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.


National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week

Some resources for all ages for National Reconciliation Week, which starts tomorrow, and NAIDOC Week in July..….


National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June and NAIDOC Week 2 July – 9 July

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 is also the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum which voted to change how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were referred to in the Constitution, so that laws could be made for them. It is also 25 years since the High Court’s Mabo decision which granted land rights to Torres Strait Islander Eddie Mabo and supported native title. This year’s theme is Let’s take the next steps. The NAIDOC Week theme is Our languages matter, which celebrates the role of indigenous languages  in cultural identity, history and spirituality.



AIATSIS map of indigenous Australia (languages and groups): http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/default.htm


Reconciliation Australia also links to:

Share Our Pride –  clearly presented information 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. video and slides): http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/explainer/what-national-reconciliation-week

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxPWd_0z3Ng

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



Right wrongs – new resource

This excellent resource from the ABC, AIATSIS and NSLA has just been released. Short videos and information explore developments since the 1967 referendum which changed how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were referred to in the constitution. Sections include: Controlled but not counted; Fighting for change; An extraordinary vote; The legacy; Where to now?



ABC Splash

Lots of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, including videos about indigenous languages. Also includes the Sorry Day digibook and 1967 referendum digibook.



ABC Indigenous

Access the latest Indigenous stories and features from ABC Radio, News & Current Affairs, TV and iview.



Counted (ABC TV and iview 26/5/17, 7.30pm)

Stan Grant takes us on his own personal journey & speaks to the heroes of the 1967 referendum & their grandchildren.



First Nations Convention

300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are gathering at Uluru this week to discuss how to achieve constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians. It appears likely that there will be a consensus on the need for meaningful reform such as a prohibition on racial discrimination, an elected body with a role in laws affecting indigenous peoples and support for a treaty.



NITV – National Indigenous Television

Informs, educates and entertains its indigenous and non-indigenous audiences. Great documentaries, news, personal accounts and perspectives.


Explore topics and link to videos: Social issues, Cultures, Arts, Social Justice… http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/topics

NITV programs include:

NITV programs on demand: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/channels/nitv

Movies on NITV: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/movies/nitv-movies

The point: Current affairs and news for all Australians, with indigenous perspectives. Hosts include Karla Grant and Rae Johnston, acclaimed tech and pop culture journalist.  http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/the-point

Custodians: 5 minute profiles of Aboriginal traditional  owners, showcasing their country. http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/search/custodians

Our stories: Emerging filmmakers from regional and remote areas share stories of their life, history, culture and communities. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/our-stories

Bushwhacked: 2 young guys explore remote corners of Australia in search of weird and wacky creatures. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/jarjums

The Dreaming: Animated stories explained by elders. http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/677413443508/the-dreaming-series-1-ep-24

Little J and Big Cuz: Provides a young indigenous audience with ‘relatable’ characters and offers an insight into traditional Aboriginal culture, country and language. Includes online educational games. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/little-j-and-big-cuz

First contact: Ray Martin takes 6 well-known Australians on a journey where they explore present-day Aboriginal society. http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/first-contact http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/815835715711/first-contact

20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2015/03/06/20-inspiring-black-women-who-have-changed-australia

Indigenous languages at risk: 10 minute podcast. Australia’s indigenous languages could be completely wiped out by 2050 according to experts. The number of traditional languages has dropped from 250 to 120 over the last two hundred years.


Indigenous works from Google Art Project: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/31/googles-art-project-brings-indigenous-talent-digital-world


SBS On Demand

A changing selection of films, documentaries and newsclips. Search for “indigenous” 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…



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.




Knowledge of life: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia (2015) – Kaye Price (ed.) Investigates history, reconciliation, law, art, enterprise, health, education, literature, sport and human rights. The authors of each chapter are indigenous and experts in their field. Each chapter begins with biographical information about the author.

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. https://www.reconciliation.org.au/the-state-of-reconciliation-in-australia-report/

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”.

Excellent book list: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-reading_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf

Excellent film and TV list: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-viewing_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf

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.




Good films and TV

Some good films and TV shows coming up – useful for various curriculum areas…


Jasper Jones

Based on the acclaimed novel by Craig Silvey. Directed by indigenous director Rachel Perkins; screenplay by Craig Silvey. Stars Levi Miller, Aaron McGrath, Toni Collette. A young boy and his friend try to solve the mysterious death of a young girl in their country town. Opens 2 March.


Review: https://dailyreview.com.au/jasper-jones-movie-review/55573/


Wake in fright

Based on the book by Kenneth Cook. 2 part series to be directed by Kriv Stenders – a remake of the cult 1971 film, reimagined for new viewers. A young schoolteacher finds himself marooned in a small mining town where a dangerous series of events render him a broken and desperate man.



Picnic at Hanging Rock

6 part adaptation based on the novel by Joan Lindsay. Cast: Natalie Dormer, Yael Stone, Samara Weaving. Still set in 1900, the story will give new forms to the iconic characters.



ABC shows in 2017

Lots of great upcoming programs relevant to the curriculum: http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2016/11/2017-upfronts-abc-highlights.html


ABC programs include:


Blue water empire

3 part series. Stars Jack Thompson, Damian Walshe-Howling and Aaron Fa’aoso. Combines drama with archival footage, digital effects and key interviews, to explore how Torres Strait Islanders have sustained their cultural heritage throughout the impact of 200 years of European settlement. The series starts in traditional times, through to the arrival of missionaries, pearling and WW2, to contemporary history and politics, resistance and racism.



The warriors

Two young indigenous football players from the country are chosen to play in the big league in Melbourne, where their lives are turned upside down.


Bullied presented by Ian Thorpe and Cyberhate with Tara Moss

Airs as part of National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence Fri 17 March. Ian Thorpe helps schoolchildren handle real-life situations and provides mentorship for victims and perpetrators. Tara Moss investigates the effects of cyberhate.


My Year 12 life

14 students were given cameras to document their lives during Year 12 in 2016.



Series 2. Stars Hunter Lochard-Page. Inspired by Aboriginal Dreaming stories and superheroes from pop culture. Set in a futuristic Australia, the newly emerged hero seeks to harness his power and protect others, fighting injustice to the Hairies.


Davis Stratton’s stories of Australian cinema

3 parts. Charts the story of Australian cinema and its creators, via David’s personal reflections and interviews.


Art bites

New series of arts docos. Includes Shock art, The glass bedroom (Instagram artists), The wanderers (street artists).


Returning ABC shows

Anh’s brush with fame, Glitch, Cleverman, Stop laughing this is serious, You can’t ask that


iView, ABC News

All ABC channels are live streamed on iView. The ABC will double its commitment to digital-first content, with more than 200 hours made especially for iView. ABC News 24 is now ABC News.


The Oscars

Ceremony 26 Feb. There are some good films for various curriculum areas.

All nominees: http://oscar.go.com/nominees


Best picture nominees include:



Based on the book A long way home by Saroo Brierley. Directed by Garth Davies. Stars Dev Patel. Amazing and very moving biographical story of Saroo Brierley, who tries to find his birth family in India. Rated PG.



Hidden figures

Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Directed by Theodore Melfi. Stars Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer. True story about a team of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role at NASA in the early years of the space program. Great for STEM, civil rights, sociology and gender studies. Rated PG.

Review: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/feb/21/why-hidden-figures-should-win-the-best-picture-oscar



Hacksaw Ridge

Directed by Mel Gibson. Stars Andrew Garfield. The true story of pacifist medic Desmond Doss, who was the only frontline American soldier in WW2  who did not carry a gun. Rated MA15+.




Based on the novella Story of your life by Ted Chiang. Directed by  Denis Villeneuve. Stars Amy Adams. Thought-provoking, philosophical and enigmatic sci-fi that deals with time and how we perceive it. A linguist communicates with alien arrivals and makes decisions that will affect her life and those around her. If you knew the future, would you change it? Rated M.


Review: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/arrival-review-dazzling-science-fiction-that-will-leave-you-spee/


La La land

Directed by Damien Chazelle. Stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Sweet and poignant musical about an actress and a musician who fall in love and chase their dreams. Rated M.




Directed by Barry Jenkins. Stars Trevante Rhodes. Coming-of-age story of a young black man’s struggle to find himself whilst growing up in Miami – a timeless story of self-discovery and connection. Rated M.



Best animated film nominees

Kubo and the two strings; Moana; My life as a zucchini; The red turtle; Zootopia.


Foreign language film nominations

Includes Australia’s first nomination in this category for Tanna. Set in Vanuatu, a young couple’s plan to wed is thwarted by rival chiefs. Also includes A man called Ove (Sweden).



Something for everyone!

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.): http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/explainer/what-national-reconciliation-week

2016 National Reconciliation Week (1 min.): http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/nrw-60-second-video/

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxPWd_0z3Ng

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). http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/

20 inspiring black women who have changed Australia: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2015/03/06/20-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. http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/24/tony-albert-new-host-colour-theory-season-3

Some indigenous works from Google Art Project: http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/05/31/googles-art-project-brings-indigenous-talent-digital-world


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: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/resources/




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”.


Books: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-reading_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf


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: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Recommended-viewing_2016-NRW-update_FINAL.pdf


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 and TV

Upcoming good films and TV….fantasy, crime, sci-fi, war stories, fiction to film….



The film of Tim Winton’s powerful novel is to be directed by Simon Baker (The mentalist), who will also produce and star in it. Set in a small Western Australian town in the 1970s, two teenage surfers become friends with an older surfer (Baker) and his wife. Their addiction to extreme surfing parallels their relationship with the older couple, leading to devastating consequences that impact on their lives forever. The novel is controversial and some schools would not choose to use it, but we use it with our senior classes. I think it is one of Winton’s best. His novels The riders and Shallows are also being developed as films.




Commissioned by the ABC’s Indigenous unit – an innovative 6 part futuristic action drama set in the near future. A group of non-humans battle for survival in a world where humans feel increasingly inferior to them, wanting to exploit them as well as silence them. Two estranged indigenous brothers are forced together to fight for their own survival in this landscape, with Dreamtime creatures living in this world as refugees. Many of the stories in Cleverman are drawn from Aboriginal story-telling, for which series creator Ryan Griffen obtained permission from Aboriginal elders.  “The arc of the stories is fiction but the heart and genesis of the stories come from Aboriginal  story-telling. There is a definite truth to the stories.” (Rosemary Blight, producer).

Stars Iain Glen, Deborah Mailman, Rob Collins, Frances O’Connor. Directed by top indigenous directors Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) and Leah Purcell. Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings) and Jacob Nash (Bangarra Dance Company) will provide the creature designs. Sounds excellent – screens in 2016.



The Kettering Incident

8 part mystery series set in Tasmania. Influenced by scandi-noir dramas, with otherworldly overtones. Stars Elizabeth Debicki and Matt Le Nevez. A doctor returns to her hometown and finds herself inexplicably linked to the cases of 2 girls who disappeared in the wild 15 years apart. To clear her name, she must delve into her troubled past and the power of the mysterious land. Screens late 2015 on Foxtel.



Tomorrow when the war began

6 part series based on John Marsden’s best-selling young adult war series…at last! The 2010 film was popular, but only covered the first book, so this series will be more satisfying for fans of the series. Filming starts soon.




4 part series based on the novel by Christos Tsiolkas. A young man deals with his obsession and the pressures of elite swimming as he aims for the Olympics. Filming starts soon.

Book review: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/03/barracuda-christos-tsiolkas-review


Nowhere boys: the rise of the bear

Telemovie of the popular young adult series created by Tony Ayres about 4 teenagers who get lost on a school excursion and return home – only to find they never existed. In the telemovie, an evil power invades and they discover that in order to save the multiverse, they must be ready to sacrifice their lives. Filming starts soon.


Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to contribute to building a reconciled Australia. It is held between two significant milestones in Australia’s history, May 27 (1967 Referendum) and June 3 (Mabo Day). Reconciliation involves building positive, respectful relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the benefit of all Australians. http://www.reconciliation.org.au/


Information and key dates in Reconciliation:


Latest news:

  • Noel Pearson’s argument in favour of constitutional change, recognition of indigenous peoples and the removal of racial discrimination from the Constitution.
  • Maiden speech of Senator Nova Peris – first Aboriginal woman in the Australian Parliament.
  • Reconciliation messages – including Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, Meshel Laurie, Troy Cassar-Daley & Fred Chaney.


Resources and fact sheets: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/category/resource/

Video –Reconciliation is for all of us  (2:5 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYu2Q09zoXM&feature=youtu.be


Sing Loud! song competition

Learn and perform one of the 3 reconciliation songs in the playlist below – or perform your own original reconciliation song. Upload your performance to the Sing!Loud website. $1000 prize each for the best original song and best cover song – judged by Delta Goodrem and Gurrumul. Competition closes 8 June.

Details and videos of songs already submitted: http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/category/sing-loud/

Delta, Gurrumul & the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Bayini on The Voice 2013….beautiful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi6zbPjtO6I


Recognise (part of Reconciliation Australia)

The people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution – “We want to see fairness and respect at the heart of our Constitution, and to remove discrimination from it. Our goal is a more united nation. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together – after so many chapters apart.”

School Learning Guide (Years 10-12) – Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution: http://www.recognise.org.au/uploads/custom/08ae158740e5ed91d082.pdf


Share our pride (part of Reconciliation Aust.)

Information about the First Australians; Culture; Shared history; Beyond the myths; Respectful relationships; Famous indigenous Australians; Books; Films.


NAIDOC Week 6 – 13 July: Serving country – centenary and beyond

The theme honours all ATSI men and women who have fought in defence of country – from the warriors in the Frontier Wars to those who have served in Australia’s military engagements around the world.


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.

Indigenous Literacy Day – 4 Sept 2013

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day which promotes literacy in remote indigenous communities. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation raises funds for books and other literacy projects in these areas, with over 100 000 books supplied to 230 remote communities over the past 4 years. Many local schools have been fundraising. http://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/

Here are some useful resources for the ACARA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-Curriculum Priority:

Online Larrakia calendar: seasons according to the indigenous Larrakia people of the Darwin region

September for us means warmer weather and maybe hayfever – but for the Larrakia people, September brings the Dalirrgang season – the Build Up for the wet season, with mangrove fruit and magpie geese. This new interactive online calendar has colourful pictures, simple information and descriptive words read by Larrakia people. Interesting and informative and a great contrast to our seasons down south!

From CSIRO: “For the first time, detailed Aboriginal seasonal knowledge of the Darwin region has been converted into an interactive online educational resource, aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science. Researcher Emma Woodward said many Aboriginal people are concerned about the loss of their knowledge, while at the same time there is strong demand from schools for more traditional ecological information. The observations of Aboriginal people have revealed relationships and links between plants, animals, water and climate that other people were not aware of.

The online Larrakia calendar shows seven seasons in an annual cycle of climatic and ecological understanding. The Larrakia calendar could also be used to monitor future environmental change.” http://www.larrakia.csiro.au/#/calendar/dalay

Teacher resources: http://www.larrakia.csiro.au/#/page/teacher-activity-area

ABC indigenous portal

Excellent links to news, TV programs, online videos, arts reviews, community stories.   http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/

The Indigenous Quarter (ABC TV)

Part of the ABC’s informative Quarters programs (approx 15 mins each month) – Technology, Culture, Health, Consumer, Arts, Environment, Finance, Food,  Rural, Weather. Videos remain online for several months. http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/programs/the-quarters/

The Indigenous Quarter monthly program reports on the latest indigenous news. This week – the Federal Government hands back 5000 hectares of land to traditional owners in the top end; historian Bill Gammage tells how Australia’s first inhabitants shaped the landscape.

27 Aug edition: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-27/the-indigenous-quarter-episode-9/4915918/?site=indigenous&topic=latest


More ABC videos about indigenous news and issues: http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/video/default.htm#pagemenu

NITV: National Indigenous TV

Channel 34 on digital TV; part of SBS. Interesting programs eg. NITV News, the Barefoot Sports Show, the Marngrook Footy Show, Yaarnz, Living Strong, Grounded, Volumz Music Program, Waabiny Time and Go Lingo – popular shows that send out positive messages about indigenous Australia and speak primarily to indigenous Australians.    http://www.nitv.org.au/

NITV is highly regarded for its quality documentaries. From 1 July, a series of mini documentaries has been shown weeknights at 6.30pm. Our Stories, Our Way, Everyday are 15 minute films by emerging filmmakers, showing a slice of life from their communities. Available on SBS on Demand. http://www.nitv.org.au/fx-program.cfm?pid=2A73F286-C86D-08A2-254373436727D643&pgid=2D8A8857-D894-63A6-008070BA52593BF0

Creative Spirits


This comprehensive website has excellent links for  indigenous culture and resources. It is curated by a non indigenous person who has received acclaim for the information provided.

Books and reviews about indigenous culture – art, autobiography, children’s, novels, history, sport, teaching resources etc:   http://www.creativespirits.info/resources/books

Films dealing with indigenous issues – indigenous and non indigenous directors. Includes synopsis of each: http://www.creativespirits.info/resources/movies/

The black list: film and TV projects since 1970 with indigenous Australians in key creative roles

Published in June 2010, Screen Australia’s comprehensive reference book The black list catalogued the work of 257 Indigenous Australians with credits since 1970 as producer, director, writer or director of photography. Includes details of the film and TV projects and availability.

Search the Find a Film database: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/prod_industry_indig.aspx

PDF of the book: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/documents/SA_publications/BlackList.pdf

Updated chronology of indigenous film and TV 1970 – 2012: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/5af3d578-7a13-416c-b094-6739a1828e0c/BlackListChronology.pdf

New media may help save ancient languages

80% of Australia’s 150 remaining Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander languages are highly endangered. Experts recently met in Melbourne to discuss how to preserve these languages – eg. online indigenous language lessons; films; online stories written & spoken in indigenous languages; apps for indigenous languages…


Treasure trove of indigenous language documents discovered

200 documents in 100 indigenous languages from across Australia were recently unearthed at the NSW State Library, detailing early contact between Aboriginal people and European settlers. Indigenous services librarian Ronald Briggs: “…if you’re learning about language you’re also learning about culture and a lot of the other written documents that we’ve found are telling us about our cultures as they were practiced 100-150 years ago, it’s absolutely fantastic”. He will help indigenous communities access the material.






Happy Book Week!

It’s Book Week– a great time to celebrate books, writing and reading – in paper or digital form!
The winning children’s books have been announced by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Books for Older Readers are very suitable for college students and other titles are used in Children’s Literature classes. We buy several each year. You might also be interested if you have young children.
Winners: http://cbca.org.au/winners2013.htm
Notable books: http://cbca.org.au/Notables2013.htm

In the library we are running a daily Trivia Quiz with 10 questions posted daily and prizes given to the first correct answers. We are continuing with the Sci-ku poetry writing competition so send us your haiku poems on a science theme.

Looking for good reads? Try these sites:

Dymocks’ best 101 books of all time: 2013 list
Looking for a good read? Try something from this list, as voted by 7000 readers. The Harry Potter series has regained top spot, followed by Pride and prejudice.

Australian Independent Bookseller
Weekly Top 10 bestsellers; book news, Indie Awards chosen annually. Winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award: Questions of travel by Michelle de Kretser. http://www.indies.com.au/
Indie Book of the Year: The light between oceans by M.L. Stedman.
Winners: http://www.readings.com.au/news/the-2013-indie-award-winners

Get Reading!
Formerly known as Books Alive, this is Australia’s largest annual celebration of books and reading, held in September each year. On 1 Sept, the 2013 list of the Top 50 Books You Can’t Put Down will be announced, as well as a list of Australia’s favourite books. The free guide will be available in bookstores and online.
Some great book suggestions – book lists from 2007-2012: http://www.getreading.com.au/50-books-you-cant-put-down/

Banned books
Various banned book lists – interesting and well presented: http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/banned

Read about the secret history of Australian censorship and prohibited publications….Peyton Place, Brave new world, The catcher in the rye….intriguing! http://blog.naa.gov.au/banned/

Twentieth-century Australia had the strictest censorship of any democratic nation. Publications of all kinds were kept under surveillance and thousands of books were banned as seditious, blasphemous or obscene. Read more: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/exhibition/

List of banned books in Australia: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/exhibition/australia.html

More links: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/

The best 100 opening lines from books: Click on the book covers to reveal the lines from excellent books, old and new.
100 best closing lines from books: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/the-best-100-closing-lines-from-books
100 best films based on books: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/top-100-films-based-on-books
The 8 darkest fairy tales: http://www.stylist.co.uk/books/the-eight-darkest-fairy-tales#image-rotator-1

Arts and Letters Daily
Highly regarded website with dailyreport of news in literature, language, philosophy, ideas, criticism, history, music, art, culture – includes reviews of new books, essays and articles. Excellent links to other cultural websites and blogs. Something for everyone! eg. A brief history of applause, the Big Data of the ancient world: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/a-brief-history-of-applause-the-big-data-of-the-ancient-world/274014/

AustLit: the Australian literature resource
AustLit aims to be the definitive virtual information resource for Australian literary, print and narrative culture. It includes information about fiction, poetry, theatre & film writing, biographical & travel writing and reviews. Some full text creative and critical works are also available. All Aust. teachers have free access.
What’s in AustLit: http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5961903
Full text collections: Poems, novels, criticism, reviews, children’s literature and early Aust. science fiction. http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5960585
Full text search: http://www.austlit.edu.au/?ex=FullTextSearch

AustLit includes the BlackWords database. BlackWords provides searchable information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, storytellers and their published and unpublished books, stories, plays, poems and criticism. It includes works in English and in Indigenous Australian languages. http://www.austlit.edu.au/specialistDatasets/BlackWords

Sydney Review of Books
“Sparked by concerns about the dwindling space for literary criticism in Australian media, the Sydney Review of Books is an online review site focusing on Australian writers and writing”. It has reviews and articles about fiction, non fiction, poetry & other feature articles.

Happy Book Week!