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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

There’s nothing like a good competition to spur students interest and enthusiasm for learning and exploring.

 

The National History Challenge, promoted by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia (HTAA), is open to Year 1 to Year 12 students across Australia.  As noted on their website:

The National History Challenge ….. is an exciting contest that encourages students to use research and inquiry-based learning to discover more about the past. Students are the historians. They can investigate their community, explore their own and their family’s past and consider ideas throughout history. The NHC encourages the use of primary and secondary sources and offers a variety of presentation styles. It rewards students with generous cash prizes and travel opportunities.

Complete registration details online to get an Information Kit and encourage students to start thinking now about a suitable project.

Keep an eye on the Key Dates page though, as closing dates are not yet available.

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I’m a sucker for good ideas!!

I just saw one on Kickstarter, a website which aims to help bring creative projects to life.

The idea of developing a gadget that can rock a baby while it’s lying in its car seat, commonly referred to as a baby capsule here in Australia, is such a simple idea that you have to wonder why it hasn’t been invented before now!

Developed in Germany and available for distribution worldwide, BOBBY is a simple little device which can be placed underneath the edge of the baby capsule to gently and smoothly rock the capsule.  Marketed as safe, smart, portable and fully automated, this great idea was generated by a group of parents.

Read details about this snazzy gadget on their Kickstarter page: BOBBY | Turn your baby car seat into a baby bouncer or watch this video to get a good idea of how it works.

If you’re really enthusiastic, become one of their supporters by selecting the ‘back this project’ tab.

 

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Technically challenging, exquisitely beautiful, the creation of ‘missed nuance’ – a ballet art film – by Niv Novak, has achieved heights so far unseen in the movie world.

Fascination with the beauty of movement in ballet coupled with a frustration that movement is so fast it is missed by the viewer have combined as the catalyst for Niv Novak, a Melbourne based photographer, to capture this beauty on film and share it with the world.

Overcoming obstacles of lighting and using cameras which shoot 1000 frames per second – shots that are of such high quality anyone of them could be reproduced on a magazine cover – has produced a mesmerizing film capturing the beauty and talent of world famous dancers.

Filmed in Niv Novak’s Melbourne studio, with equipment that weighs more than 700kg, this ballet art film includes world famous dancers from The Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Theatre, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and Queensland Ballet.  The stunning gowns worn by the dancers in this ballet art film showcase the talents of leading Australian fashion designers and couturiers.

Explaining his motivation for the making of this film, Niv says:

As a passionate photographer of dance I realized that so much of the beauty is missed – lost to speed. I wanted to capture it all, lit as beautifully as a photograph.

Subtle gradations in movement, light skimming across a dancer’s physique, muscles activating, ligaments stretching, fabrics flickering, bending and floating – countless moments of expression are missed. While photography reveals instants of such beauty, Missed Nuance captures all.”

Read more about the making of ‘missed nuance’ in online reviews on My Modern Met and Vogue Australia

Missed Nuance’ the movie is available worldwide on iTunes now.

See more about Niv Novak and his work on:
Instagram @nivnovak
YouTube Channel
Facebook www.facebook.com/NivNovakPhotography/
Website www.nivnovak.com

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I’m exhausted!  Totally pooped!!

I’ve just finished cleaning out my pantry to make sure I’ve gotten rid of every last one of those wretched teabags!!

I had no idea!  Did you?

Teabags, one by one, could be poisoning us, filling our bodies with nanoparticles of plastic.

A Canadian research team out of Montreal’s McGill University found plastic teabags release billions of microplastics and nanoplastics when dipped into a mug of hot water, posing an unknown risk to human health.”

The disturbing discovery which could put you off your tea (Yahoo News, 30th September 2019)

Like most of you, I had no idea that polypropylene, a material which is helpful in ensuring teabags hold their shape, is used in about 96% of teabags produced worldwide.

Researches conducting this study on pyramid shaped silken teabags anticipated discovering that hundreds, perhaps thousands of plastic particles would be released into a cup of water.  The findings of their study, which involved dunking the teabags into a cup of water for 5 minutes at a time, then analyzing the dried water through a powerful microscope, shocked researchers:

Researchers found the teabags released about 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into the hot water after sitting in the liquid for just a few minutes.”

The disturbing discovery which could put you off your tea (Yahoo News, 30th September 2019)

While there is no conclusive evidence that these particles are harmful to people’s health, the prospect of ingesting – over a week – the same amount of plastic as a credit card is pretty scary.

We’ve just made the shift to tea leaves – reminiscent of the many pots of Robur tea that my mother brewed throughout my childhood!

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I blogged about animated gifs a couple of years ago when I came across the inspirational work of George Redhawk.

Just now though, I’ve come across another master of animated gifs: James Eads in whose work we can simply get lost!

 

Born in Los Angeles, Eads lives and works at the Brewery Arts in Los Angeles, I came across his work on a September 2016 blogpost by Moss & Fog.  Check out his tumblr and instagram profiles for more inspirational art.

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Even though this is an ad published late last year for the new MacBook Pro, the video encapsulates some of the most revolutionary ideas that have been developed by man.

Quite literally

Ideas push the world forward!”

 

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Stephen King’s writing is legendary.

His books, of which there are more than 50, have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide.  Many of them have been adapted into movies, TV shows and comic books.  In addition to his novels, he has written more than 200 short stories.

While reading the genre of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction and fantasy may rule him out as being your favourite kind of author, it is not many writers who have had such an impact on the world of literature or written as prolifically.

So having the opportunity to listen to Stephen King’s thoughts in a short radio interview late last year, I was surprised to find that his words resonated strongly with me.  Most particularly when he said

We forget what it is to be a child.”

my ears pricked up.  Why is it, King questions, that adults forget how to look at the world through the eyes of a child.

His thoughts remind me of the words of that well known educator, Sir Ken Robinson, who in videos such as Do schools kill creativity? also laments the fact that children lose their creativity as they work their way from pre-school through to the end of high school.

Have a listen to this short interview and in the process be spellbound by the incredible drawings that accompany the interview.

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I came across this video a little while ago.

It’s one of those videos which makes you appreciate how easy it is to impart knowledge in the most simple of ways.  For teachers we refer to it as our

bag of tricks!

Once you’ve been in teaching for a little while, knowing how to present to students so that they really ‘get’ the point of the lesson really becomes second nature.

Teaching becomes so routine, that sometimes, we even forget that we have these skills ‘up our sleeve’!

What am I talking about?  Simple teaching skills such as

  • Gaining attention by breaking with routine.
  • Using silence for optimum results.
  • Ensuring words of instruction are minimized.
  • Engaging with students at their level.
  • Asking pointed question to stimulate thought.
  • Utilizing student knowledge to highlight information being shared.
  • Injecting humour into the lesson.
  • Incorporating physical objects to illustrate a point.
  • Exploring alternate teaching styles.
  • Allowing students to draw conclusions.

The lesson being imparted in this video is valuable for us all.  The point of the lesson is made clearly and strongly.

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I’m not really very good at thinking through tax related issues, but when I listened to this recently released interview by Quartz with Bill Gates, his words made perfect sense to me.

If robots are taking over the jobs of workers why shouldn’t they pay the same kind of tax that would be paid by the people they replace?!

And … as Gates questions with that endearing giggle at the end of the video ….. it’s somewhat unlikely that robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax?!

Gates’ thoughts on the subject have already drawn commentary with Forbes describing his ideas as “bafflingly simple”.  Headlines citing reference to this interview such as this one: Robots that steal human jobs should pay taxes  are bound to proliferate across the web over the coming week as more thought is given to Gates’ not so outrageous thoughts!

Interesting – no?

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My fascination with 3D printers never ends – after all its applications really are without end!

A while ago I fleetingly read about a pop up 3D restaurant in the newspaper, but with the restaurant scheduled to open in London, I didn’t really pay all that much attention.

Then I saw this video and ….. well ….. as I just said …… anything is possible!

But the magic of invention took a new turn when I read a post about an invention by a Dutch design studio which has created a compact 3D chocolate printer perfect for use in restaurants and homes.

Just look at it!  Apart from what it can do, this ‘must have’ kitchen accessory is sleek and sexy and I can already imagine it sitting on my kitchen benchtop!

3D chocolate printer

Most definitely, this is the most perfect ‘find’ for me which has popped up just in time for the summer holidays.   You don’t need much imagination to know what I will be spending the summer playing with!

See you back here in February 2017 when our school year ‘Downunder’ restarts.

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