Category Archives: news

Sometimes the simplest technology tools are the best

A Tasmanian High School teacher. Mark Smithies, received the 2010 Microsoft Innovative Teachers Award [for Tasmania] for his innovative use of ICTs in the classroom. Mark took a mainstrean software package (Microsoft Office), and used it to create highly interactive games for secondary students.
What he really demonstrated, was that complicated software tools are not needed, it’s the application of pedagogy that makes the difference. He took the simplest technology tools, and used them in an innovative way to really engage his students. Another tool that could be used more effectively to achieve this same goal is a interactive whiteboard (IWB). When set-up and used properly, it is a powerful tool that can be used to provide interactivity and engagement in the classroom. Coupled with learning objects, and the ability to display a learning object on the IWB and directly interact with it on the screen.

Source: Tasmania’s Most Innovative Teacher of 2010 Announced – David Bartlett, MP

Could video games be the next great educational tool?

If medical students (or any individuals, for that mater) are open to learning with video games or virtual environments, could this be the next advancement in education?
For instance, virtual reality or virtual environments enable medical students to learn how to interview patients or run a patient clinic, or even perform surgery on virtual patients. So why this be used in an educational settings to provide students will the ability to go into dangerous or normally inaccessible environments in the safety of the classroom or their own home. You could do a class excursion to another country, do a tour of the solar system, or visit the bottom of the ocean. You could do dangerous science experiments, or your could keep working on perfecting the perfect sales pitch to sell a product to a customer.
These are just a few ideas I came up with after reading this article, and are just a sampler of what could be in classrooms in the near future.

Source: Medical students open to learning with video games

Will The Web Will Soon Offer The Best Tertiary Education |?

The web will probably never replace physical P-12 schooling, or tertiary education. But according to Bill Gates, university’s need to be less ‘place-based’, and be more flexible. And the most likely way in which this will happen will be through the Internet.
In my own opinion, this could be a step forward. However, for this to be the case, educators need to fully understand the benefits of the technology they are using in ensure they are used appropriately. For instance, simple ‘tools’ (I use the term tool deliberately) can either be used so the educator can say they’re using the latest flashy technology (Web 2.0), or can be used deliberately to scaffold and support the needs of the learners. For example, wikis can be used to help students remember the course material, analyse it, understand/process it and even create a new end product. Software tools like powerpoint can be used in the same way.
This means the real question will not be whether the web will be an essential part of future school and tertiary education – this is a given, but whether it will be a step forward for education!

Source: Bill Gates Thinks The Web Will Soon Offer The Best Tertiary Education

Parenting in the 21st Century

The University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are running an online survey to find out how Australians are parenting their children in the 21st century. They aim to have at least 1000 parents completing the survey, and can either fill it in and have no further involvement, or can be part of a follow-up in six months time.
Dr Stallman of UQ said that research has not been keeping pace with the marked changes in how today’s parents parent their children, and this is what they trying to correct through the survey.

Source: National online parenting study – parents sought to participate

UK to make it tougher for Australian workers… really?!

According the ABC…

Securing work in the UK could soon be more difficult, with Britain cutting the number of skilled migrants it allows into the country.

However, what this article and the accompanying news headlines on the radio and TV fail to acknowledge until later, is that the United Kingdom (UK) is not doing anything different to what Australia and the United States of America (USA) already do.  And all they are doing is adding another level of complexity to the existing points system that is already in place in order to bring migration to the country back to the levels they experienced in the 1990’s! And in doing so, they are affecting between 5-15% of the people trying to enter the country… so why all the fuss? Good on you ABC… join the rest of the commercial stations in giving one-headlines that give the wrong impression, rather than just doing your job and reporting the facts!

Telstra sees sense at last!

In what was one of Kevin Rudd’s last acts as Prime Minister of Australia, he announced a deal with Telstra for the NBN Co, the government owned company in charge of the National Broadband Network, to have access to Telstra’s infrastructure. It doesn’t come cheap, with a $11 billion dollar price tag, but under the deal, NBN Co. will have access to Telstra’s network of copper and fiber, allowing for a cheaper, more efficient and faster rollout of the NBN.

Telstra reaches national broadband deal

US president may be given internet off switch

In a bill currently being debated in the US Senate, the president will be given far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of or shut down portions of the internet… just imagine… having the power to shut down entire portions of the internet… or just the oppositions website, blaming it on technical difficulties.
Sounds like one of the major concerns with the adoption of the internet filters being proposed here in Australia, which have already been provided to be child’s play to breach, and only able to do about 1% of the job it’s claimed to do. But that’s for another post…

Senators propose granting president emergency Internet power | Politics and Law – CNET News

ACT students log in to learn

Just saw this news item on the ABC News site, it will be interesting to see where what the results of the initial 8 school pilot are, as there is potential for this to be a good system, allowing students to check on homework requirements and submit homework online, replay lessons and create online digital portfolios.
However, as pointed out, there is also the potential for bullying to offset the benefits of the system if not properly monitored and resourced, as well as the question of where are the teachers going to find the extra time to manage this system in addition to everything else they are required to do?

ACT students log in to learn – ABC News

More good stuff from the 7PM project

Due to finishing my exams on Friday, I have done absolutely nothing in the last two days except sleep, eat, and either listen to music, read books or watch tv/dvds. And I must admit, it has been good!
Anyway, moving onto the topic of this post, first up on Friday’s 7PM project was the amazing survival of the baby that, after the mother’s momentary distraction, rolled off the platform (in it’s pram, guys, don’t be ridiculous… babies don’t have wheels!) in front of a oncoming train. The driver reacted quickly and hit the emergency brakes, but wasn’t quick enough to stop before the train passed right over the top of the pram. ironically, the baby only survived due to the fact that it was strapped into the pram! At least the crew at the 7PM project had the good sense to not joke about this accident, and instead reinforced common sense… use the brakes… they’re there for a reason! The mother of the baby had the good sense to turn the wheel(s) of the pram away from the edge of the platform, but in a moments distraction, the pram turned and ran of the track… and understandably, usage of the pram brakes would have prevented this near-death experience. The baby survived with only minor bruising.
And onto another story, which was seen by people all around the world within minutes of it happening – the story of the little boy who floated off in his parents helium weather balloon. Initial reports said that he had either cut the rope and climbed into the balloon, or that it had broken loose whilst he was inside. It then processed to float across America. News reports varied, and people talked themselves into actually seeing him there in the balloon (yeah, the balloon is tipped at an angle, he’s defiantly on board… yeah, riiiight :shrug:). When the balloon finally came down, he was not there, and so the ‘rescuers’ believed that he had fallen out, and a massive air and ground search began. However, later that day, he was found… in a box in the attic of the family home. When interviewed, the story varied between having an argument with his father, to (and more likely), doing it for the show (a publicity stunt). The family are hurricane chasers, and have been involved in other publicity/tv stuff such as wife swap, so the most likely story is that the whole thing was a publicity stunt.
There goes the idea that people are less racist than previous generations… when you hear that black models do not sell magazines, and that even in Asian and African countries, white models are more appealing. Are we turning a corner though, which dark skinned women like Beyonce appearing on this months Cosmo magazine
I really enjoyed the visit by Seth Green, who stared in Buffy, The Italian Job, Austin Powers, and also co-writes and produces ‘Robot Chicken’ (great show, but warped!)… and even though he is a Hollywood star, he still ‘normal’. What are the odds?
Have to this one out on Danni… apparently crying as a good pick up line… or is that when she walks out on you telling you to ‘suck it up, Bambi!’!!! And after that little bombshell, the rest of that segment falls apart, as the male cast take every opportunity to cry on camera!!! lol
To finish off the show, the metro whip-round segment was good, with jokes about ‘my dwarf parties’ and how if have a granny or a dog, then you’re in with half a chance of picking up a girl on the weekend.

Latest news goodies

Hm, Lady Gaga certainly seemed to get everyone’s attention when she spoke at the White House the other day… screaming like a lunatic would have that effect! And I really feel sorry for women now, since they have issues with the amount of alcohol that they can hold… which is less then men!
And now I know why a car racing team should never be sponsored by ‘Jesus’, after the team that crashed in practice on Friday, Saturday, and after 22 laps of the Bathurst races on Sunday! Ok, like the next (sane) person, I believe that we are not alone… that aliens do exist. However, still haven’t had any real proof that they’ve visited us, and I enjoyed the reports about what I could cheerfully call a mass hallucination in Clayton, Victoria back in 1966.
Interesting to see Carrie’s interview with Michael Buble, who will be in Australia next month, and she all but laid herself on a platter for him. Nice to hear about why he likes Aussies – our self-deprecating send of humour as well as our strength in times of need. And now I know there are some real nutcases around, after, as a joke, the 7PM put a used can of Dave Hughes’ Red Bull up for sale on eBay, and reached a staggering final bid of $7,600.00. Understandably, the winning bidder refused to pay after find out that it came complete with cold sore herpes.