzan returns to his jungle home to investigate activities at a mining camp. Rated PG-13. Opens July.


Kubo and the two strings

Animated fantasy action-comedy. Directed by Travis Knight. Stars Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara. In ancient Japan, a spirit from the past ignites an old vendetta. Gods and monsters chase young Kubo, who must locate a magical suit of armour once worn by his legendary Samurai father. Opens August.


And there’s also Captain America: Civil war and X-Men: Apocalypse. And that means battle scenes. Lots of them. Early reviews of X-Men say that it has reverted to too much CGI destruction and loss of life, rather than developing the humanity of the superheroes. Disappointing, as there is a great cast – James McEvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Lawrence. Captain America: Civil War has received great reviews, as the superheroes question their powers and the collateral damage they have caused. And if you haven’t seen Deadpool….you must…hilarious…but forget about Batman vs Superman.

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.

Star Wars and and good films

Lots of good films….useful for various subject areas…..


Star Wars: Episode VII – The force awakens

Opens 17 Dec. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983). Widely rumoured to feature the offspring of Han Solo and Leia. Directed by J.J. Abrams (co-writer with Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Eps V and VI). Stars Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker??, Chewbacca and Dark Helmet. See below for all the Star Wars you can eat….trailers, Luke Skywalker conspiracy theories, lightsabers, waffles.….

The movie will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16, 2016), Star Wars: Episode VIII (26 May 2017) and the Han Solo  anthology movie (25 May, 2018). No release dates have been announced for Star Wars: Episode IX.

New trailer:

Luke Skywalker conspiracy theories:


Star wars and has partnered with Disney and Lucasfilm for its Hour of Code event with a tutorial featuring characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The online lesson will teach kids how to build their own computer game, featuring characters Princess Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as new characters, Rey and BB-8. The tutorial will be available for free in 180 countries, translated into more than 400 languages and will be smartphone and tablet-friendly.’s Hour of Code takes place every year during US Computer Science Education Week 7-13 December 2015. The goal is to get as many people as possible to commit to an hour of coding. Since its launch last year, more than 5 million students from around the world have enrolled in’s online platform. In 2014, the Hour of Code tutorial featured characters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” and was completed more than 13 million times. This year’s tutorial will feature leading female characters from Star Wars Ep. VII.


He named me Malala

In cinemas now. Rated PG. Directed by Davis Guggenheim. Stars Malala Yousafzai, “the girl who dared to learn” and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner (at 17). The film charts her determination to recover from the Taliban shooting in Pakistan in 2012 as she headed to school on a bus, defying Taliban orders forbidding girls to attend school. Now she is an advocate for the education of young women globally. The film also shows the strong influence of her family, especially her father Ziauddin. “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” – Malala.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

The final instalment of the 4 part series opens 19 Nov. Katniss and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against evil President Snow and the Capitol. Directed by Francis Lawrence. Stars Jennifer Lawrence and Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last role. The film has received very positive reviews from early critics. There is a possibility of a future prequel or sequel, even though all the books have now been filmed.



Fantastic beasts and where to find them

Fantasy drama film, the first of a trilogy, inspired by the book by J.K. Rowling – a spin-off of the Harry Potter film series. It is Rowling’s screenwriting debut. Stars Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell. When a number of dangerous creatures escape from Newt Scamander’s briefcase at a Magical Congress in New York in 1926, there is a sharp increase in tension between magical and non-magical peoples (No-Maj….not Muggles). Opens Nov 2016.


Finding Dory

The sequel to Finding Nemo will premier in June 2016. Written and directed by Andrew Stanton (who created Finding Nemo). Stars Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton.

Dory discovers where she came from and reunites with her family, getting a better understanding of who she is and why she is. The film has a central conservation theme and Pixar changed the film’s ending after seeing the powerful documentary Blackfish, which examined the inhuman treatment of orcas at Seaworld.

Trailer just released:


Star Trek – new TV series

Due in 2017. This will the 6th version of the show, which began in 1966 with various versions being made for over 39 years, along with 12 films. All of them have been successful….well you can’t beat Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard IMHO. The next movie will be Star Trek: beyond, to be released in July 2016. Meanwhile, William Shatner, now aged 84, sets his sights on Star Trek: the musical to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek in 2016!


Pride and prejudice and zombies

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie-slaying man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a zombie-hunter wife. The film is based on the 2009 mash-up novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, which combines P&P and zombie fiction.  Stars Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith. Directed by Burr Steers. Rated PG. Opens Feb 2016.

According to the author, the original text was well-suited for use as a zombie horror story: “You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides . . . It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence”. Zombies in P&P alter the plot in various ways – couriers are eaten, characters are judged on their zombie-fighting abilities and the Bennet sisters are trained in zombie-slaying skills. Of course, Elizabeth clashes with the haughty monster-hunter Mr Darcy, but later they fight together to defeat the evil zombies and live happily ever after.


And there’s always Bond, James Bond – in Spectre – out now. Leigh Paatsch says “devotees will be satisfied after feasting on this whopping chunk of spy candy” J

ICT news

Mapping the future: the future of the internet

The World Economic Forum has many interesting articles about world trends – great for global studies classes. By 2020, there will be 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things – all connected to the web, giving and receiving information. Who should oversee our online world? Should core infrastructure remain in Western institutions? Do the real dangers of the internet lie with the emergence of monolithic platforms eg. Google, Facebook? Can existing laws about copyright, libel, data protection and freedom of expression be effectively enforced online?


“The internet will disappear”

Google chairman Eric Schmidt states that the internet’s presence will become so all-encompassing that we won’t even be aware it’s there. With devices, sensors, wearables etc, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be highly personalised & interactive.

Two thirds of the world is not connected to the internet. You have probably seen the ads recently on TV – (a non-profit organisation founded by Mark Zuckerberg) will bring the internet to developing nations, in partnership with local carriers. It was launched on Android phones in Colombia and Ghana in January and India in February; also available in Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Users have free access to websites and services – news, local info, education, books, health info; sport, job search. Services include BBC News, Wikipedia, Facebook, Wattpad.


Facebook suicide prevention

Facebook has 1.4 billion users. Working with mental health organisations, Facebook will add new tools in the US (and then globally) to assist users who express suicidal thoughts. If someone posts something that indicates self-harm and it is reported to Facebook, they will be sent messages that encourage them to speak with a mental health expert and offered support. Resources will also be offered to those who flag the posts.


What are the most important features of digital content to improve student learning?

Center for Digital Education Survey (2014). 1. Enables interaction among students or between students and teachers (44%) 2. Is adaptive or personalised (22%) 3. Is project or problem-based (16%) 4. Is game-based (12%) 5. Includes video (6%).


Apple iWork

Apple is to challenge Office 365 and Google Apps by offering their productivity suite (Pages, Numbers , Keynote and 1GB of storage) free to Android and Windows users via a browser.


Most anticipated technology of 2015

The Apple Watch has been launched (available late April); USB 3.1 Type C – faster, reversible, no “right way up” – yay!; lightning accessories for Apple’s port eg. wireless speakers; Windows 10; self-driving cars; Oculus Rift virtual reality headset; Sony Project Morpheus (VR for Playstation)…..


Top 10 emerging technologies of 2015

Next-generation robotics; emergent artificial intelligence; “sense and avoid” drones; digital genome….


No punctuation is funnier

What. Vs What? A written statement can be funnier when there isn’t any punctuation. The informality and open structure of text messaging has led to stylistic changes – full stops, commas, capitals and other punctuation are used infrequently, especially on Twitter. It is a style that can remove emotion from a sentence or present a feigned nonchalance.

Good films

Some good films – excellent for sci-fi, physics, sociology, psychology, history and just for fun…



Currently screening. Directed by Christopher Nolan (Inception, Batman, The Prestige). Stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine. A team of explorers and scientists leave a resource-depleted Earth and travel through a wormhole in search of a new habitable planet. Physicist Kip Thorne, an expert in Einstein’s general theory of relativity, was the scientific consultant and executive producer, ensuring that depictions of wormholes and relativity were as accurate as possible. Computer effects artists based the visual effects on Thorne’s equations and their work provided Thorne with new insight into black holes that will lead to 2 scientific papers (one in astrophysics; one in computer graphics). Music score by Hans Zimmer.

4 and a half stars from David and 3 from Margaret. David: “…a tremendously exciting space adventure …and also a rich and thoughtful meditation on time and space and gravity”.

“Brainy, barmy and beautiful to behold … a mind-bending opera of space and time with a soul wrapped up in all the science” (James Dyer – Empire mag).


The imitation game

Directed by Morten Tyldum. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley. Adapted from the novel Alan Turing: the enigma by Andrew Hodges. Based on the true story of English mathematician, logician and computer scientist Alan Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Bletchley Park, who helped crack the German Enigma code during WW2. As well as being a espionage thriller, the film follows  Turing’s life from school until his untimely death and how he was forced to hide his homosexuality. Opens 1 Jan 2015.

Viewers are impressed, especially with Cumberbatch – an Oscar-worthy film:


Turing is credited as being the inventor of the digital computer, his body of work helped form the basis for artificial intelligence and he made major contributions to cognitive science, artificial life and mathematics. Turing’s story is tragic – in 1952 he was arrested and tried for homosexuality, which was then a criminal offence, and lost his security clearance. He was sentenced to 12 months of hormone “therapy” to “treat” his homosexuality and died in 1954, probably by suicide. Prime Minister Gordon Brown officially apologised in 2009 and Queen Elizabeth issued a formal pardon in 2013. The government however, will not provide posthumous pardons for the other 49 000 men also sentenced under the law.


Particle fever

Directed by Mark Levinson, the documentary was shot over 7 years. It follows the inside story of 6 physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland and their discovery of the elusive Higgs boson –  the last undetected particle predicted by the Big Bang Theory. Reviewers have praised the film for making theoretical arguments comprehensible and for making scientific experiments thrilling – and for making particle physicists seem human! Women physicists also feature strongly. Opens 27 Nov 2014. 5 stars from the NY Times:


The 100 best sci-fi movies

An excellent site – chosen by sci-fi experts, filmmakers, sci-fi writers, film critics and scientists. Includes a summary, best quote, big idea and trailer for each film, with comments from the experts and other contributors. Good site for a class discussion on the top 10 etc Here’s some from the top 10 – Blade runner, Brazil, Metropolis, 2001, The terminator, Alien,  Star wars. Maybe you can guess #1? But Iron Man at #70?!

Quick list:


Superhero comic book movies from now till 2019!

Superhero films with many crossover characters will fill cinemas over the next 5 years. Marvel/Disney has announced 9 movies and Warner/DC Comics has announced 10 interlinked superhero films. Get ready for Captain America 3, Ant-Man, Dr Strange, Thor 3, Black Panther, The Avengers 3, Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash..…Includes Inhumans  – descendants of prehistoric genetic experiments who have lived apart from humans ever since using their own advanced technologies. Warner Bros also announced 3 Lego movies and 3 Harry Potter spinoffs – based on J.K. Rowling’s novella Fantastic beasts and where to find them. She is also writing the screenplays. Who will knock The Avengers and The Dark Knight from the top of the superhero box office charts?

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:
View the Top 100 Documentaries:
Also includes featured articles:

How good is the internet?!

In 2014, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, together with Elon University, are releasing 8 reports to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.


14 May: The Internet of Things will thrive by 2025

Many experts believe the growth of the Internet of Things and embedded and wearable devices will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025. Networking of everything and everyone continues through the proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, massive data centres, tagging and analytical mapping of physical and social realms. People receive information from portable, wearable & implantable technologies.


There will be sensors that provide patients’ vital signs; devices giving feedback on our fitness; smart cities with GPS readouts for traffic and pollution; sensored roads & infrastructure that provide alerts when repairs are needed; smartphone apps for adjusting household heating etc; readings from forests, oceans, soil, resources.  Voice and touch commands will increase. However, there will also be privacy concerns with higher levels of profiling and targeting, as well as equity issues. Disruption of business models will occur – notably in finance, entertainment, publishing and education. But maintaining all this? “We will live in a world where many things won’t work and nobody will know how to fix them.” (gulp) – Howard Rheingold.


11 March: Digital life in 2025

Experts predict the Internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill.

Good things:

Effortless information sharing; more global relationships and less ignorance; Internet of Things; augmented reality; political awareness facilitated with more uprisings (Arab Spring); increased awareness of  massive disparities in health care, clear water, education, food, and human rights. The internet may even become “the internets”, with separate channels and layers of privacy.

An internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers – “the biggest impact on the world will be universal access to all human knowledge” (Hal Varian, Google). He states that cheap mobile devices and tools such as the Khan Academy will have a huge impact on literacy & numeracy. Access to the internet will be a human right and with global perspectives, there will be breakthroughs in many issues such as poverty, inequality and the environment (Tiffany Shlain).

Bad things:

Equity issues; loss of privacy; commonplace cyber-terrorism; mob mentality; governments will try to assert political and social control;  people will lose their grounding in the realities of life and work; too many superficial interactions (not face-to-face). Privacy may end up being only for the privileged. The increasing proportion of non face-to-face online human interactions will lead to less respect and integrity in our relations (Bob Briscoe). 


27 Feb: The web at 25 in the US

The overall verdict: The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual users.

Personally – 90% say it has been good; 6% bad; 3% both. For society – 76% good; 15% bad; 8% both.

The internet would be harder to give up then mobile phones, TV, email, landlines and social media. Most internet users thought online communication had strengthened their relationships and that the environment was kind.


Upcoming reports – net access & copyright; killer apps in the gigabit age; cyber attacks; security and privacy; artificial intelligence and robotics; corporations most likely to succeed:


Imagining the Internet

Insights into the internet’s future and past:

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:

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
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?

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:


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.