Digitales Blog

  • Mrs Carey's Concert

    For anyone who has ever been involved in a school's musical production, been blown away by the dedication of one very talented teacher, or dreamt of making a difference in a young person's life, Mrs Carey's Concert offers a personal and moving account of MLC School's preparation for their 10th performance at the Sydney Opera House.

    "This isn't just a film about the lofty ambitions of an elite private girls' school. It's about shifting demographics; 'cool' versus brave, the meaning within music through the eyes of teenagers, and most profoundly it's about the power of 'classical' music to move people way outside of their comfort zone. Mrs Carey is the real rebel. What she does with those kids is mind-blowing"
     -Richard Tognetti, Australian Chamber Orchestra

    With several musicians on staff at Digital Education Services and a real interest in what is happening at Australian schools, this is documentary particularly impressed us.
    Keep an eye out for it; 'Mrs Carey's Concert' is playing this coming Sunday, 18th of September on ABC1 at 8.30pm and will be released on DVD in the coming weeks...
    Hats off to Mrs Carey and her students at MLC!
  • Aussie Tales on TumbleBooks

    Tumblebooks are one of Digital Education Service's most popular resources and, given that it's Children's Book Week, I thought I'd delve into a few children's books online.

    Last year Digital Education Services worked collaboratively with the very talented Eva-Marie Welsh to enhance the Australian content on Tumblebooks. The gorgeous 'Cassy's Tale' and 'Where's Croaky', (featuring the voices of some talented staff members) now adds a distinctly Australian flavour to the multi-cultural site.

    Recently on 'School Library Journal' Lisa Guernsey reflected on the question 'Are Ebooks Any Good?'  She cites the case of Julie Hume, a reading specialist's, first encounter with Tumblebooks:
    “It gave me chills,” says Hume, who works with third, fourth, and fifth graders who are struggling to read fluently. It wasn’t just that she was overcome with that feeling of “wow, cool,” she says, but also that she could imagine how the ebook program might help students at her new school, Pershing Elementary."

    Keeping in mind my adventures with Mango Languages I decided to delve into a few picture books in different languages. There were French, Chinese and Spanish options to watch and listen to and I particularly enjoyed 'Le Gros Monstre Qui Aimait Trop Lire' (French). Let's be honest; I didn't understand all of what they were saying, but the illustrations were great and it still made me laugh. I can imagine that students who are coming to school with English as their second language would have a similar experience.

    Happy Children's Book Week!

  • Searching the Family History

    As public interest in genealogy grows, resources like Find My Past, which provides a variety of services and draws from Australian records, Irish records and the U.K.'s National Archives resource, and Documents Online, are two places patrons can turn to for help in uncovering clues about their families including service records, wills and government documents. Both resources have simple search boxes where you can enter first and last names, a date range and place to discover what documents may be uncovered. Documents online allows users to search adoption papers, wills and passports as well as more intriguing documents such as criminal trials, asylum inmates and slave owners.

    Professionals in the field reflect how the demographics of those researching their family is changing. Where once the norm was retired women, now more men and younger researchers are joining the game. My colleague, Michael, reflected how once it was the case that you wouldn't consider investigating your family history unless you had a lot of time on your hands. Now those who are time-poor can jump online of an evening, or attend a genealogy training session at their library on the weekend, and quickly locate documents they never knew were available.

    Having done some research about my own family on both of these webpages I was surprised how quickly I got drawn into the thrill of the chase; just what did my family get up to? what documents survive them? when and why did they move from one place to another? It's not just about uncovering skeletons in the cupboard, or discovering famous ancestors (always nice!), it's about having a more concrete sense of who I am by understanding the people who paved the way for me. Now I know why people get hooked on researching their family stories; I'm sure I could develop a similar addiction without too much encouragement...

  • Exploring the DES Darkcloud Collection

    O.K, so I know that Busythings is really an award winning program for 3-6 year olds and isn't really designed for 'young adults' playing around with the program in the name of 'research' - but I just jumped onboard to see what all the fuss is about and it really does equate to 'fun times'!

    Busythings has 115 creative activities for young children complete with fabulous sound effects, unique designs, challenging (and not so challenging) games, mismatched animals, fun tales, cool characters and public galleries where you can show off your work to the rest of the world (I resisted the temptation to put my own art-work up).

    Some of the art work programs really are mesmerising and give children the opportunity to familiarise themselves with fun and simple technology whilst being creative. I only tried a few of them - and I decided not to print them up and hang them on the fridge... perhaps if I was 3 years old that would be more appropriate.

    This site has been one of the most popular resoures DES share with primary schools and public libraries and it's easy to understand why. If you haven't already investigated why people are so excited about Busythings you can sign up for a free 28 day subscription... and do 'research' like I did.

    Who knows, maybe your fridge will look better for it...

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