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.




Words of the Year and Google Translate

Interesting words and their reflection of society…..


Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year

Announced 25 January. The Committee’s Choice for 2016 Word of the Year is fake news. Honourable mentions go to enby and halal snack pack.

People’s Choice: Halal snack pack.

Fake news – disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic, with the incorrect information being passed along by social media.

Halal snack pack – hot chips, grated cheese, halal kebab meat, garlic sauce, bbq sauce and chilli sauce.

Enby – a person who identifies as neither male nor female.

Shortlist category winners: youlk; racebending; standing desk; shoefiti; fatberg; greige; rumbler alarm; patient navigator; filter bubble; alt-right; enby; bubble soccer; plyscraper.

Winners and finalists with definitions: https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/resources/view/word/of/the/year/



Other Words of the Year 2016


Oxford Dictionaries (UK and US)

Post-truth  – relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Other popular words: alt-right, glass cliff, hygge (Danish cosiness), chatbot (computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users), adulting (behaving like a responsible adult).




Collins Dictionary

Brexit – withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Other popular words: hygge, mic drop, Trumpism, throw shade, sharenting (sharing your kids’ photos on social media), snowflake generation, dude food, Uberization, JOMO (joy of missing out).



American Dialect Society

Dumpster fire – an exceedingly disastrous or chaotic situation. Other popular words: normalize, post-truth, woke (socially aware). Emoji of the Year: fire (exciting). Digital Word of the Year: @ (replying on Twitter).




Surreal – marked by the intense irrationality of a dream. Other popular words: icon, deplorable, feckless, revenant.



Global Language Monitor

Tracks global trends through Big Data analysis of Global English, with over 1.83 billion speakers. Number of words in the English language (1 Jan 2016 estimate): 1 035 877. Most understood word of the English language – OK. Top 40 words for the first 15 years of the 21st century and what they portend: 1. Web/internet 2. China 3. Selfie 4. 404 (internet failure) 5. 9/11



Google Translate

Google Translate now uses Neural Machine Translation Artificial Intelligence for translation tasks. This works on entire sentences at once, giving more context to work out the best translation. It is used for 8 of the most common language pairs and results in more natural translations with better syntax. Now 10 years old, Google Translate supports 103 languages and translates over 140 billion words every day. It also continues to rely on Translate Community, where speakers contribute and review translations.






Free fun way to learn over 13 000 words effectively – suitable for Grade 5 onwards. A games approach personalises learning experiences, asking questions to increase vocabulary. The online dictionary used is very user-friendly and easy to understand. Vocabulary lists are easily created and can be shared. Educator Edition also available. Available on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.



Google Translate and Words of the Year

Google Translate: translating the entire internet

13 more languages were added on 17 Feb (Amharic, Corsican, Luxembourgish, Frisian, Scots Gaelic, Pashto…) – access for an extra 120 million people. 103 written languages are now covered – 99% of the total online population. Translations are improved over time by improving algorithms and systems and learning from translations via Translate Community (3 million people have contributed).




Free fun way to learn over 13 000 words effectively – suitable for Grade 5 onwards. A games approach personalises learning experiences, asking questions to increase vocabulary. The online dictionary used is very user-friendly and easy to understand. Vocabulary lists are easily created and can be shared. Educator Edition also available. Available on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.




Macquarie Dictionary Words of the Year 2015

Announced Jan/Feb and chosen from new entries in the annual update of the online dictionary. Word of the Year: captain’s call (People’s Choice and also the Committee’s choice). Runners-up – keyboard warrior and wombat gate. Category favourites – slipstream fiction, abandoned porn, deso, lumbersexual, hoverboard, fitspiration, digital tattoo, dox, fancruft, fur baby, grandcare, slackpacking, selfie drone. Most searched words online in 2015 – chuffed, wellbeing, practice, practise, firsthand, licence, healthcare, onboard, longstanding, frontline.





Other Words of the Year 2015


Global Language Monitor

These rankings are based on actual word usage throughout the English-speaking world (1.83 billion people). Words are analysed from the internet, blogs, the top 275 000 print and electronic global media and new social media sources.

Top word: microaggression. Phrase – migrant crisis. Name – Donald Trump. Other top words: climate changing, refugee, migrant, thug, trans, affluenza. Most understood word of the English language – OK. Number of words in the English language (1 Jan 2016 estimate): 1 035 877.



Collins Dictionary

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



American Dialect Society

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


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



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



Oxford University Press – (UK and US)

Face with tears of joy emoji.


ICT news

What’s new at Google?

Google I/O 2015, the annual software developer-focused conference, was held last week in San Francisco (I/O = Input/Output and Innovation in the Open). Announcements include:

  • Google Photos for Android, iOS and Web – unlimited storage for photos and videos (see below)
  • Chrome and Android both have over 1 billion active users
  • Android Pay (Apple Pay competitor)
  • Brillo OS and common language Weave for the Internet of Things
  • Jump – people create and share virtual reality experiences; compatible with GoPro cameras; 16 cameras will work as one to combine images
  • Inbox – new email app
  • Cardboard Expeditions (see below)
  • Advancements in deep learning (AI) for image and speech recognition – Google’s speech recognition has just an 8% error rate (23% in 2013)
  • Launch of the Family Store in Google Play for children and parents – find apps for children by their age
  • Chromecast allows you to use mobile gadgets to play games on your TV and stream videos and photos from your laptop



Google Cardboard and virtual reality platform Cardboard Expeditions

A smartphone (Android and iOS) slides into the cardboard gadget, creating a virtual reality headset. 1 million Cardboard viewers are being used with hundreds of apps in Google Play. Cardboard Expeditions brings virtual reality into classrooms – students with multiple Cardboards can see the same content as the teacher. Cardboard kits cost about $25.

Short video: http://venturebeat.com/2015/05/28/google-announces-cardboard-expeditions-to-let-teachers-take-classes-on-field-trips/


Google Photos

Launched last week. All your photos and videos synced on all your devices , automatically backed up and easy to share. Find photos by content; transform still photos into movies, animations, GIFs and panoramas; automatically created photo stories; easy editing tools. Free storage for images of 16 megapixels or less and videos of 1080p or less (the most common smartphone files); larger items get compressed. App for Android and iOS; browser version for Mac and PCs.



Good review: http://recode.net/2015/06/02/the-new-google-photos-free-at-last-and-very-smart/


The unrealized vision of Google Glass

The project was paused in Jan 2015 after protoypes were released in April 2013. Some people feared privacy violations and some places banned it eg. theatres and bars. Google are possibly working on a new model that is more acceptable, fashionable and user friendly – foldable, so it can easily be removed and stored, with a red light to show it is recording to alert others. Should they be banned when driving?



Apple WWDC 2015

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is on 8-12 June in San Francisco. Some predictions: Apple TV update; new versions of Mac OS X and iOS9 (the operating system for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch); new Macs and iMacs; relaunch of iTunes Radio and music streaming to rival Spotify.



Emoji and other cool words added to dictionary

The free online Merriam-Webster Dictionary last week added 1700 new words, including hip internet words!: emoji; meme; net neutrality; click fraud; clickbait; photobomb; NSFW; WTF.



New Scrabble words

6 500 words have just been added to the official dictionary. Updates usually happen every 5 years, based on the Collins dictionary, but this update came after only 3 years, reflecting the pace of language change. Words include: onesie; lolz; tweep; bezzy; twerking; hashtag; sexting; thanx; lotsa; ridic; facetime; obvs; grr; eew; wuz. Twitter seems to be a driving force for many of the new words. However, lol is not permitted.


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 –  Internet.org (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.


Words of the Year

Here are some words that dominated popular culture in Australia, the US and UK during the last year. Interesting for English, sociology, psychology, popular culture….


Macquarie Dictionary’s 2014 Word of the Year

Announced 5 Feb 2015. The winner: Mansplain (verb) – a man explaining something to a woman, in a way that is patronising because it assumes that a woman will be ignorant of the subject matter (Man + [ex]plain with “s” inserted to create a pronunciation link with explain). Runners-up: lifehacking, binge watching and bamboo ceiling.

People’s Choice: share plate –  a serving in a restaurant designed as multiple small portions so that several diners can share the same dish.


Category winners:

  • Agriculture: crash grazing
  • Arts: binge watching
  • Business: drip pricing
  • Colloquial: mansplain
  • Communications: emoji
  • Eating and drinking: share plate
  • Environment: green electricity
  • Fashion: loom band
  • General Interest: decision fatigue
  • Health: ambulance ramping
  • Internet: typosquatting
  • Politics: defund
  • Social Interest: lifehacking – the application of strategies or shortcuts used to simplify or improve any aspect of one’s life
  • Sport: urban exploration
  • Technology: selfie stick




Complete list: https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/media2/feature_documents/MacquarieWOTY_WordList_2014_2.pdf



Australian National Dictionary Centre 2014 Word of the Year

Shirtfront – to challenge or confront a person. Other popular phrases: Team Australia; man-bun; Ned Kelly beard; coward punch.




Global Language Monitor Top Word 2014

Analyses the English language globally – internet, social media, print, e-news. Emoji and other emoticons (pictographs) are becoming ingrained into the world’s vocabulary. The heart emoji was the most used character worldwide in 2014 and also won top “word” for 2014 – the first time a pictograph has won. There are currently 722 characters, with 250 more due this year (approved by Unicode Consortium, official keepers of internet code). Other top words: hashtag; vape; blood moon; nano; bae; bash tag; white privilege. Some top phrases: Hands up, don’t shoot; cosmic inflation; Big Data. Top names: ebola; Pope Francis; WW1; Medecins Sans Frontiers.




Oxford Dictionaries 2014 Word of the Year

Vape – to smoke an e-cigarettes via vaporised nicotine. Runners-up: normcore (unisex fashion with unpretentious clothing); contactless (card-hovering payments); slacktivism; bae (term of endearment for a romantic partner).

Chambers Dictionary: overshare; Collins Dictionary – photobomb.




Merriam-Webster (US) 2014 Word of the Year

The most lookups online: 1.culture 2. nostalgia 3. insidious 4. legacy 5. feminism 6. Je ne sais quoi 7. innovation 8. surreptitious 9. autonomy 10. morbidity



American Dialect Society 2014 Word of the Year

#blacklivesmatter – protest over black men killed at the hands of police (actually a hashtag sentence).



Words of the Year from around the globe


Good iPad apps – Mathstorm, Count Coins & Transformation Sentences

Here are some useful apps for primary school maths and language learning (all levels):


$2.49 in the App Store; iOS 6 or later.

An entertaining and customisable collection of 5 games (monsoon, avalanche, meteor shower, sandstorm, blizzard) that each provide a different approach to developing maths skills. Teachers and students can choose to focus on particular skills eg. addition, subtraction, division, times tables etc. and they can also set time limit challenges. Games can be adjusted to suit players’ maths ability levels, catering for multiple abilities within a class. For example, the game can be set to only ask:

– 6 times tables

– Addition sums below 10

– Only division and multiplication

– Only division, multiplication and subtraction

– and many more combinations.

High scores are tracked, giving players a goal to beat. For ages 4 to 11.


Demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAnEndlRcRE


Aussie Kids Count Coins

$2.49 in the App Store; iOS 4 or later.

Money skills are practised and developed through 6 games, using animated characters. Activities include paying and giving change, counting change and multiplying, comparing amounts & shopping. Stars are awarded and used to decorate a night scene. For ages 4 to 10.



Transformation Sentences

$2.49 in the App Store; requires iOS7 or later.

This is a powerful app for teachers of sentence construction, sentence transformation and spelling – very useful for teachers of students who are learning to read – primary, high school, adult and ESL.

It was developed specifically for several teachers at Dickson College who wanted an app to support the Scaffolding Literacy program in the Secondary Introductory English Centre. Students here have just started learning English in Australia and will later move to ESL classes. The teachers wanted an app that wasn’t full of fancy bells and whistles but supported the teaching of literacy skills. The app has been used very successfully in class.

Demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slX6TwDG0gU


Features include:

Sentences: Enter text, rearrange and drag individual words. Use for prediction games, cloze exercises etc

Spelling: Separate a word into letters or sounds.

Shuffle: Places all words in a sentence into random order. Students then reassemble the sentence.

Extra words: Add extra words and label parts of a sentence (eg. Who? What? Where?).

Save data: Save up to 10 sentences or spelling lists in folders. Send the folders to other iPads via Bluetooth or wi-fi (this enables the teacher to type a paragraph just once, which is then sent to the students’ iPads).

Draw: Use your finger as a pencil to write words directly on the screen.

Customise: Choose font, size and background.

(The apps were created by my son Bryan Hathaway, B. Software Engineering).

Word of the Year

Here are some words that dominated popular culture in Australia, the US and UK during the last year. Interesting for English, social science and popular culture classes.

The Macquarie Dictionary has just announced its Word of the Year 2013 and the winner is…..

infovore – (noun) a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices.

So, an infovore is like a carnivore, but hungers for information. Smartphones provide us with instant answers and many of us are addicted to this rush of instant information. Libraries – a great place for infovores!

Honourable mentions:

firescape – (verb) to landscape an area with the possibility of bushfire in mind.
cli-fi – (noun) a genre of speculative fiction based on the premise that climate change will give rise to fundamental changes in the way humans live.

People’s Choice Award: onesie – a loose-fitting one-piece suit, gathered at the wrists and ankles. Please, can we just limit these to babies?  

Other category winners:
Arts – fanfic
Colloquial – facepalm
Health – enabler
Politics – marriage equality
General interest – watch and act
Communications – churnalism
Social interest – generation debt


Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013
selfie – (noun) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. The frequency of the word selfie increased by 17 000% during the past year. It was first used in an Australian online forum in 2002. Spin-off terms include welfie (a workout selfie), belfie (a posterior selfie) and twofie (with 2 people).
Shortlist includes: binge-watch (watch multiple TV episodes); bitcoin (the digital currency); showrooming ( visiting a shop and then buying it cheaper online); twerk.

Global Language Monitor Top Word of 2013
The 14th annual survey of the English language across 5 continents and spoken by 1.83 billion people.
Top word is ‘404’, followed by fail!, hashtag, @pontifex, the Optic, surveillance, drones, deficit, sequestration, emancipate.
404 is the numeric code for failure on the internet, augmenting its original use as “page not found”.
Top phrase: toxic politics
Top name: Pope Francis.
Most understood word in the world: OK.
Top trending prefix: franken- (any human-instigated activity that spins out of control)
Number of words in the English language (1 Jan 2014 est.):  1 025 109.8 http://www.languagemonitor.com/category/words-of-the-year-woty/

American Dialect Society Word of the Year 2013
because x – used to introduce a noun, adjective or other part of speech. “Because”  is now being used in new ways in informal online use and doesn’t have to be followed by “of”. Usage includes “because science”, “because reasons”, “because tired” and “because awesome”.
Other useful words: slash (and/or eg. come and visit slash stay), ACC (aggressive carbon copy used to undermine the email recipient eg. cc’ing the boss), robo sapiens (robots with human-like intelligence). http://www.americandialect.org/because-is-the-2013-word-of-the-year

Merriam-Webster’s (US) Word of the Year 2013
Based on the greatest increase in lookups over the past year, the top 10 words were not new words, but rather they were the words behind the stories in the news.
Word of the Year is science, followed by cognitive, rapport, communication, niche, ethic, paradox, visceral, integrity, metaphor.

Interesting info: http://theconversation.com/the-macquarie-dictionary-word-of-the-year-is-22522

Words of the Year 2012

Here are some words that dominated popular culture in Australia, the US and UK during the last year. Interesting for English, social science and popular culture classes!


Macquarie Word of the Year 2012 (Aust)

Announced today 6 Feb…..and the winner is….phantom vibration syndrome – an obsessional conviction that your phone has vibrated for an incoming call, when in fact it hasn’t.

Honourable mentions: crowdfunding, technomite, marngrook, First World problem.

People’s Choice winner: First World problem – a problem that relates to the affluent lifestyle of the First World eg. settling for plunger coffee when the espresso machine is broken.

Some category winners:

Technology: technomite – a young child who is adept in the use of digital media.

Internet: crowdfunding – obtaining small donations from individuals contacted through social networks, to fund a project.

Health: diabesity – obesity accompanied by diabetes.

Environment: green tape – bureaucratic regulations and paperwork deriving from environmental legislation.

Colloquial: wine flu – a hangover.

Sport: marngrook – an early influence on AFL, played by pre-European Aboriginal people.

See all shortlisted words in categories: http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/anonymous@9c9986628003/-/p/dict/WOTY12/index_winner.html


Global Language Monitor

Their 13th annual global survey of the English language. Number of words in the English language: 1,019,729.6 (est. 1/1/13)

Top word: apocalypse

Top phrase: Gangnam Style

Top 20 list includes: meme; MOOC; the Cloud; hen (Swedish attempt to create a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her); obesogenic; omnishambles; hashtag; drones; superfood; fracking AND adorkable – the rise of the nerds – adorable dorks!



American Dialect Society Word of the Year 2012

Winner: hashtag – a word or phrase preceded by a hash symbol, used on Twitter to mark a topic or make a commentary.

Runner-up: marriage equality. Also popular: YOLO ( You Only Live Once); * -(po)calypse, -(ma)geddon (hyperbolic combining forms for various catastrophes); Gangnam Style; fiscal cliff (threat of spending cuts and tax increases looming over end-of-year budget negotiations).



Merriam-Webster (US) Words of the Year 2012

Based on the volume of user lookups at Merriam-Webster.com. The presidential election influence can be seen.

Joint winners: socialism and capitalism. The rest of the top 10: touché; bigot; marriage; democracy; professionalism; globalization; malarkey; schadenfreude; meme.



Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year 2012

Winner: omnishambles – Coined by the writers of the satirical television programme The Thick Of It, an omnishambles is a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

Others considered: Eurogeddon, green-on-blue, pleb, to medal, mummy porn, e-rotica (the phenomenon was fuelled by a surge of erotic book sales on e-readers); second screening  (the activity of watching television whilst simultaneously using a smartphone, laptop, etc., often so as to be able to use a social media site to post about what was happening).



Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012

Winner: to GIF (verb) – to create a GIF file of an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event.

(The GIF is a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations. It turned 25 this year).

See the winning word revealed as a GIF: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/11/us-word-of-the-year-2012/

Other popular contenders: Eurogeddon; superstorm; YOLO; MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – a university course offered free of charge via the internet); homophobia; Higgs Boson.

In January the New York Public Library launched stereogranimator <http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/3-d-it-yourself-thanks-to-new-library-site/>  allowing visitors to create GIFs of 40,000+ digitized stereographs from its collection and share them.