Nov 25

Australian broadbandWhen Federal Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Minister, Helen Coonan, presented the 2006 Andrew Olle Media Lecture there was no mention of the need to equip the digital natives in Australian schools with the high speed broadband facilities available to other students elesewhere in Asia and western world. This month Rupert Murdoch labelled labelled broadband services in Australia a “disgrace”. Interestingly Senator Coonan pointed out:

Digital immigrants are, on the whole, outpaced by the hoards of digital natives who do not see technology as technology but as an appendage. It’s not technology to the teens – it’s routine, it’s run-of-the-mill, it’s life.

They don’t marvel about how their mobile or their computer has made their life easier or more convenient – they can barely remember a time when these essentials did not exist.

The Pew Internet Project in the US found that the average 21 year old has, in all probability, spent 5000 hours playing video games, exchanged around 250,000 e-mails, instant messages, and phone text messages, and has spent 10,000 hours on a mobile phone and 3500 hours online.

Waiting for educational content to download Australian students will be spending a lot more hours online than their American cohorts for a while yet. Apparently we are not complaining though. If you’d like to listen to the Federal Communications Minister trying to grapple with the speed at which the media landscape is changing, ABC Sydney has made this years 2006 Andrew Olle Lecture available as an mp3 here.

This is The Future

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Oct 31

Example Hiragana testThis is the first flash-card style web2.0 application I have seen. Recently West Australian University graduate Kyle McLuckie invited me to test his new app - Rememberize. It is quite a simple tool (in the vein of 37signals web2.0 apps) for creating and learning sets of cards. The site itself is at, and the blog post announcing it can be found at

The main occasion I’ve found flashcards of use was in learning Japanese characters. So I went ahead and created a quick test for the first line of hiragana characters - the vowels. The process is engaging in itself. The simplicity by which one can set-up the quizzes is in this sense another level of the memorisation process. Flashcards are wonderfully suited to learning foreign languages but can be applied to learning specific items in many subjects. Students of all ages could use Rememberize. The collaborative aspects built into Rememberize are unique and further this web2.0 social software trend. Kyle says:

If it’s useful enough, I think it also has the potential of being useful social software – facilitating conversations with those interested in the same subjects. If you have the time or interest, please, have a look at it. If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them.

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