ICT and STEM news

STEM learning

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

Demystifying the AC Digital Technologies Curriculum P-6

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

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

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

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

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

 

Australian Online Landscape Review (latest: April 2017)

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

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

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

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

 

Australians’ viewing habits

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

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

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

 

Australia’s internet speeds

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

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

 

Why do adults think video games are bad?

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

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

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

 

The science for and against video gaming

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

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

 

People could be genetically predisposed to social media use

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

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

 

NASA EarthKAM

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

https://www.earthkam.org/

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

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

 

Google Maps street-view of Uluru

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

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

 

Live interactions with robots increase their perceived human likeness

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

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

 

The 2017 emoji list: emoji version 5.0

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

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

Teen reading habits and 21st century skills

Some interesting reads from Teacher magazine and elsewhere…..

 

Teacher magazine

Excellent online ACER publication with interesting articles and quick reads – Evidence + Insight + Action.

https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/

 

Infographic: Teen reading habits

Early findings from a study by Deakin and Murdoch Universities, exploring the recreational reading habits of Australian teenagers. 70% read at least weekly for pleasure; 50% read for at least 15 minutes daily; 63% preferred paper books or disliked reading on digital devices; 12% preferred ebooks.

https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/article/infographic-teen-reading-habits

 

Global education: 21st century skills

Charles Fadel, 21st Century Skills pioneer, delivered the 2017 Australian Learning Lecture – The New Success on 11 May. Young people are likely to have 17 jobs over 5 different careers in their lifetime. Skills needed: broad and deep education, versatility, entrepreneurship, robotics, wellness, creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, mindfulness, curiosity, courage, resilience, ethics, leadership, reflection, lifelong learning, growth mindsets. Fadel believes 4 dimensions of education are necessary: modernised knowledge, skills, character and meta learning. His 2015 book with Bernie Trilling: Four-dimensional education: the competencies learners need to succeed.

https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/article/global-education-21st-century-skills?utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_medium=bulletin&utm_content=May%2016%202017

 

Preparing young people for the future of work

Australia’s education system is not preparing students for twenty-first century success. Young Australians are studying for longer than ever before but are disengaged and struggling to find permanent jobs. Young people entering technology-rich, global, competitive job markets need different skill sets to what our education system has traditionally valued. Schools need to broaden learning objectives. The most crucial capabilities for the future include critical thinking, creativity, curiosity and communication skills. It is time Australia made changes to prioritise teaching, assessing and reporting capabilities” (Torii and O’Connell).

http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/reports/preparing-young-people-for-the-future-of-work/

 

Education Endowment  Foundation literature reviews

The EEF has conducted literature reviews on Digital Technology, Careers education, Literacy at the transition, English as an Additional Language, Education and neuroscience, Arts education, and Non-cognitive skills.

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/resources/publications/

 

Evidence for Learning

This independent Australian site helps to build, share and use evidence to improve learning in all schools. Find out about new Australian education approaches and  Australian and global evidence summaries of 34 education approaches. Sign up for the newsletter.

http://evidenceforlearning.org.au/

 

Spaced Learning

Evidence from neuroscience and psychology suggests information is more easily learnt and recalled when it is repeated multiple times and separated by periods of unrelated activity. Neuroscience literature supports the use of shorter spaces between learning (around 10 minutes) and cognitive psychology literature supports longer spaces (around 24 hours). The study found that the most effective approach to spaced learning combined both 24 hour and 10 minute spacing between curriculum content.

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/our-work/projects/spaced-learning/

 

Switched off students

Student disengagement is a major hidden issue – 40% of Australian students are regularly unproductive, bored and struggling to keep up with their peers. More students are fiddling with their phones, making snide comments and turning up late than are swearing at teachers or threatening classmates. Reasons include boredom, work too hard or not challenging enough, poor quality teaching and problems at home. An education system overhaul is required to deal with this. Recommendations include higher expectations for students; stronger teacher-student relationships based on mutual respect; encouraging active learning; encouragement; praise and not using ‘old-fashioned discipline’.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/05/almost-half-of-australian-school-students-bored-or-struggling-says-grattan-institute

Evidence for Learning and Edutopia

Here are 2 good sites for accessing information about what works in schools – Evidence for Learning (Aust.) and Edutopia (US).

 

Evidence for Learning

This independent Australian site helps to build, share and use evidence to improve learning in all schools. Find out about new Australian education approaches and  Australian and global evidence summaries of 34 education approaches. Sign up for the newsletter.

http://evidenceforlearning.org.au/

 

Evidence for Learning – Teaching and Learning Toolkit

The Toolkit summarises the global evidence on 34 different approaches to learning and investigates their effectiveness for student attainment eg. feedback, homework, digital technology, phonics, peer tutoring, early years intervention and behaviour interventions.  Information is provided on how the approach impacts student attainment (number of months added to a student’s attainment), the strength of the evidence and the average cost to implement. The update in March has new evidence on 10 educational topics including class size, performance pay and outdoor adventure learning.

http://evidenceforlearning.org.au/the-toolkit/

http://evidenceforlearning.org.au/australasian-research-summaries/

 

Evidence for Learning – Research trials

Evidence for Learning analyses global studies eg. Are there student benefits from taking practice tests? Research has shown that students who take practice tests often outperform students who study, practise, do filler activities, or do not practise with the material. New meta-analysis of evidence supports the use of practice tests to advance student learning. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0034654316689306 (abstract only).

 

Tackling the ‘learning styles’ myth

Many teachers believe that students learn better when taught in their preferred learning style. However, there is very limited evidence for any consistent set of learning styles to identify genuine differences in the learning needs of students and it is unhelpful to assign learners to groups on the basis of a learning ‘style’. “Teachers’ time and resources are better spent on providing timely and specific feedback  to students as evidence shows this has an impact of 8 months’ worth of learning progress”  (Evidence for Learning 2017).

https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/article/tackling-the-learning-styles-myth

 

Homework, technology, smaller classes

Research shows teaching phonics is crucial to children in their early years (NSW schools use MiniLit – an evidence-based phonics program). For homework, studies show the optimum amount is between one and two hours per school day (slightly longer for older students) and effects diminish as time spent on homework increases. Research shows class size does not have clear effects on student attainment until class size is reduced to under 20 or below 15. Studies also show that technology can improve learning if it is used appropriately.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/homework-technology-smaller-classes-what-works-in-nsw-classrooms-20170223-gujj8q.html

 

Edutopia: K-12 education tips and strategies that work

US site. Evidence and practitioner-based learning strategies for improving K-12 education. Lots of articles and videos. Topics include critical thinking, collaborative learning, blended learning, education trends, student voice, growth mindset, game-based learning….

https://www.edutopia.org/

Browse topics: https://www.edutopia.org/topic-index

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

ICT news

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

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

 

Digital Inclusion Index Report

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

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

http://digitalinclusionindex.org.au/

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

 

Born Digital 2016

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

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

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

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

 

The NBN GranTechie Report: the new wave of silver surfers

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

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

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

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

 

Google Expeditions adds 50 new tours for schools

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

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

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

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

 

Google Earth Timelapse

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

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

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

 

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs

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

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

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

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

 

Netflix shows can now be downloaded and watched offline

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

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

 

18 best external storage devices for iPad and iPhone

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

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

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

 

Robots and Education Today magazine

Education Today: the school principals’ magazine

You may have seen this interesting magazine in staffrooms. It comes out each term and is also available online and searchable back to 2007. The articles cover a broad range of current educational topics, are written in an engaging style and PDFs of articles are available for downloading and sharing. Education Today is owned and published by Minnis Journals (publisher: Bill Minnis) and is not aligned with any group. www.educationtoday.com.au

 

Interesting articles from Education Today (term 2 2016):

 

Digital technologies: beyond the panic – Damian Perry

The new AC Digital Technologies Curriculum will be in place in 2017, but will probably take 10 years to implement. It promotes the creation of solutions using technology, with students experimenting with algorithms and programming, exploring hardware, software, data and networks. Computational thinking is an essential component. It differs from the ICT General Capability, where students use software, access and evaluate information, consider issues of copyright and privacy, and collaborate and share. Money and time will be needed to train teachers in the new Digital Technologies Curriculum and students will be at vastly different skill levels.

There are some f=good links at the end of the article.

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/Digital-Technologies–1195

 

 

NAO robots enhance learning in South Australia

These humanoid robots have been used in 7 independent schools since early 2015, in the first major Australian study of how humanoid robots affect  learning and teaching in schools. They have been used with preschoolers to Yr 10 for Maths, Digital technologies, English and German. Using the robots has enhanced collaboration between students and teachers, unlocked innovative approaches to education, led to a rapid uptake of high level cognitive processes and quick adoption of coding language Python. The robots have proved to be a powerful way for teachers to embrace the new Digital Technologies Curriculum. Teachers and students love the robots because of the endearing way they behave. Deepest learning occurs when students play with the robots and discover things themselves. ANO robots have been used to diagnose autism and treat brin-injured patients – subjects often respond better to the robots than humans. NAOs are expensive though – $8000.

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/NAO-robots-enhance-learning-in-SA-1196

http://www.educationtoday.com.au/article/NAO-robots-get-to-work-in-classrooms-1197

Aust. distributor of NAO robots: http://www.brainaryinteractive.com/nao-robot/

 

Pretty sure you want a robot?

Here are 13 advanced humanoid robots for sale: Darwin Mini ($499), Hovis Eco Lite ($700), Robotis Op 2 ($9600)…..or maybe you’d prefer the Robothespian ($78 000) or perhaps the Asimo ($2.5 million)?

http://www.smashingrobotics.com/thirteen-advanced-humanoid-robots-for-sale-today/

Fearful of robots? Don’t worry…they have to follow the Three Laws:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

 

I’d love to be using my robotic vacuum cleaner this weekend (if I had one)…..

 

ICT, robots and binge-watching

Are we being too quick to embrace technology in education?

Neil Selwyn: “Many recently developed forms of education seem to benefit those who are already well-resourced and well-educated. The participation and completion rates of many MOOCs tend to be skewed towards college-educated, high-income young males… Emerging technologies have much to offer but there will be consequences – what forms of education do we really want?” Excellent discussion by Brett Clarke in the Comments: Governments have poured too much money into devices and student-computer ratios instead of investing money into the professional development of school leaders and teachers. Teachers need skills in pedagogical practice and creating learning environments that are enhanced by technology.

Listen to the program: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/are-we-being-too-quick-to-embrace-technology-in-education/7211366

 

Australia will have to face the consequences of its education gap

According to the Fairfax-Lateral Economics Wellbeing Index, each degree or higher trade qualification is worth almost $1 million in wellbeing for the community. Employment in high-skill industries has grown more quickly – low-skill workers face growing competition from new migrants, offshoring and even robots. The growing educational-cultural divide will cause problems – the best predictor of support for Trump has been the absence of a college degree.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australia-will-have-to-face-the-consequences-of-its-education-gap-20160405-gnyrq6.html

 

Can handwriting make you smarter?

Researchers at Princeton and UCLA found that students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes – and more type. Those who write their notes appear to learn better, retain information longer and grasp new ideas more readily. Handwriting encodes the information more deeply in memory – longhand notes were more organised and students thought more about what they were going to write. Students who type can take more notes but they are verbatim and this seems to undermine learning – they forget what they have typed after 24 hours.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

 

Lower case for internet and web!

The 2016 Stylebook of Associated Press (AP) will advise that from 1 June “internet” and “web” should be in lower case and no longer capitalised. Some people aren’t happy…they like Internet! Thanks AP – in 2010 they ruled “web site” would become “website” and in 2011, “e-mail” became “email”.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/146708/20160404/the-ap-stylebook-will-lowercase-internet-starting-june-1-and-the-web-reacts.htm

 

Google: don’t be evil?

Google is one of the US’s largest providers of edtech in K-12 schools. However, Google does track student data – but not to target them for advertising or to get personal details. It tracks students signed into Google Apps for Education when they use Search, YouTube, Blogger and Maps and uses the data “to develop and improve Google products” (Sue Molinari, a Google VP).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/02/16/google-says-it-tracks-personal-student-data-but-not-for-advertising/

 

Robot tutors

The L2TOR Project (pronounced el-tutor) uses social robot tutors in 4 European cities in the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey to help immigrant pre-schoolers learn the local language. The project is run by linguists and roboticists from European universities. Students work through a course under the watchful eye of a NAO robot. The robot explains learning intentions before the lesson, observes body language during the lesson and assists with problems. Researchers have found that social robots have marked benefits over screen-based tutoring and positive impacts on motivation.

http://www.l2tor.eu/

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/robot-teaching-machines-language-learning-l2tor/426639/

 

Amazon Inspire

Amazon Education is working on a new free platform that allows schools to upload, curate, share and discover open education resources (OER). Users can self-publish resources and add ratings and reviews. Metadata tags will be assigned to the resources via learning Registry. Schools could upload their entire digital library if it was open and freely available. Scheduled for release in mid 2016.

https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/amazon-education-to-launch-new-website-for-open-ed-resources/

 

Ahh holidays…and binge-watching

It was Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2015….but it’s not all good. The University of Texas found a strong connection between binge-watching, being depressed and lonely and having a self-regulation deficiency. A team from Zurich noted that binge-watchers want more material things and feel more anxious about life. The American Medical Association examined 25 years of research and found that people who watch a lot of TV have a weaker brain function. So binge if you must but beware!

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129094341.htm?

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/is-netflix-really-making-you-sad-who-knows-but-lets-report-that-anyway-20160331-gnv7o9.html

http://asianjournal.com/news/study-binge-watching-tv-as-a-young-adult-could-lead-to-decline-in-brain-function/

 

ICT news

Digital Australia Report 2016 (DA16)

The video game industry in Australia is worth over $1 billion a year and sales exceed movie box office receipts. The Australian games industry is growing and video games are being used widely in education, health and ageing. Bond University and IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Assoc.) surveyed 3398 Australians of all ages. 68% of the population plays video games – mostly on PCs but phones and tablets have seen increased use for adults. Children play on all devices. Average age of video gamers is 33 years. 47% of video game players are female. 98% of homes with children have video games. 35% of children have played games for the school curriculum. 24% have used video games at work for training. 89% say video gaming can improve thinking skills. 61% think video games could fight dementia. 49% of people over 50 play – the fastest growing segment.

http://www.igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Digital-Australia-2016-DA16-Final.pdf

 

PlayStation Virtual Reality headset

PlayStation VR, Sony’s virtual reality headset  for the PlayStation 4, will arrive in October 2016 for $AU550. Attached to a comfortable padded headset, special curved lenses stretch and magnify a 5.7 inch screen across your field of vision. It will come with 50 games, immersing you in a 3D world of virtual reality. You will also need a PlayStation camera and motion controllers (wands). It will be cheaper than the other 2 VR headsets coming this year – Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-playstation-vr/?ftag=CAD1acfa04&bhid=23787909704659446143753669728655

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality were huge this year at TED in Vancouver and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with VR headsets now available with the latest mobile phones. Mark Zuckerberg: “VR is the next platform, where anyone can experience and share anything they want”.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ted-virtual-augmented-reality-1.3453884

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/mwc-2016-virtual-reality-steals-the-show-in-barcelona-20160224-gn24fq.html

 

Minecraft Education Edition

Minecraft (owned by Microsoft) is used in over 7000 classrooms in more than 40 countries. Microsoft recently acquired learning game MinecraftEdu from Finland, which has lessons for teachers using Minecraft with STEM, history, language and art. The new Minecraft Education Edition will be rolled out mid 2016 – free at first, then $5 pa per child.

http://education.minecraft.net/

 

Do games boost learning?

A 2013 French study of 27 000 Year 9 students found very little correlation between playing video games and cognitive/school tests. However, a new study from the Uni of Bristol found that progressive scoring systems in games deactivate the brain’s Default Mode Network and quieten down parts of the brain associated with unfocused mind-wandering. Students given a gamified quiz showed higher engagement and more goal-directed behaviour.

http://readwrite.com/2016/01/27/video-games-education-default-attention-mode/

 

Problem: Australia’s internet/broadband speed

In 2015, our download speed was ranked 49th in the world . By 2025, our broadband speed will be 75% of the world average, ranking 100th. The government’s Fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network will struggle to accommodate all devices and their download requirements in the future (eg. 4K ultra HD video streaming).

http://theconversation.com/infographic-how-fast-is-the-nbn-54392

 

Social media and sleep

No surprise really…recent Uni of Pittsburgh studies of 19-32 yr olds found heavy use of social media was linked to sleep problems and a significantly greater risk of depression. A 2015 study of 11-17 yr olds found social media use was linked to diminished sleep quality, lower self-esteem and elevated levels of anxiety and depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201601/tweeting-not-sleeping-balancing-sleep-and-social-media

Review of the Australian Curriculum and Future schools

 

An interesting week with the Review coming out….

Recommendation 18: “With the exception of literacy, numeracy and ICT that continue as they currently are dealt with in the Australian Curriculum, the remaining four general capabilities are no longer treated in a cross–curricular fashion. Critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding should be embedded only in those subjects and areas of learning where relevant and where they can be dealt with in a comprehensive and detailed fashion”.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/education-review-overhaul-of-bloated-national-curriculum-widely-supported-20141012-114zkz.html#ixzz3G4mWTcOT

Full review:  https://www.education.gov.au/news/review-australian-curriculum-final-report-and-initial-australian-government-released.

 

“Axing” of the Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies Curriculum Foundation to Year 10

This week’s Review of the Australian Curriculum recommended that schools only introduce specific digital technology subjects from Year 9 onwards, or as an option for the states and territories. Many teachers thought the proposed curriculum was too difficult, especially in the early years – but members of Australia’s technology industry and other academics are dismayed by the decision, saying it will set Australia back internationally in the technology field and will affect the future economy. Jason Zagami from the Aust. Council for Computers in Education posted a response: http://acce.edu.au/acce-reply-review-australian-curriculum-press-release#attachments .

 

However, the Government will spend $12 million improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) education in primary and secondary schools, including $3.5 million for computer coding education and $7.4 million for maths resources. A new Commonwealth Science Council will advise on science and technology issues, including Nobel Laureate Prof Brain Schmidt, Prof Ian Frazer and Catherine Livingstone.

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/396769,govt-promises-12-million-for-stem-in-schools.aspx

http://www.itwire.com/government-tech-news/govenrment-tech-policy/65707-proposed-‘axing’-of-digital-tech-curriculum-causes-outrage

http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/557429/warm-response-funding-coding-education/

 

Avoiding obsolescence: 13 standards for a near-future school

Food for thought and interesting ideas from Terry Heick, founder of TeachThought (which always has interesting articles).…

In 2024 traditional classrooms and pedagogy will have changed quite radically and current models will be obsolete. “Teaching, as we have designed it, curriculum, as we have packaged it, and education as we have promised it absolutely, positively cannot be successful on the shoulders of a single classroom teacher”. Or even 10. Heick suggests 13 standards for a near-future school. These include:

* every classroom should be “published” through appropriate social platforms

* student access to a network of peers, mentors and global “friends”

* artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool  for students to create their own learning experience via their own “Siri”

* students should have endless choices

* self-directed learning, creativity, making, the humanities, emotion and citizenship transcend curriculum and catalyze learning

* all texts (literature, non fiction, social commentary, creative, informal etc) should be responsive – adjusting to a student’s literacy level & reading preferences

* search is dead; research is born – search engines will have been replaced by a hybrid of search, recommendation, crowd-sourcing and “resource prediction” (a personalized learning algorithm that predicts what resource or learning element will benefit the student)

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/avoiding-obsolescence-13-standards-near-future-school/

 

More interesting suggestions from Heick….

Teaching Google natives to value information

10 strategies – not necessarily new ideas for TLs J

http://www.teachthought.com/technology/teaching-google-natives-to-value-information/

Wikispaces Classroom and Google Glass

Wikispaces Classroom
Many schools have learning management systems & social learning platforms – both commercial and free. Edmodo has proved popular at our school, due to its ease of use (often thought of as “Facebook for schools”). Some teachers use it ahead of the departmentally supplied LMS. http://www.edmodo.com/
Wikispaces recently announced its new free platform for education: Wikispaces Classroom.
“Wikispaces Classroom is a social writing platform for education. We make it incredibly easy to create a classroom workspace where you and your students can communicate and work on writing projects alone or in teams. Rich assessment tools give you the power to measure student contribution and engagement in real-time. Wikispaces Classroom works great on modern browsers, tablets, and phones”. It also incorporates a social news feed feature so that teachers and students can see what is happening in the learning space. http://www.wikispaces.com/content/classroom/about
See examples: http://blog.wikispaces.com/2013/04/announcing-wikispaces-classroom.html
How to – videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hS8iJYnFFE

Google Glass
Lots of tech people have recently trialled Google Glass, which won’t be generally available till next year. Apps (which must be free with no ads) are currently being developed by various companies to make Google Glass an intriguing & useful item of wearable technology.

Google Glass eyewear is a small glass screen above the right eye and a right arm that contains a trackpad that you can tap. It has 16GB of storage, Bluetooth & a 5MB camera. Bone audio technology allows the wearer to hear audio with no headphones (soundwaves go through cheekbones into the inner ear). You can give voice commands eg. “OK, Glass, take a picture” or use the trackpad. You can view emails etc in front of your eyes on the screen or ask for directions. You wake the glasses up by tilting your head upwards. Apparently the screen doesn’t obscure the line of vision. But there are privacy issues – people may not know they are being filmed or spied on! Cost $1500 – that will reduce. Don’t get ready to barcode a class set for the library just yet 

Excellent 3 min. video: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/google-glass-googles-wearable-gadget/story?id=19091948
Physics teacher uses Google Glass to take his online students on a virtual excursion to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRrdeFh5-io

YouTube to launch paid subscription channels
Free-to-air TV and the main channels are certainly facing more competition each year from online video sources & IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), both free & subscription. Netflix will probably be here within 2 years. YouTube will soon offer some paid premium content – users will be able to subscribe to 50 exclusive channels that will have TV shows & films.
http://www.digital-media.net.au/news/digital/youtube-to-launch-paid-subscription-channels
http://www.iptv.com.au/how-to-get-iptv/
YouTube vs TV? The battle is already over
YouTube: 1 billion unique visitors each month. YouTube means more engagement than TV – it is the future.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/8625482/YouTube-says-battle-with-TV-is-already-over

10 top time-saving tech tips
10 simple tips for computer, web, smartphone and camera users.
http://www.ted.com/talks/david_pogue_10_top_time_saving_tech_tips.html