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/

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

 

 

Good films and TV

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

 

Jasper Jones

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

http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/jasper-jones-is-a-classic-in-the-making/news-story/4aac912ce1d385d382591e9de55ee9c6

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

 

Wake in fright

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

http://if.com.au/2016/09/08/article/Network-Ten-orders-Wake-In-Fright-mini-series/JJCSEPFVAR.html

 

Picnic at Hanging Rock

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

https://www.foxtel.com.au/got/whats-on/foxtel-insider/foxtel/picnic-at-hanging-rock/cast.html

 

ABC shows in 2017

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

 

ABC programs include:

 

Blue water empire

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

http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2016/07/filming-to-begin-on-abc-docudrama-blue-water-empire.html

 

The warriors

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

 

Bullied presented by Ian Thorpe and Cyberhate with Tara Moss

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

 

My Year 12 life

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

 

Cleverman

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

 

Davis Stratton’s stories of Australian cinema

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

 

Art bites

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

 

Returning ABC shows

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

 

iView, ABC News

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

 

The Oscars

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

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

 

Best picture nominees include:

 

Lion

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741834/

 

Hidden figures

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

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4846340/

 

Hacksaw Ridge

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532/

 

Arrival

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543164/

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

 

La La land

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3783958/

 

Moonlight

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

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/19/moonlight-review-five-star

 

Best animated film nominees

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

 

Foreign language film nominations

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

http://oscar.go.com/news/nominations/foreign-language-film-nominations-2017-oscars

 

Something for everyone!

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

 

ICT and media news

RUOK? survey reveals Aussies spend more time with screens than quality time with family and friends

We spend an average of 46 hours of our weekly downtime looking at TVs and devices, compared to 6 hours engaging with family and friends. About half of all Australians spend 2 hours or less weekly connecting with those who matter to them. Obstacles include distance, being too tired, being busy, housework and long work hours. Finding time in busy schedules is crucial. Strong and caring connections provide a safety net to help people cope with challenging times.

https://www.ruok.org.au/new-survey-reveals-aussies-spend-more-time-with-screens-than-quality-time-with-family-and-friends

 

Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2016

Their 5th edition- more than 2000 Australians aged 14 to 69 were surveyed. The survey provides a snapshot of how consumers are interacting with media, entertainment and technologies. Results include:

 

* Huge influence of social media – the #1 digital destination; 84% are on a social network

*61% use social media every day; 84% of younger millennials use it every day

*Most used social media sites: 1.  Facebook (92%) 2. Instagram (28%) 3. Twitter (24%) 4. (All equal) Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ (18%)

*18% use social media sites as their most frequently used source of news (14% online papers; 6% print newspapers); many younger people use social media as their primary source of news

*Word of mouth is still the main influence on purchase decisions, followed by recommendations on social media (which has surpassed the influence of TV advertising)

*TV viewing, on any device, is the most preferred entertainment activity (62% rate it in top 3)

*Using the internet for social or personal interests is almost as popular as TV (60% rate it in top 3)

*Millennials prefer using the internet as their top source of entertainment; watching TV is the most popular with other generations

*Live programming is the most used method for consuming TV (42% of viewing time)

*Watching streamed programming is increasing (22% pay for a subscription)

*Millennials lead the uptake of streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Presto

*Almost everyone likes to binge-watch (74% millennials; 50% others)

* 88% multitask while watching TV

*66% own tablet devices

*86% of households own a smartphone and a laptop; 85% own a TV

*67% rank smartphones in their top 3 devices

*Social media apps are the most popular with millennials; banking apps are also popular with younger people; older people like weather apps!

*10% intend to buy a Virtual Reality headset next year

*21% own a fitness band and 11% own a smartwatch

*Millennials (age 14 to 32) lead the way in engaging with the digital media universe

 

Preferred entertainment activities of all respondents – including books!

  1. Watching TV (any device) 2. Using the internet 3. Listening to music (any device) 4. Going to the movies 5. Reading books 6. Playing video games 7. Attending live performances 8. Reading newspapers (print or online) 9. Listening to the radio (any device/format) 10. Reading magazines (print or online)

*Reading books (in any format) is rated by 25% of people as a top 3 entertainment activity

*Reading books (in any format) decreased in popularity by 8% compared to 2015, despite gains for the past 4 years.

*Reading books and playing video games are almost equal in popularity as a top 3 entertainment activity (25% for books; 24% for video games)

*Movie-going increased in popularity by 5% over the past year

*Aside from using the internet and watching TV, millennials also favour listening to music, going to the movies and playing video games

*Aside from watching TV and using the internet, boomers and matures also like reading newspapers and books

 

Good short video and infographic: http://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/media-consumer-survey-2016.html

The report: http://bit.ly/2cV9Ml2

Summary: http://which-50.com/social-dominates-digital-reshapes-media-habits/

Good TV and films

Good things from the ABC and some good upcoming films…..

 

iView Arts channel

Art, fashion, books, film, photography, music….

http://iview.abc.net.au/channel/abcarts

 

iView Arts programs include:

 

Bookish

“A short-form digital complement to The Book Club – where books, reading culture and storytelling collide online”. Videos are 3 to 7 minutes.

http://iview.abc.net.au/collection/bookish-new-from-abc-arts

 

The Word

Poetry from writers and performers from diverse backgrounds. Videos are 3 to 10 minutes.

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/word/IV1609H012S00

 

Meet the mavericks

Featuring iconic artists, performers, thinkers, cultural leaders and all round troublemakers. It pairs guests from different generations and fields who have aspects of their work in common eg. Tim Minchin and Phillip Adams; Ben Quilty and Warwick Thornton.

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/meet-the-mavericks/AC1519H001S00

 

The critics

Examines screen culture from feature films to web series and video art. Videos are 10 minutes.

http://iview.abc.net.au/collection/the-critics

 

Anh’s brush with fame

8 part series from Wed 24 Aug on ABC. Comedian and artist Anh Do paints a portrait of a well-known person whilst getting to know them and learning about their life and formative years. The celebrities also share personal photos and videos. First up is Magda Szubanski, followed by Jimmy Barnes, Amanda Keller, Dr Charlie Teo, Kyle Sandilands, Craig McLachlan, Kate Ceberano and Anthony Mundine. Anh was a finalist in the 2014 Archibald Prize.

https://tv.press.abc.net.au/comedian-anh-do-paints-aussie-celebs-in-new-abc-series

 

ABC3 becomes ABC ME on 19 Sept

“The complete digital and broadcast service designed to reflect and celebrate the lives, interests and diversity of young Australians”. The channel is aimed at school-aged children and will have quality short and long form Australian and international content, with a new app that can be personalised. New programs include News to me (weekly pop culture review show); Prisoner zero (sci-fi action animation) and This is me (short documentary series). Returning programs include the acclaimed Nowhere boys, Little lunch and Behind the news. There will also be new strands that will allow children to share their ideas and opinions. ABC ME will be on Channel 23 free to air.

https://tv.press.abc.net.au/strictly-embargoed-media-release-abc3-becomes-abc-me

 

Good shows on the ABC for the remainder of the year…..

Man up – Looks at the disconnectedness of Australian men, mental health problems and suicide.

Jane Caro’s Compass series explores family relationships.

When TV was awesome – Short ABC archival gems get a comedy-mash-up makeover. Satirical, irreverent and shareable.

You can’t ask that – excellent insights into the lives of marginalised Australians who answer anonymous questions.

Looking forward to Upper middle bogan (series 3)….such a good show!

http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2016/08/abc-upcoming-highlights.html

 

Some good films….

 

Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children

Directed by Tim Burton. Based on the  bestselling dark fantasy/horror young adult novel by Ransom Riggs, which was illustrated with unusual vintage photos of children. Following  a family tragedy, 16 year old Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, leading him to an abandoned orphanage on an island, inhabited by a variety of children with unusual traits and powers. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson. Rated PG. Opens Sept 2016.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1935859/

Book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9460487-miss-peregrine-s-home-for-peculiar-children

 

Pete’s dragon

The adventures of an orphaned boy who is rescued after an accident by a giant green dragon who lives in a forest. Remake of the 1977 film musical. Stars Bryce Dallas Howard , Oakes Fegley and Robert Redford. “The elemental friendship between boy and beast and a lovely affirmation of family, community, and the preciousness of the natural world” (Tobias). Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2788732/

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/petes-dragon-2016

 

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

Prequel to the Harry Potter series, set in New York in 1926; the first in a film trilogy. Based on the book by J.K.Rowling/Newt Scamander (an approved textbook at Hogwarts). Follows the adventures of writer and introverted wizard Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. When Newt visits New York for a conference, a misplaced magical case leads to the escape of some fantastic beasts and an increase in violence, fear and tension between magical and non magical peoples. Directed by David Yates (who directed Harry Potter 5,6,7,and 8). Stars Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell. Opens 18 November.

http://moviepilot.com/p/fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-news-rumors-all-you-need-to-know/4076907

http://www.fantasticbeasts.com/

https://www.pottermore.com/fantastic-beasts

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3183660/

 

A monster calls

Based on the acclaimed book by Patrick Ness (a very moving, sad but wonderful story). An ancient yew tree helps a boy cope with his mother’s terminal illness and face the truth about an incident in his past. Stars Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson as the voice of the monster. The trailer looks excellent. Opens Jan 2017.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMgm20Di9Wg

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3416532/

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/

More good films and TV

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

 

Breath

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

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/13/simon-baker-to-produce-direct-and-star-in-adaptation-of-tim-wintons-breath

 

Cleverman

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

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

http://if.com.au/2015/04/29/article/Cleverman-breaks-new-ground-for-original-drama/VBORCGWQKL.html

 

The Kettering Incident

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

http://www.foxtel.com.au/got/whats-on/foxtel-insider/foxtel/the-kettering-incident.html

 

Tomorrow when the war began

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

http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/news_and_events/2015/mr_150513_prodfunding.aspx

 

Barracuda

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

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

 

Nowhere boys: the rise of the bear

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

http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2014/12/nowhere-boys-the-movie.html

Good films

The secret river

How good do the previews look for this 2 part historical drama coming soon to the ABC? Adapted from the excellent book by Kate Grenville (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize); directed by Daina Reid (Paper giants; Never tear us apart); stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Sarah Snook (who was amazing in the awesome sci-fi film Predestination) and Tim Minchin (always excellent). Convict  William Thornhill and his free wife Sal are transported to NSW in 1805, where conflict arises between the new settlers and local indigenous people and Thornhill is drawn into an horrific event that will change him forever. “The Secret River  is an epic tragedy in which a good man is compelled by desperation, fear, ambition and love for his family to participate in a crime of inhuman savagery. It allows an audience, two hundred years later, to have a personal insight into the dark heart of our nation’s foundation story” (Richard Finlayson, ABC).

https://abccommercial.com/contentsales/program/secret-river

 

Ex machina

Sci-fi thriller in cinemas now. Directed by author and screenwriter Alex Garland (The beach); stars Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander. A young programmer wins a competition to spend a week at a private retreat owned by the mysterious CEO of his company. He must then participate in an experiment interacting with and evaluating the human qualities of a beautiful female robot, to prove that AI (artificial intelligence) has been born. “Stylish, elegant, tense, cerebral, satirical and creepy” (Dan Jolin, Empire). Rated MA15+.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470752/

Review: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jan/25/ex-machina-review-mark-kermode-alex-garland-vikander

 

Me and Earl and the dying girl

Comedy-drama based on the 2012 debut novel by Jesse Andrews. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon; stars Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation, winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Awkward high school student Greg befriends Rachel, a classmate with leukemia. He and his friend Earl make films in their spare time and decide to make a film for her. “Anyone who buys a ticket goes in fully expecting to cry….the surprise then is the laughter: the near-constant stream of wise, insightful jokes that make it so easy to cozy up to characters dealing with a tough emotional situation” (Peter Debruge, Variety). Opens June in the US.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582496/

http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/sundance-film-review-me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-1201414455/

 

Tomorrowland

Sci-fi mystery adventure. Directed by Brad Bird; stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Tim McGraw. An intelligent curious girl and a jaded inventor embark on a mission to unearth Tomorrowland, a place that exists in their collective memory. What they must do there changes them and the world forever. Plot details are sketchy, just the way Disney planned it, and no reviews are yet available. Intriguing…Rated PG. Opens 28 May.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1964418/

 

Absolutely anything

Sci-fi comedy. Directed and co-written by Terry Jones; stars Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale and the voices of all living Monty Python members – Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle and also Robin Williams as the voice of Dennis the dog (sadly his last role). A disillusioned schoolteacher suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wants – an ability given to him by a group of power-crazed aliens (the Pythons) who watch him from space. Opens 22 October.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1727770/

http://deadline.com/2015/04/monty-python-simon-pegg-robin-williams-comedy-absolutely-anything-1201413547/

 

Looking forward to seeing Matilda in Sydney, the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, based on the book by Roald Dahl with songs by the awesome Tim Minchin. “Gleefully nasty, an evening of unadulterated bliss” (The Guardian). “Easily the standout musical of the decade” (Sunday Times). “Hilarious, moving, glorious” (Daily Telegraph). And Les Miserables was superb.

http://au.matildathemusical.com/

http://www.lesmis.com.au/#

 

And then there’s Mad Max: Fury Road and The Avengers: Age of Ultron….too hard!

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150514-does-mad-max-take-it-to-the-max

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/15/movies/review-mad-max-fury-road-still-angry-after-all-these-years.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/avengers-age-of-ultron/review/