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/

Interesting webcasts and ICT news

School Library Journal webcasts

Lots of good free archived webcasts here – Building a 21st century library; Hot new graphic novels coming soon; Pop literacy; Virtual reality and Augmented Reality….

You can also sign up for the following 3 webcasts in the Top Tech Trends Spring 2017 series (in association with ISTE) or access them later in the archives:

16 March: Information literacy in the age of fake news (now archived)
Critical thinking is more important than ever. Examines best practices for students to manage the digital firehose and considers perspective and bias.

20 April: 60 tools in 60 minutes
Explores the best applications and gear for your school or library, including must-have multimedia content, cool coding platforms, and top choices for your maker space.

18 May: Technology to aid the struggling reader
A resource-rich program with tips on how to leverage technology to help new and struggling readers. Learn about the best storytelling apps, digital sources of high-interest content for kids and teens, and more.

http://www.slj.com/category/webcasts/

 

Job hunting robots

Stephen Hawking , Elon Musk and Bill Gates are worried about our jobs.

Hawking: “The rise of Artificial Intelligence is likely to extend job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”

Musk: “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better than a human.” A universal basic income would allow the economy to continue as millions of workers are displaced by automation.

Gates: Governments should start taxing robot workers.

Meanwhile, Uber has bought a self-driving truck company and Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, is testing a store with no employees. And you can get a coffee made by a robot barista in San Francisco’s Café X!

https://www.good.is/articles/automation-elon-musk-bill-gates-jobs?utm_source=thedailygood&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailygood

http://abc7news.com/technology/robot-baristas-serve-coffee-at-san-franciscos-cafe-x/1728812/

 

Preparing for the future of work

Lots of skills and attitudes here that we try to develop and encourage in our students!

People skills will continue to be in high demand – machines have no empathy and emotional intelligence (EI) plays a role in everything. Critical thinking will be crucial and creative thinkers will add value and new perspectives. Adaptability and insight will be more important than talent. Digital and media literacy and predicting trends will be paramount. Virtual collaboration skills will be essential to communicate with teams located elsewhere. Upsetting the status quo can be an asset!

https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-prepare-yourself-for-the-automated-future-107ed5bc763#.bnlw1a486

 

Mark Zuckerberg’s robot butler Jarvis

Each year Zuckerberg creates a personal challenge for himself. For 2016, he wanted to develop a simple Artificial Intelligence to run his home – “Jarvis” (like in Iron Man). It took 100 hours. You can’t see Jarvis but you can hear him (voiced by Morgan Freeman!) and he is great at assisting with tasks. Zuckerberg controlled Jarvis from smartphones placed around the house and often used text (a Facebook Messenger bot that he built) rather than voice. Is it the future?

Fun videos – including wife Priscilla’s experience: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/20/watch-mark-zuckerbergs-morgan-freeman-voiced-jarvis-ai-in-action/

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/innovation/mark-zuckerberg-shows-off-jarvis-ai-he-built-to-run-his-home-20161220-gtfgfq.html

His 2017 challenge – meeting and talking with someone from every state of the US: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103385178272401

 

70+ educational  iPad apps for the classroom

Useful categories: presentations, screencasting, video and audio creation, book creation, file storage, whiteboard, notetaking, mindmapping, speech to text…

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2017/01/70-educational-ipad-apps-for-teachers.html

 

Apple Park

The new Apple headquarters (aka the “spaceship”) opens soon in Cupertino, California, with 12 000 employees moving in from April. It will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world – run entirely on renewable energy and with walking & running paths for employees, an orchard, meadow and pond. Product launches will take place in the Steve Jobs Theatre on a hill.

http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/apple/52-facts-about-apples-spaceship-campus-february-drone-video-3489704/

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 news

Coding world record

On 20 July, more than 10,000 Australian kids set a new world record for the number of children coding simultaneously at the nationwide Moonhack event. Run by Code Club Australia, participants completed a series of online computer programming exercises related to science and astronomy. Founded in 2014, Code Club Australia has over 900 clubs.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/aussie-kids-set-new-coding-world-record/news-story/83825ec56170e8bcf45861f09afb08c4?utm_source=The%20Australian&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

 

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app

At WWDC in June, Apple introduced the free Swift Playgrounds app that makes learning to code fun and easy for all. Designed for the iPad, the app encourages beginners to explore using Swift, the easy-to-learn programming language used by professional developers. Through lessons, students learn how to write code to guide onscreen characters through worlds, solving puzzles as they learn core coding concepts. Templates are included to help students create real programs that can be shared. Swift Playgrounds allows students to create an unlimited variety of interactive programs. Extra challenges will be released so students can further develop their abilities.  Swift Playgrounds is “not about learning apps for platforms. It’s about learning good coding practices” (Hodges, Apple). iOS 10 beta version available in July; final version available Sept/Oct.

 

“Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code” (Federighi, Apple VP). “The new Swift Playgrounds app from Apple is one of the most powerful, yet approachable, educational coding apps we’ve ever seen.…it’s a fun and intuitive way for our students to learn the basic principles of coding using the iPad, and also become skilled in Swift” (MacDonald).

http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2016/06/13Swift-Playgrounds-App-Makes-Learning-to-Code-Easy-Fun.html

http://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Swift Playgrounds is built for kids, but adults might like it too:

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2016/07/14/apple-swift-playgrounds-preview/#gref

 

Facebook’s internet drone test  flight

Facebook hopes to connect the world’s 7 billion people to the internet. Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, solar-powered, high-altitude drone, recently flew successfully for 96 minutes above Yuma, Arizona. Aquila will fly over areas of the world not yet connected to the internet, and beam down lasers to provide connectivity. It has a massive wingspan, flies as slowly as possible and only uses the equivalent power of 3 hairdryers. Using drones is more feasible than covering the world with signal towers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/aquila-facebook-solar-powered-internet-drone-takes-flight/7651394

http://www.theverge.com/a/mark-zuckerberg-future-of-facebook/aquila-drone-internet

 

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes

At our Year 11-12 school, we have installed 30 Asus wifi Chromeboxes to replace ageing PCs in the library. The Chromeboxes use an existing monitor and run Chrome OS ($280). The device is a desktop variant of the Chromebook laptop (HP $550), which our students use frequently.  In May this year, Chromebooks outsold Macs in the US education market for the first time. That was before Google announced that apps on the Android mobile platform – all 2.2 million – would be coming to Chromebooks too. Any app on your Android phone will sync to your Chromebook (or ChromeBox, the desktop unit). Chromebooks are less expensive and require far less IT support than PCs.

http://www.crn.com.au/feature/chromebooks-cross-major-milestone-in-battle-with-apple-431039?eid=4&edate=20160722&utm_source=20160722&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter

 

The benefits and otherwise of Pokemon Go

More daily users than Twitter; more time spent playing it than on Facebook. Some benefits: getting gamers to exercise; socialising with others; positive impacts on mental health; cooperation between players; increasing use of museums, coffee shops, cafes etc

http://theconversation.com/pokemon-go-gets-people-out-and-about-and-thats-a-good-thing-62343

http://www.sciencealert.com/pokemon-go-is-reportedly-helping-people-with-their-depression

http://time.com/money/4410946/pokemon-go-accidents-bar-crawls-dating/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/25/12273134/pokemon-go-tips-guides-news-nintendo-niantic-labs

 

Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.3 billion

The purchase includes Yahoo Search, Mail and Flickr.  Verizon will merge Yahoo with AOL, providing an advertising alternative to juggernauts Google and Facebook, which have 43% of digital ad sales worldwide. Yahoo was launched in 1995 by Stanford grad students Jerry Yang and David Filo as ‘Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web’.

http://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-buying-yahoo-likely-merging-it-with-aol/?ftag=CAD1acfa04

 

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/

 

STEM and ICT news and Google’s best of 2015 lists

Good news for STEM in Australia…..

 

The new National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA)

Malcolm Turnbull’s $1.1 billion innovation package (the Ideas Boom) was released yesterday at CSIRO in Canberra – “inspiring Australians to be innovative” and to take risks. The government will spend $48 million over the next 4 years “inspiring” Australians in digital literacy and STEM areas. This includes funding to upgrade teachers’ digital skills, educational apps and $13 million to boost the participation of girls and women in STEM. The government will spend $51 million over five years targeting coding activity in schools including online computing challenges for Year 5 and 7 students, ICT summer schools for Years 9 and 10, an annual ‘Cracking the Code’ national competition for years 4 to 12 and support for teachers to increase IT-related activity in the classroom. This fits well with  the AC Digital Technologies.

 

CSIRO and other science research projects will enjoy more funding and a renewed focus, businesses will get more support for innovation and universities will get increased funding for research. The Australian Synchroton (bright light beams for research) and the Square Kilometre Array (largest radio telescope) will get $800 million over 10 years.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-07/pm-malcolm-turnbull-unveils-$1-billion-innovation-program/7006952

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-comes-the-governments-innovation-statement-2015-12

 

 

Tech Girls Are Superheroes

The Tech Girls Are Superheroes campaign was started by the Tech Girls Movement (TGM) in 2014. Founded by Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen, TGM promotes positive female IT role models to encourage and raise awareness of STEM career options for girls. The free booklet Tech Girls Are Superheroes has 26 stories from talented women in IT, each with their own avatar. Available here:

http://www.techgirlsaresuperheroes.org/home/

The winners of the 2015 Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero were announced last month. See their work here:

http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/news/2015/11/9/hp1cc4do6v7rnzq8jwvxpv6yy7c6q9

Entries are now open to all girls in years 4-12 for the 2016 Next Tech Girl Superhero. Students submit technology-based solutions for different challenges according to their year group eg. building body confidence, increasing cybersafety, reducing environmental impacts. Winners receive funding and mentoring for their idea. Entries close 1 July 2016. http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/superherosearch/

Resources: http://www.techgirlsmovement.org/repository/

 

 

Google’s best of 2015 lists

Take a look at what has been popular in Android during 2015 – apps; games; top-selling music, movies, books, news sources; favourite movies and TV…

Click on each category to see the full list – all with links to buy now! (hmm thanks Google).

Favourite books include: Go set a watchman – Harper Lee; Fates and furies – Lauren Groff; The buried giant – Kazuo Ishiguro; Between the world and me – Ta-Nehisi Coates; Carry on – Rainbow Rowell.

Favourite movies and TV include: Paper planes; The secret river; Ex machina; Mr Robot; Fargo; Outlander; Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries; Inside out; Mad Max: Fury Road.

Favourite music includes: 25 – Adele; Currents – Tame Impala; Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit – Courtney Barnett; Fire and the flood – Vance Joy.

Best apps include Skype, Catch of the Day, Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Microsoft Word.

https://play.google.com/store/info/topic?id=bestof2015

Google Trends – check out what we’re searching for: https://www.google.com.au/trends/

Robotics and coding

Spare parts – film

This is a very good film and book – great for Lives and Times / Biography units. It is the true story of 4 Mexican high school students (3 of whom were illegal immigrants) who form a robotics club at an underfunded Phoenix, Arizona high school, under the leadership of a teacher (in real life, 2 teachers). With no experience, $800, used car parts and a dream, the team goes up against the country’s reigning underwater robotics champion, MIT. Directed by Sean McNamara. Stars George Lopez, Marisa Tomei. Rated PG.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3233418/

The original story by Joshua Davis appeared in WIRED magazine in 2005. Following publication, readers contributed more than $90 000 in scholarships for the 4 youths.

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/4-mexican-immigrant-kids-cheap-robot-beat-mit/

Here’s what they are doing now: http://www.wired.com/2014/12/spare-parts/

Book by Joshua Davis – Spare parts: Four undocumented teenagers, one ugly robot, and the battle for the American Dream: http://www.amazon.com/Spare-Parts-Undocumented-Teenagers-American/dp/0374534985

“This is hands down my favorite kind of story: underdogs plus ingenuity plus pluck and dedication equals a deeply moving and touching narrative. I love these kids!” ―Adam Savage, cohost of MythBusters

 

Robotics and computer coding in Queensland schools

These will be taught to all students from prep to Year 10 from 2016. The premier announced that the AC Digital Technologies curriculum would be fast-tracked. Every state school in Qld will also have access to specialist STEM teachers and a Qld coding academy will be set up. The AC Digital Technologies revised curriculum (approved in Sept) now has programming beginning in Year 5, rather than Foundation.

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/leadership/queensland-makes-coding-and-robotics-compulsory-in-schools/2015101515722.html

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1

 

5 reasons to teach robotics in schools

It’s fun for kids; it introduces programming; provides skills for future employment; suitable for range of abilities; demystifies a complex technology.

http://theconversation.com/five-reasons-to-teach-robotics-in-schools-49357

 

Code Club merges with Raspberry Pi Foundation

Global children’s coding network Code Club has merged with the UK charity Raspberry Pi Foundation, which makes low-cost computers to promote computer skills in schools. They are both part of the movement helping people become digital makers and not just consumers. In Australia, the popular Code Club teaches programming languages like Scratch and Python to more than 8000 students in 300 classes. Now they will also start robotics. Raspberry Pi comes pre-loaded with Scratch and Python. It can also be used for Minecraft  and advanced robotics. The new merger will offer even more free resources online for learning coding and digital making.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/03/pi-club/

https://www.codeclub.org.uk/

http://www.codeclubau.org/

https://www.raspberrypi.org/

 

Yes it’s Back to the Future Day today 21 Oct 2015 – but what are the technology predictions for 21 October 2045?

 

Read what some Australian tech experts think….

 

  • 2045 will be a world of ubiquitous, continuous computing – smartphones and tablets will be so 2015!
  • We will be able to control some machines through brain control and telepathy
  • Pilots will be obsolete and planes will run on biofuels and repair themselves
  • Scramjet-powered planes will fly to London in less than an hour
  • People will be digitally ever-present in a fully connected world
  • Individuals will have a unique global digital identity – with privacy settings!
  • Data will be owned by the individual who creates it – allowing individuals to trade, share and volunteer their data for personal gain (eg.targeted advertising – yes you Google…)
  • Disrupted domestic political orders will transform the world (new Prime Ministers every 2months?)
  • Neural implants and active contact lenses will connect you digitally with your world
  • Apple’s iOS 20 delivers true artificial intelligence in all the major languages of the world to our phones and tablets. Google releases Android version later.
  • Apple and Android AI operating systems compete to control our cars, homes, phones and offices
  • And YES! Flying cars! Or rather, flying taxis.

 

http://theconversation.com/its-back-to-the-future-day-today-so-what-are-the-next-future-predictions-48740?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+October+21+2015+-+3674&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+October+21+2015+-+3674+CID_fed86e8284e6bf194323ce97c54e2fbc&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Its%20Back%20to%20the%20Future%20Day%20today%20%20so%20what%20are%20the%20next%20future%20predictions