Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Understanding the Market for Innovation

Greetings from ACT Innovation program, at "spacedock" (aka John Curtin School of Medical Research). John Hemphill, CEO of Axxos is talking about "Harnessing the cycle of innovation - Understanding your market". He describes the ACT Innovation program as "viral marketing". John is provided an entertaining presentation with useful graphics, which is being videoed and will be available on-line in the next few days.

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Leadership 2.0 Needed for Canberra Innovation

Jon Stanhope MLA, Chief Minister of the ACT, opened Innovation Week at ANU last night at "spacedock" (aka John Curtin School of Medical Research), Australian National University, Canberra. The Chief Minister gave a disappointing speech on the role of innovation in the Canberra economy. This was followed by a lackluster debate on "Investing in innovation? This house believes that Australia spends too much money on university research". This contrasted with the previous excellent events in the ACT Innovation program, run by students of ANU and University of Canberra. The Chief Minister and the professors need to learn from the students how to communicate in the 21st century.

The debate was between Professor Lawrence Cram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor ANU; Professor Steve Dowrick, Professor of Economics, ANU and member of the 2008 National Innovation Review; Narelle Kennedy, CEO of The Australian Business Foundation and member of the 2008 National Innovation Review; and Dr Geoff Garrett, former Chief Executive of the CSIRO.

Narelle Kennedy was the evening's best performer, with an engaging and passionate argument in favour of university research. The rest of the evening was a very dull affair.

The Chief Minister set the tone for the evening by giving a generic opening speech which indicated he was not interested in the topic and then confirmed this by leaving immediately afterwards. The following speakers were not helped by using an old fashioned debating format. It was ironic that the hi-tech Finkel Lecture Theatre in the hi-tech John Curtin School of Medical Research was being used for a very low tech debate.Link

Some quotable quotes I picked out of the debate:

"Innovation is ideas successfully applied", "Innovation is a contact sport, like rugby".
"Knowledge is a cumulative process".
"ERA is inwardly focused"

Apart from that, I don't really know what the speakers were talking about. They got up, talked a lot, and then sat down again. This "Lecture 1.0" format was used at universities, before we realised it was not a useful way to communicate.

The ACT Chief Minister and our professors need to be re-skilled in 21st century communication, if they are to provide leadership on innovation (or any other topic). We now teach undergraduate and postgraduate students how to do this, so they can be leaders of the future. The leaders of the present need to sit in on some classes, if they wish to be part of Canberra's future.

The next Australian Innovation Festival Seminar is "Harnessing the cycle of innovation - Understanding your market"
by John Hemphill, CEO, Axxos
Wednesday 28 April, 6-8pm
Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Australian Innovation Festival at ANU

The Australian Innovation Festival is next week:
Australian Innovation ACT Festival Launch:
Speaker: Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister of the ACT
Tuesday 27 April, 5.30pm for 6pm
Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU

Australian Innovation Festival Debate:"Investing in innovation? This house believes that Australia spends too much money on university research"

Speakers include: Professor Lawrence Cram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor ANU; Professor Steve Dowrick, Professor of Economics, ANU and member of the 2008 National Innovation Review; Narelle Kennedy, CEO of The Australian Business Foundation and member of the 2008 National Innovation Review; and Dr Geoff Garrett, former Chief Executive of the CSIRO.
Tuesday 27 April, 6.15-7.30pm
Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU

Australian Innovation Festival Seminar
"Harnessing the cycle of innovation - Understanding your market"
John Hemphill, CEO of Axxos
Wednesday 28 April, 6-8pm
Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU

Australian Innovation Festival Seminar
Thursday 29 April, 5.30pm for 6pm
Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU
Seminar: Australia and innovation: Miracle country or basket case?
Dr Thomas Barlow, former science advisor to the Minister of Education and Science and author of the 2009 Barlow Report.

Seminar: Making Innovation Happen
Dr Alex Zelinsky, Group Executive Information Sciences, CSIRO

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Friday, April 16, 2010

The Role of Libraries in the iPad Age

The National Library of Australia ran an excellent Innovative Ideas Forum 2010. For next year I suggest allowing for more audience input. The NLA provides time for questions and has excellent wireless microphones so you can hear the person asking the question. Also the NLA encourages blogging (tag: iif2010) and twittering (#iif2010) , providing power points and WiFi for laptops. However, what is blogged or twittered does not appear to the speaker or the non-twittering audience. The room is full of talent which could be tapped. Perhaps there could be some breakout session, where we fan out across different pars of the NLA building and discuss the issues, then come back and report.

In any case there is still clearly a role for the library in the iPad age. Being in this building at this event I felt I the "flow" which Ben Swift described in his seminar on mobile music making Linkyesterday. This is helped by the NLA building being in the shape of a Greek temple and having stained glass windows like a medieval scriptorium. Things got a little historically weird when one of the library staff appeared, dressed like a character from a Jane Austin novel.

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Food-Scanner needed for Austrlaia

At the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010,one of the speakers asked for a gadget which would tell you the nutritional content of food in the supermarket. So I did a web search and found a iPhone App for US$0.99 called "Foodscanner". This scans the Universal Product Code (UPC) barcodes on packaged food and displays ingredients, nutrition and calorie information. So I mentioned this but the audience said "yes we know Tom, but it doesn't work in Australia and its database is limited".

Cell phone download from iTunes: FoodScanner

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The Future is Catered For

Greeting from the reading room of the National Library of Australia, in Canberra. I have taken half an hour off from the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010, which is happening down stairs. The morning session was interesting, exciting, but also hard work. There was an excellent lunch provided in the foyer by the NLA and the chance to chat with participants. I took up what proved to be a strategic position on the couch outside the cafe (corner seat is the best). I then helped a colleague from the University of Canberra design a social networking course for next semester, from the people who wandered over and what they chatted about. That might sound a random process but these were people like Intel Fellow, Genevieve Bell, who I had the pleasure of sitting behind at the "Realising Our Broadband Future" forum in Sydney (where she was carrying out an impromptu anthropological study of the politicians use of mobile devices around her her). Also there are people from the communications department, who work on the digital economy while suffering from the acronym of "dbcde". ;-)

Over the last few weeks I have attended events on e-teaching, innovation, e-publishing and reading a history of Cam,bridge University. It may just be the excellent coffee and the fresh air at the outdoor cafe at the NLA making me light headed, but I think I can see a way to combine these together.

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The Library of Alexandria was Destroyed

Brianna Laugher, President Wikimedia Australia is talking on "Is Wikipedia a one-off? Is mass collaboration all it's cracked up to be?"
at the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 success was a one off, short term at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. The issue addressed was if the Wikipedia'sphenomena. The Wikipedia might come and go quickly, even the Library of Alexandria, which must have seemed for ever, was destroyed.

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An ebook is a standalone website

Mark Pesce at Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 seems to be using a very complex and wordy analysis for some very simple ideas of what an ebook is. He seems to think that paper books are a linear form starting from page one and going to the last page. This is not the case, most obviously for non-fiction books and less so for fiction.

Books have non-liner features such as tables of contents indexes and footnotes. In teaching web design I explain to the students how to design a web site by analogy to a book. I suggest that designed have one default linear path through the web site, like the format of a book. In the extreme case a book can be converted to a book, by converting the components to their book equivalent.

Recently I took a set of web pages and turned them into a book, including ebook versions (the paper version is in the NLA and the web version in Trove). Obviously the paper and ebook versions have different features. The ebook versions differ depending on the ebook device used and if it is online or not. As an example, the citations cannot be clicked on in the paper version of the book. In the PDF and Kindle versions they can be clicked on, but if the book is not online external links will still not work.

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Whatever happened to plain English?

Greeting from the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. The second speaker is Mark Pesce, of Future St Consulting. His topic is "Whatever Happened to the Book?". So far he seems to have said that commercial content providers do not like to hyperlink outside their own web site, that the web encourages brief easily understood items and e-books are different to paper books. Perhaps he has some other non-obvious point he is trying to make, but I am having difficulty understanding what he is saying due to all the big words being used and convoluted sentences. He seems to be reading out a paper for a university paper (or something for Fibreculture). Perhaps it is just that I am so used to brief simple online expression and can't cope with old fashioned substantive expression and am too used to short, clear, easy to understand online expression.

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The Future is Messy

Greeting from the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. The first speaker is Dr Genevieve Bell , Intel Fellow, Digital Home Group Director, User Experience Group, Intel Corporation, talking about technology and the ways people use it in their everyday lives.

Genevieve is originally from Canberra and gave an entertaining insight as to how culture and technology interact. One insight was that the people in the growth areas for Internet use in Asia live much more densely and that English was not longer the dominant language of the Internet. Western, and particularly American, ideas of how information is organised, meaning is expressed will not necessarily continue to dominate the Internet.

Genevieve argued that old forms of media, such as television, will live on. Rather than television being subsumed as a VOD service, TV is influencing the design of computers and the Internet. It would be interesting to see how this apply to the book.

The room is packed with about 400 people, about one quarter of who I know by sight from other e-events. The organisers encourage live blogging (tag: iif2010) and twittering (#iif2010) from the event, making for a lively discussion. You can read my notes from last year .

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Innovation in the Cafe

Greetings from table 24 at the Vanilla Bean Cafe for InnovationACT in 2010. at "spacedock" (aka John Curtin School of Medical Research), Australian National University in Canberra. Tonight's Seminar is a Panel Discussion hosted by Lighthouse Innovation on "The Innovation Mindset" with: Glenn Dickins and others.

Normally the innovation sessions start with drinks in the foyer of the medical research building and then we move into the lecture theatre for the formal presentation. This evening I was surprised when everyone went the other direction and instead filed into the cafe, on the other side of the foyer. This is my second favourite cafe on the ANU campus, after the Purple Pickle. The panel session is being held cafe style, with the MC at the podium in front of the drinks cabinet and the panelists on a sofa. The audience is at tables.

It may seem unusual to hold a university innovation session in a cafe. However, for many years I have done some of my most productive work in cafe, the informal atmosphere combines with a concentration of creative people. As an example, to day at lunchtime I was called over to a table the the Purple Pickle and introduced to someone who has $1.4M in government money for a project in an area I am working on. In addition "cabaret" style is a recognised type of education room design.

The setup this evening could do with some improvements. There are microphones in place but these are only used for the video recording of the event, not for sound reinforcement in the room. The presenters are in front of the drinks cabinet which has a noisy refrigeration system. It would work better to place the speakers at the opposite end of the room, which is quieter.

The audience are as interesting mix of people as the panelists: there are students from a wide range of areas from both the ANU and University of Canberra, as well as staff. One of my students came up to me and I was worried they would ask about the mark for their last assignment. Instead they asked about how the might implement the web interface for the innovation project they are developing for Innovation ACT. Another ex-student is working on e-government with NICTA.

After typing all that I have tuned in to what the panel are actually saying: "Never overvalue the time you sent on an idea: if it is not a good idea it is worth nothing." Glenn Dickins has just commented on the difference between two technology development: the super-capacitor and the iPad. He argued that the super-capacitor is revolutionary but will not be visible to the end user, whereas the iPad is an evolutionary development of existing technology but will appear revolutionary to the user. An interesting question from the audience was "Where are the women in innovation? All the panel and most of the room are men.". The moderator is female and commented that most of the innovators they see are male. However, they commented that women tended to produce social innovations, rather than strictly technical ones. This is an insightful comment, with many real ideas being about how to do something together, not a gadget to do it with.

I asked the panel if the Californian silicon valley culture translates around the world. I have been to Google Sydney's office and found that it was set up very much the same at Microsoft Cambridge Research Labs (UK). The panel commented that different cultures will have different needs (Microsoft Zurich Labs will be different as it is in a Swiss culture). The moderator then asked about the "Innovation Room" and the panel all nodded, but no one explained what this was all about. But I did find the book "Secrets from the Innovation Room" (Kay Allison, 2004).

The moderator suggested that to test if you really understand your innovative idea, try to explain it to your grandmother.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Second Marion Mahony Griffin Lecture in Canberra

"Marion, Miles and The Magic of America" is the title of the second annual Marion Mahony Griffin Lecture by Jill Roe, at the National Library of Australia, 21 April 2010.

Marion, Miles and The Magic of America
a talk by Emeritus Professor Jill Roe who will focus on the association of Marion Mahony Griffin and Miles Franklin in Chicago and Australia, with particular reference to Progressivism, Anthroposophy and a glimpse of the Limestone Plains.

Jill Roe, AO, is Emeritus Professor of History at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the author of the recent award-winning biography of Miles Franklin.

Free entry

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

No waiting for French Impressionists in Canberra

This afternoon at about 5pm I noticed there were no queues for "Masterpieces from Paris: Van Gough, Gauguin, Cézanne & Beynond; Post-Impressionism from the Musée d'Orsay"exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. It is open tonight until 9pm and there is campaign in the sculpture garden. The exhibition finishes on 18 April.

I saw the works in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay so today instead I went to the Easter Steam Spectacular of the Australian Railway Historical Society (ACT Division). At Canberra Station there was Steam Locomotive 1210, Diesel-electric Locomotive 4807 , sleeping and dining cars.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ScreenACT Project Pod

ScreenACT Project Pod has 24 places available for the first phase in helping Canberra based digital content developers, with entries closing 10.00am 29th March 2010. The project is designed along similar lines to the InnovationACT annual event run by the ANU. There is a nine page "Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines" avialable, as well as Key Dates and FAQs about the project.

ScreenAct Vision

ScreenACT offers support with the general aim of helping to develop the local screen industry, thereby enhancing the ACT production industry’s capabilities and employment opportunities.

Project Pod Aim

Project Pod is a professional and project development opportunity that aims to build capability in screen project development, increase networks, and support a group of targeted projects through to a market-­‐ready stage.

The program has four main phases, which start with broad learning goals, then narrow down, focussing on key teams to help them refine their projects to the point that they are ready to take to market. As part of this, several top projects will receive extra funding.

Guiding Principles Screen

ACT supports:

  • the film, video production, TV and digital media industries.
  • projects that are intended to result in commercial or business focused outcomes.
  • applicants who have started their careers and can demonstrate professional experience.

ScreenACT will give preference to:

  • participants who show a commitment to the six-­‐month process.
  • projects intended for production and post production in the ACT and Capital Region.
  • applications that are professional in their presentation, thought and execution.


About ScreenAct Project Pod

The ScreenACT Project Pod is a six-­‐month program that is open to all professional screen practitioners (individuals and teams) in the ACT/Capital Region. It consists of four phases:

  • Phase One – Two workshops
  • Phase Two – One-­‐on-­‐one project development
  • Phase Three – Industry Feedback and future project plans
  • Phase Four – ScreenACT Grants allocated to as many as four selected projects Selection for the Project Pod is competitive.

Phase One will include up to 24 participants. Phases Two through Four will have up to ten participants.

Project Pod will be led by a number of different providers, and tailored to the needs of the individual participants based on their project’s format and genre.

  • Phase One will be delivered by Stephen Cleary, who is an international script consultant and developer, and by ScreenACT
  • Phases Two and Three to be delivered by local developers with oversight and input from Stephen Cleary and
  • Phase Four delivered by ScreenACT.

All participants for all phases to be selected by an industry panel, with ScreenACT acting as secretariat, and with the sign-­‐off of the CEO of Canberra Business Council on final participants and funding.

Phase One costs participants $600 for the two workshops. The first workshop is over four days, and the second over two. Phases Two through Four have no participation cost.

The program covers narrative and story, introduction to development practice, pitching and presentation skills, introduction to producing, networking with industry professionals and Screen Australia representatives, and one-­‐on-­‐one professional development assistance on a project basis.

Project Pod projects can come from film, television or digital media industries. ScreenACT will consider projects that include but are not limited to:

  • Feature films, television drama series, mini-­‐series, telemovies, broadcast length documentary, television documentary series, reality TV series and digital media projects.
  • ScreenACT will NOT consider the development or production of TV commercials, corporate videos, or training videos

PLEASE NOTE: As this is the pilot ScreenACT Project Pod, ScreenACT reserves the rights to make changes to the project as deemed necessary. ...

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be residents of the ACT or Capital Region (as shown on the map on ScreenACT’s website:

Applicants must have started their careers and be able to demonstrate some degree of professional experience.

Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia, and be 18 years old or older.

Applicants can be individuals or up to a team of two. The team leader must attend all sessions. The second team member is expected to attend all sessions, however there is some flexibility on this issue.

Applicants must be the producer, director, and/or writer of the project. Applicants must also be the copyright holder, or have an option to the rights in any and all works on which the project is based. The charge for phase one is per person regardless of individual or team status....

Key Dates

Applications openFriday, 19th March, 2010
Applications closeMonday 29th March, 2010 – 10.00am
Phase One successful applications announcedThursday 1st April, 2010
Phase One: First Project Pod Workshop (4 days)Friday 23rd – Monday 26th April, 2010
Phase One: Second Project Pod Workshop (2 days)Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd May, 2010
Revised treatment dueFriday 14th May, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Two successful applications announcedFriday, 28th May, 2010
Phase Three Workshop (1 day)Saturday, 19th June, 2010
Delivery of agreed project deliverablesFriday 1st October, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Four Workshop (3 days)Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th October, 2010


Assessment Criteria

In assessing applications, the ScreenACT Assessment Committee will mark applications against the following criteria:

  • Qualification under the general guidelines and guiding principles
  • Originality and strength of concept
  • Commercial viability of the project
  • The strength of the creative team
  • Commitment to the entire process
  • Likelihood of the project proceeding into production


From: Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines, ScreenACT, 19 March 2010

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ABC Radio The Challenge at the National Gallery of Australia

Tom Worthington answering a question on ABC Radio The ChallengeThere is a photo of me getting a question wrong at ABC Radio 666 "The Challenge" at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra 19 March 2010. The previous question was about Midnight Oil's album Diesel &Dust. I knew that because I blogged the parody of the Minister for Environment's difficulties with roof insulation: "How do we sleep while our batts are burning"?

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

French Impressionists Exhibition in Canberra

Recently I have become very popular with friends and relatives. This is because the National Gallery of Australia is having a very popular exhibition "Masterpieces from Paris: Van Gough, Gauguin, Cézanne & Beynond; Post-Impressionism from the Musée d'Orsay". I saw the works in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay. (as I never get tired of saying, when asked if I have seen the Canberra exhibition). d'Orsay is in a wonderful building converted from a railway station (don't miss the restaurant inside the clock tower with views of Paris through the clock face).

The Canberra exhibition is drawing such a crowd it can be difficult to find accommodation on weekends, so my apartment is very popular. On weekends the queue has stretched from the front door of the gallery, past the High Court of Australia, to the National Portrait Gallery, past the front of that gallery and the half way back down to the national gallery again. This is the queue for people who already have tickets, there is another queue to get a ticket.

Visiting the gallery mid-week there was only a queue of a few dozen people (the gift shop at the end of the exhibition was still crowded). The queues are only for the French exhibition and the rest of the gallery is free. The portrait gallery with an excellent exhibition of portrait photography is also not crowded. It is possible to get a table at the outdoor deck of the portrait gallery and watch in comfort as the exhibition queue shuffles past (many wearing paper hats made from the exhibition poster).

The National Library of Australia is also not crowded, with its own exhibitions and excellent coffee cafes. If the bookplate cafe in the foyer is too busy, try the Paper plate cafe on the lower floor of the library.

After a hard day's culture, a pleasant way to relax is at the Pork barrel Cafe, a low cost annex to the upmarket Lobby Restaurant, set in the park in front of Old Parliament House and overlooking rose gardens. Beware of sitting outdoors this time of the year, as the parrots feed in the trees above and drop twigs on those below. With a table reserved indoors, looking out at the roses (and people being pelted with twigs), there can hardly be a happier place to be.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

University engagement with industry

Greetings from the Australian National University were the College of Engineering & Computer Science is having an Industry Engagement Day. The idea is to working out how to apply the research done by universities and places like NICTA, to industry. I have some background in this having been involved in formal discipline bodies to change IT research and informa discussions leading to the the creation of NICTA. More recenelty I have helped teaching innovation a ANU.

The first speaker was Professor Mandy Thomas, PVC Research. She pointed out that the Australian Government released an innovation policy "Powering Ideas: an innovation agenda for the 21st century" (12 May 2009) and rearranged portfolios to place research with industry. ANU is looking at ways to link with industry. Support is provided to researchers to seek out industry partners for ARC Linkage Grants. Professor Thomas invited suggestions on how to improve this program.

My suggestion was be to provide training for researches on how to innovate. ANU's engineering students run an excellent Innvoation ACT program each year, to teach how to take an idea to business. This is now an ACT wide program involving other universities and all disciplines. The presentations are recorded and I suggested it would not be difficult to turn this into a formal course.As an e-learning course this could be avialible to all ANU postgraduate students, and students at partner unviersites worldwide.

From the Innovation Report:
... Australia’s recent innovation performance has been uneven, and we have failed to keep pace with the rest of the world. In the last eight years, Australia has slipped from fifth to eighteenth in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Our multi-factor productivity grew 1.4 per cent a year on average between 1982–83 and 1995–96. Growth has averaged only 0.9 per cent a year since then, which is no better than we achieved in the 1960s. Since 2003–04, our productivity has actually declined.

... The Australian Government has adopted seven National Innovation Priorities to focus the production, diffusion and application of new knowledge. All of these priorities are equally important. They address the country’s long-term weakness in business innovation, and in collaboration between researchers and industry. The National Innovation Priorities complement Australia’s National Research Priorities, which help focus public-sector research.

Priority 1: Public research funding supports high-quality research that addresses national challenges and opens up new opportunities.

Priority 2: Australia has a strong base of skilled researchers to support the national research effort in both the public and private sectors.

Priority 3: The innovation system fosters industries of the future, securing value from the commercialisation of Australian research and development.

Priority 4: More effective dissemination of new technologies, processes, and ideas increases innovation across the economy, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Priority 5: The innovation system encourages a culture of collaboration within the research sector and between researchers and industry.

Priority 6: Australian researchers and businesses are involved in more international collaborations on research and development.

Priority 7: The public and community sectors work with others in the innovation system to improve policy development and service delivery.

... the Australian Government will ...


  • Progressively increase the number of research groups performing at world-class levels, as measured by international performance benchmarks.

  • Use mission-based funding compacts and other funding mechanisms to promote collaboration by encouraging universities to organise themselves into research hubs and spokes, and to pursue opportunities to undertake industry-driven research more vigorously.

  • Progressively address the gap in funding for indirect research costs — starting by augmenting the Research Infrastructure Block Grants Scheme with a new Sustainable Research Excellence in Universities Initiative.

  • Help smaller and regional universities develop their research capacity by teaming up with other institutions — supported by a new Collaborative Research Networks Scheme.

  • Increase the capacity of public research organisations, especially to tackle complex problems, participate in domestic and international collaborations, and undertake multidisciplinary research.

  • Continue to invest in research infrastructure to support collaboration and give Australian researchers access to the latest technology, guided by the Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure (2008) — building on $580 million for university research and teaching infrastructure in the first round of the Education Investment Fund, $321 million for research infrastructure in the second round, and $901 million for projects identified through the roadmap and funded under the Super Science Initiative; the third round of the Education Investment Fund will be conducted in 2009–10 to maintain the momentum.


  • Develop a research workforce strategy to address expected shortfalls in the supply of research-qualified people.

  • Increase the stipend for Australian Postgraduate Awards — with an increase of more than 10 per cent announced in the 2009–10 Budget, lifting the stipend to $22,500 in 2010.

  • Significantly increase the number of students completing higher degrees by research over the next decade — building on the Government’s ambition to lift the proportion of 25–34-year olds with a bachelor’s degree and its new incentives to get undergraduates studying maths and science (both of which will enlarge the pool of students qualified to undertake research degrees), as well as its action to double the number of Australian Postgraduate Awards in the 2008–09 Budget.

  • Create viable career paths for Australian researchers — building on the Government’s measures to support research trainees (more Australian Postgraduate Awards with higher stipends), early-career researchers (Super Science Fellowships), mid career researchers (Future Fellowships), and senior researchers (Australian Laureate Fellowships).


  • Introduce mission-based funding compacts that allow universities to determine their own research and collaboration agendas in line with national priorities.

  • Implement Excellence in Research for Australia to measure the quality of university research and guide the allocation of resources.

  • Require universities to provide more meaningful data on research costs through activity-based reporting, and to meet specific performance targets to be developed in consultation with the sector.

Business innovation

... the Australian Government will ...
  • Aim to increase the proportion of businesses engaging in innovation by 25 per cent over the next decade — building on initiatives including Enterprise Connect, Clean Business Australia, and the new $4.5 billion Clean Energy Initiative.

  • Aim to increase the number of businesses investing in R&D over time — fuelled by the introduction of a new R&D Tax Credit, which will double the tax incentive for small-business R&D (restoring it to pre-1996 levels), and lift the base tax incentive for R&D by larger firms.

  • Support innovative responses to climate change — including through Clean Business Australia, the Green Car Innovation Fund, the Clean Energy Initiative, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, and the Climate Change Action Fund.

  • Improve innovation skills and workplace capabilities, including management and leadership skills — building on Enterprise Connect and the Education Revolution.

  • Support the efforts of Australian firms to get their ideas to market — through initiatives including Climate Ready, the Green Car Innovation Fund, and the new Commonwealth Commercialisation Institute.

  • Work with the private sector to increase the supply of venture capital — building on the Government’s measures to maintain stability and liquidity in the Australian financial system during the global financial crisis, and on the new Innovation Investment Follow-on Fund.

  • Maintain a continuous dialogue with industry about how we can maximise business innovation — including through Enterprise Connect, Industry Innovation Councils, and working groups like that established for pharmaceuticals.

Public sector innovation

... the Australian Government will ...
  • Take advice from the Australian Public Service Management Advisory Committee and the Australian National Audit Office on how the public sector can implement the recommendations of the Review of the National Innovation System.

  • Use public procurement to drive research, innovation and technology development by Australian firms — building on the new Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines released in December 2008.

  • Take steps to develop a more coordinated approach to Commonwealth information management, innovation, and engagement involving the Australian Government Information Management Office and other federal agencies.

  • Consider options for reforming the Australian patent system to increase innovation, investment and trade; and supporting intellectual property education for researchers and business.

  • Improve the management and regulation of biotechnology and nanotechnology to maximise community confidence and community benefits from the use of new technology — starting with a new National Enabling Technologies Strategy.


... the Australian Government will ...
  • Aim to double the level of collaboration between Australian businesses, universities, and publicly-funded research agencies over the next decade — building on initiatives including mission-based funding compacts for universities, Enterprise Connect (including its Researchers in Business Program), Industry Innovation Councils, the new Joint Research Engagement Scheme, and the new Royal Institution of Australia.

  • Increase international collaboration in research by Australian universities — building on actions to open important Australian Research Council awards and fellowships to international applicants, and increase multilateral engagement (for example, in the Square Kilometre Array radio-telescope project).

  • Renew the Cooperative Research Centres Program along the lines proposed in Collaborating to a Purpose — building on the new program guidelines released in 2008, which reinstate public good as a funding criterion, encourage research in the humanities, arts and social sciences, and increase the program’s focus on the needs of end-users.

  • Improve Enterprise Connect’s services to individual firms, anticipating that Enterprise Connect will continue to develop and may include regional clusters and networks uniting businesses, researchers and educational institutions.

  • Promote proven models for linking public and not-for-profit researchers with industry and the wider Australian community — including the CSIRO’s National Research Flagships and the CSIRO ICT Centre.


... the Australia Government will ...
  • Strengthen the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, especially its capacity to look over the horizon and identify emerging trends.

  • Use the Commonwealth, State and Territory Advisory Council on Innovation to improve intergovernmental coordination, starting with the design and delivery of business programs.

  • Give the interagency Coordination Committee for Science and Technology more responsibility and rename it the Coordination Committee on Innovation.

  • Increase the use of metrics, analysis, and evaluation to inform policy development and decision-making.

The future

By 2020, the Australian Government wants a national innovation system in which:

  • the Commonwealth clearly articulates national priorities and aspirations to make the best use of resources, drive change, and provide benchmarks against which to measure success;

  • universities and research organisations attract the best minds to conduct world-class research, fuelling the innovation system with new knowledge and ideas;

  • businesses of all sizes and in all sectors embrace innovation as the pathway to greater competitiveness, supported by government policies that minimise barriers and maximise opportunities for the commercialisation of new ideas and new technologies;

  • governments and community organisations consciously seek to improve policy development and service delivery through innovation; and

  • researchers, businesses and governments work collaboratively to secure value from commercial innovation and to address national and global challenges.

From: Executive Summary, Powering Ideas: an innovation agenda for the 21st century, 12 May 2009
Next speaker was Professor Chris Baker. He started by citing Stanford University's 2006 strategic plan, which while pointing out the unviersity's impressive role in creating new industries and educated captains of industry were working to improve firther. Professor Baker also used the example fo te Cambridge Computer Lab, where about one third of funding come from industry. The comparison with Cambridge is an interesting one. Some years ago on a visit to Cambridge, Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, Chair of the University IT Committee recommended the report "The Cambridge Phenomenon". I found a copy of the report in the ANU library and made a brief study of it:

Segal Quince & Partners (Segal 1985) looked at four policy issues:

  • The role of small new technology based firms
  • Links between industry and higher educational and research institutions
  • The contributions and roles of the public and private sectors in stimulating technological change and economic development. What is the impact of the allocation of allocation of public research funds?
  • The spatial distribution of high technology industry. Will there be a trend away from established industrial and urban areas to attractive rural areas?

Lessons of History

  • There is a long history (100 years) of high technology companies in Cambridge, due to the University.
  • The University is dominant in the city of Cambridge and is strong in scientific fields.
  • The region was already growing before the latest hi-tech developments.
  • Planning which limited large industrialisation may have helped small hi-tech firms.
  • Problems of preservation v development remain.
... two kinds of company links:
  • People forming new start-ups from existing companies, the University, or research laboratories
  • Subsidiaries of existing companies in the area created, but operating essentially as independent companies
... ``nursery units' ... technology parks were:
  • The park was developed in response to demand, not to encourage it,
  • Private sector development was dominant,
  • The buildings were not especially high technology in design or facilities.

Definition of the Phenomenon

  • Large numbers of high technology companies around Cambridge for computer hardware, software scientific instruments, electronics and biotechnology
  • Young, small, independent and indigenous companies
  • Decades of high technology company start ups
  • Research, design and development activities or small volume high value production
  • Links between firms, the university and research organisations...
From: The Cambridge Phenomenon, Summary of The Report, From Net Traveller, Tom Worthington, 1999

Based on this I proposed "Building Arcadia: Emulating Cambridge's High Technology Success", some of which was incorporated in NICTA. Some of the lessons from Cambridge were not welcome in academia and in incorporated. As an example, one reason for the creation of so many start-up companies in Cambridge was the lack of tenure for most staff. Researchers who wanted to keep the Cambridge lifestyle had to go out and set up a compnay in order to earn a living.

Pault Stapleton, from NICTA was the next speaker on the NICTA commercialisation model. NITA has licencsing of technology to existing companies and spinouts (creating new companies). More recently NICTA has offered R&C services. NICTA has a commercialisation team to support the researchers.

NICTA's Investment Model

Grants Pre-Commercialisation

Up to AUD 50K Market Development Grant Up to AUD 100K Proof of Concept
Investments for Commercialisation
Up to AUD 250K NIPR Investment
Up to further AUD 250K from NIPR

From: "NICTA's Investment Model", NICTA, 2008.
As an example Paul mentioned the Goanna Software Bug Detection tool , AutoMap map analysis, and the Performance Assessment for Service Architecture (ePASA) for ICT development.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Screen Australia and film industry

Greetings from the Screen Australia road show. A government review of support for the screen production industry, including the Producer Offset, is due out today. But at the same time Screen Australia is seeking input on the future of the film industry. CEO Ruth Harley is speaking at a road show around Australia and today is Canberra's turn. The meeting is at the CSIRO Discovery Theatre, with about 60 people present.

What strikes me is that Screen Australia talks about the feature film and TV industry. However, these are now dwarfed by the computer games industry. The Apple iPod has changed the music industry and the iPad may be about to do the same to the TV industry. However, the way Screen Australia works does not seem to have changed since cameras were hand cranked. They seem to be trying to help set up an obsolete analogue last century industry for Australia, rather than a digital one for the future.

Pressure points identified by Screen Australia:
  1. Mid range features ($M10-30 ) lack domestic funding. This is an effect of the government offset, which helps both small and large features, but not mid-range.
  2. Longer documentary series are doing well, but the Screen Australia process is complex for one off documentaries.
  3. Liquidation of SPV has complex legislative issues. Providing a grant has tax issues.
  4. SAC test is currently holistic and has no detailed points score type process which leaves producers uncertain as to what might rate well. Details of previous applications are secret due to tax law. "Reality" TV is uncertain as to if it qualifies as "documentary".
  5. Low budget features may not be helped by lowering the limits on the current tax offsets as this requires a "theatrical release". Low budget films might use other distribution, such as online digital, which does not qualify as "theatrical".
At question time I asked if Screen Australia were addressing digital media. They responded they have initiatives in this area. However, I suggested they need to change their mindset and terminology. Digital distribution is seen as "alternative" by Screen Australia, and theatre distribution normal. I suggest this needed to be reversed. Young consumers see the iPhone as normal and going to a "cinema" as unusual.

Another attendee asked about support for the gaming industry and Screen Australia replied this was a matter of government policy and that representations should be made direct to the government. I got the impression that Screen Australia did not want to address the gaming industry without additional resources.

In my view, as the gaming industry is now larger than the film industry, at least half Screen Australia's resources and the government funding, should be devoted to it and digital media. Screen Australia appears to be stuck in last century technology and unable, or unwilling to change. The government should therefore abolish Screen Australia and set up a new digital entertainment body, which addresses digital media as a priority and also the legacy film industry as a secondary priority.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Invitation to the O'Connor Wetland Planting Day, 14 March 2010

The ACT Government has invited the community to help plant native plants at the Banksia St O'Connor Wetland in Canberra, 9am - 12 noon, Sunday 14 March 2010. There is another wetland in David Street (behind the shops) across the road from City Edge, where my Smart Apartment is.
Banksia St O'Connor Wetland
9am - 12
Sunday 14 March 2010

Bring sturdy shoes, hand tools, buckets and a wheelbarrow & a rake if
you have one.

*Edwina Robinson*
Urban Waterways Coordinator
Sustainability Programs
Department of Environment, Climate Change, Energy & Water
6207 5520/ 0466 153 641

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 in Canberra

The National Library of Australia will host the Innovative Ideas Forum 2010, in Canberra, 16 April 2010. This excellent annual event is free, but you need to register.

The organisers encourage live blogging (tag: iif2010) and twittering (#iif2010) from the event, making for a lively discussion. Last year I took Mark Scott, Managing Director, ABC, to task for problems with the accessibility of the ABC mobile web site, grumbled about Marcus Gillezeau's "Scorched", and contemplated what Dr Anne Summers had to say about serious writing and the Internet.

Innovative Ideas Forum 2010: Program

Chair: Warwick Cathro,
Assistant Director-General, Resource Sharing & Innovation,
9.30am Welcome: Jan Fullerton, Director-General, NLA
9.40am Dr Genevieve Bell , Intel Fellow, Digital Home Group Director, User Experience Group, Intel Corporation, talking about technology and the ways people use it in their everyday lives
10.30am Mark Pesce, FutureSt Consulting "Whatever Happened to the Book?"
11.15am Morning Tea
11.45am Brianna Laugher, President Wikimedia Australia, "Is Wikipedia a one-off? Is mass collaboration all it's cracked up to be?"
12.30pm Kent Fitch, Programmer, IT Division, NLA " Resistance is futile: how libraries must serve society by embracing cloud culture, the end of the information age, and inevitable technological and social trends"
1.15 Lunch
Chair: Mark Corbould,
Assistant Director-General, Information Technology, NLA
2.30pm Dr Nicholas Gruen, CEO. Lateral Economics
"Information and content: the new public good of the 21st Century"
3.15pm Rob Manson, Managing Director, MOB, "Collections are Leaking into the Real World". A look at how mobile phones, iPhones, iPads and augmented reality are changing our use of collections and their place in the world.
4.00pm Closing remarks: Jan Fullerton

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Battery Backup Pump for the Smart Apartment

Zoeller 507-0005 Basement Sentry Battery Backup Pump SystemAfter flooding in the basement of the Smart Apartment I have suggested a battery backup pump be installed. This consists of a 12 volt electric pump, a battery, battery charger and some complicated plumbing. This pump would then come on automatically if the main pump does not.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flooding in the smart apartment

While we have had only a drizzle of rain in my part of Canberra, the electric pumps in the basement of the "smart apartment" have failed and it is now ankle deep in water. Fortunately the Transact fibre optic node is mount a metre above the floor and is not in danger, unless there is heavy rain. I am going out not to buy a bilge pump.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Demolish Lecture Theatres to make Room for Students

3D rendering of a modular apartment at Laurus Wing, Ursula Hall, ANU by Quicksmart HomesIt is time for Australian universities to demolish their obsolete lecture theatres to make room for modern teaching and student accommodation. In 2006 I suggested we celebrate Canberra's centenary by investigating the construction of low cost, high quality, environmentally efficient modular housing. The ACT Government did not take up this idea, but the Australian National University built a student block from shipping containers, modelled on the Keetwonen project in Amsterdam (as highlighted in my proposal). Other Australian universities are following this lead, but are still short of student accommodation. What campuses do have are old large obsolete lecture theatres, which I suggest be demolished to make room for modern education and accommodation facilities.

Old large lecture theatres are no use for modern educational techniques. These spaces are now mostly empty, as few students attend traditional lectures. New, smaller, computer equipped teaching spaces are needed. There is no efficient way to convert the old lecture theatre buildings to the new use. These buildings should be demolished and replaced with new ones. As well as new smaller teaching spaces, this space can be used for more student accommodation. The distinction between accommodation and teaching building can also be lessened, with more teaching done close to the accommodation (Oxbridge style).

New building can be designed to be easily re-purposed for teaching, administration, commercial space and accommodation. These buildings can be built using environmentally efficient modular techniques and rapidly constructed.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

e-Learning needs better tools

The webinar on “Trends in Personal Learning” by Stephen Downes, at Canberra Institute of Technology today was disappointing. Stephen was billed as "a reliable forecaster of trends and events in online learning", citing his "prescient" 'Future of Online Learning' and other works. But the technology for the webinar did not work properly. This made anything he said about using such technology less credible: if a guru of the technology can't get it to work, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

There were difficulties with the sound quality for the first part of the talk. I was tempted to offer to help (as I have a CIT certificate in A/V production), but the staff fixed it after about ten minutes. However, there remained intermittent problems with the audio, video and slides.

As for the content, what we got was a rambling monologue. Stephen was not able to get effective and timely feedback on the presentation due to the technical problems. This confirmed my view that such video conference presentations are of little value when used as a substitute for live presentations. Either the technical facilities have to be of a very high quality, or the system and presentation format has to be adapted to allow for the inevitable problems. The technique I have used in the past is to pre-record the presentation and only use live links for the question and answer time. This reduces the need for a reliable high speed connection (it also forces the presenter to present a well crafted, succinct presentation).

As for the content of the presentation I liked the description of the iPad as personal and portable. Stephen addressed the issue of the lack of content creation tools by arguing that later versions and similar devices will add those tools. Essentially the iPad is not important as a device, but because as a way to popularise the idea of highly portable devices for taking notes and for learning. Ironically I was using a cheap netbook with a keyboard to take my notes (which works very well for education and costs half as much as the iPad).

Stephen argued that new tools will spark creativity to create new content. Unfortunately what he was showing in reality were poor quality Powerpoint slides. This largely lowered the credibility of the argument. If these new tools are so good, then why wasn't he using them?

Stephen then discussed the value of videoconferencing. Ironically in the middle of that the image cut out. Of the video events I attend, only about one in twenty works well. The rest were as this webinar was, with much of the time taken up trying to fix problems with audio, video and slides. Even when the technology is working, what is presented much of the time are poorly prepared rambling monologues. I do not believe that this is the future of education, or of human communication in general. It is disappointing that after so many years of claims for video-conferencing the technology has advanced so little.

I had not heard of by Stephen Downes before CIT invited me to this event and I did not learn much more about him or his ideas from it.

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Some suggestions for ACS in 2010

The first meeting of the Canberra Branch of the Australian Computer Society for 2010 was devoted to hearing suggestions from the members. Here are some suggestions I made:
  • Make web site mobile okay: Currently the ACS home page scores less than zero out of 100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker: "This page is not mobile-friendly!". I suggest aiming for a score of 80/100 on the mobile tests for the ACS web pages. This would be a way to curb the web designers enthusiasm for putting too much stuff on the pages. It would also make the ACS look trendy, by having a web site which works on iPhones and the like. Obviously the ACS should also fix the minor accessibility problems, as indicated by an automated TAW Test. Designing web pages which work on smart phones and which meet accessibility standards, so as to comply with Australian law, is not too difficult and I teach it to the ANU students. To be fair, other IT professional bodies do not rate much better. The ACM home page scores only 1/100 on the mobile tests and only slightly better than ACS on accessibility.
  • Social networking for professionals: The ACS is using social networking for teaching online courses. This could be extended to all members, with online forums and activities. ACS should divert a significant amount of resources to this. At the national level I suggest diverting 75% of what is currently spent on publications, meetings and marketing to online interaction. There is little point in spending effort on meetings and bits of paper which few people attend or take notice of. The ACS could use a mix of the software which it already has installed for education (Mahara ) and external sites, particularly Linkedin.
  • Support for meetings: Using the online tools discussed above, I suggest we should have an online component to all meetings. When there is a branch meeting, members should be invited to discuss the topic online, before, during and after. This can also allow for more fluid and more far reaching meetings. Last year I helped Senator develop her "Public Sphere" format for events. On a smaller scale the first Bar Camp Canberra is on at ANU this Saturday. This is a sort of make it up as you go along conference, using of online resources.
  • Digital CVs: ACS education is providing "e-portfolios" for students, as do some other education providers. I suggest ACS provide certified e-portfolios for members. This would be a web page about the member's qualifications and experience, testified to by ACS. This could then be used when they apply for a job or course. The ACS is already checks and records the member's credentials.

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Contemporary Art Exhibitions in Canberra

Free exhibitions of Glass, Painting, Print media, Drawing, Ceramics, Textilesl, Gold, Silversmithing and Furniture are being held at the ANU Gallery in Canberra, from 3 February to 26 March 2010. "NEOLOGY" showcases the work of the ANU School of Art.
School of Art Gallery Program

NEOLOGY│GRADUATE SEASON 2010 │ 3 February - 26 March

A series of exhibitions showcasing works produced by candidates for the PhD, Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts (Visual Arts), and the Graduate Diploma of Art.


Glenn Carter (MVA, Glass)
Diana Johnstone (Grad Dip, Painting)
Jill Loupekine (MAVA, Printmedia and Drawing)

EXHIBITION ends Friday 12 February


Craig Edwards (Grad Dip, Ceramics)
Keven Francis (Grad Dip, Ceramics)
Nicole Muniz (MAVA, Glass)
Arion Siu Man Lam (MDA, Textiles)

RECEPTION Wednesday 17 February at 6.00pm

EXHIBITION ends Friday 26 February


Dean Allison (MAVA Glass)
Cinnamon Lee (MPhil, Gold and Silversmithing)
Kenichi Sato (MDA, Furniture)

RECEPTION Wednesday 3 March at 6.00pm

EXHIBITION ends Friday 12 March


Nicola Dickson (PhD, Painting)
Suzanne Moss (PhD, Painting)

RECEPTION Wednesday 17 March at 6.00pm

EXHIBITION ends Friday 26 March

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Canberra Constructed Wetlands

The ACT Government is seeking community input into the design of wetlands at Dickson and Lyneham. Workshops are being held on 3 and 4 February 2010:

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BarCamp Canberra 2010 on e-Gov 2.0

A BarCamp Canberra 2010 around the topic of e-Government and Web 2.0, will be Saturday, 6 February 2010 from 9:00 am in the famous Room N101 of the School of Computer Science, Australian National University. This a free event where anyone can turn up and offer to speak. I attended Bar Camp Canberra 2 last year and this year have volunteered to speak on:
e-Books for e-Learning

Tom Worthington shows how he used simple web pages and free open source software to create a university level e-learning course and accompanying e-book for the Amazon Kindle, Google Android, Apple iPhone, i-Slate and Netbooks.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trends in Personal Learning Webinar

Canberra Institute of Technology are hosting a seminar on “Trends in Personal Learning” by Stephen Downes, 12 noon, 4 February 2010, in Room A108 on their South Side Campus, and online (RSVP: Penny Neuendorf).
Canberra Institute of Technology

The Gaggle invitation

Stephen Downes has long been a reliable forecaster of trends and events in online learning, making his mark in 1998 with the prescient 'Future of Online Learning' and in 2005 with 'e-Learning 2.0'. More recently, he authored the volume, 'The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On'. Downes has also informed the development of online learning technologies with
papers such as 'Learning Objects', 'Resource Profiles' and
'Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge'.

Thursday 4th February 12.00pm - 1.00pm
Where - At your desk or come and join us in Room A108 for light refreshments.

Log in at:
and enter the relevant details. If you have not used Wimba before, please run the Wimba Wizard prior to the event.

  • Online learning environments
  • Networked learning aproaches
  • Implications for the future of learning
  • Are you an e-learning practitioner?
  • Educational Designer? Or Developer?
  • Based in the ACT and surrounding region?

Today’s presentation: “Trends in Personal Learning” by Stephen Downes

Educators have been earning experience in social networks and other Web 2.0 technologies for several years now, and as e-learning 2.0 becomes more familiar it is beginning to transform into a more robust and personalized form. Newer and more powerful collaboration tools, such as Google Wave, are appearing. Individualized applications, such as the Personal Learning Environment, are appearing. Tomorrow`s
e-learning student can look forward to having a range of powerful tools at his or her fingertips. This presentation outlines trends in the development of these tools, and
describes what an education system that uses them will look like.

RSVP: Penny Neuendorf
E penny.neuendorf(a) T 6207 4041

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rail and broadband in place of second Sydney airport

A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. This is not a new or unexplored idea, from a high speed rail line proposed in 1981, to a "East Coast Very High Speed Train Scoping Study" in 2008. But the mass production of very high speed trains in Asia, combined with advances in broadband and environmental pressures, makes it more feasible.

The Federal and New South Wales Governments are to conduct a joint study of options for additional airport capacity for Sydney. This follows a "National Aviation Policy White Paper" (16 December 2009). It should be noted that the paper is not just talking about an airport and mentions rail transport systems. I suggest that the study should look at a train in place of a second Sydney airport. A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. Provision of wireless broadband on the train would allow the passengers to do useful work and be entertained. In addition to passengers, a high speed train can also carry high high value freight, such as priority mail, currently sent by air.

Sydney airport already has two underground stations in place and a direct underground line to the Sydney CBD. Work would be needed on the rail corridor out of Sydney, but this is relatively minor, with work already underway for a rail freight corridor.

Very fast trains are now a proven technology, with China and Korea mass producing adaptions of proven European designs.

The cost of the line from Sydney to Melbourne could be covered by the sale of land in new greenfield environmentally efficient towns in inland Australia. These towns would also reduce the growth pressure on Sydney (politically the new towns would be attractive to the current NSW and Federal governments as it would shift the voting trends to the ALP in previously conservative rural electorates). Integration of the National Broadband Network in the new towns would allow rapid provision of services and jobs to the new towns and reduce the cost of infrastructure.

New towns could be built along the VFT route incorporating high environmental and planning standards. Buildings could be designed to use the minimum of water and power, then assembled from mass produced modules. Homes could be designed to accommodate the elderly. Broadband could bring jobs, education and services to the towns quickly. Both government and commercial telecommuting offices could be provided allowing office works to telecommute most days and perhaps have to catch the train only once every few weeks. Each town could have a university campus, as well as a hospital with advanced medical facilities, linked by broadband to specalists.

The pressure on Sydney airport will also be reduced in coming years due to changes in the aircraft used and environmental pressures. The introduction of larger aircraft, specifically the Airbus A380, will reduce the number of international aircraft movements needed. Added to this the Boeing 787 (and Airbus A350) will allow more direct international flights from other Australian airports, reducing the need for Sydney to act as a hub. Added to this, the need for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will increase pressure on airlines to have aircraft loaded to capacity to increase fuel efficiency. The requirement for passengers to pay the environmental cost of their travel will also dampen demand for flights.
Sydney is Australia’s biggest and busiest city and Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport is Australia’s busiest airport, with over 32 million passengers in 2008–09. To ensure the future aviation needs of Sydney meet the expectations of the community and are fully integrated into long-term growth strategies, the Government, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, will work together to plan for the Sydney region’s future airport infrastructure, including how it links to Sydney’s growth centres and its road and rail transport systems. This is the first time that the two governments are aligning their planning and investment strategies. ...

From: National Aviation Policy White Paper, Department of Infrastructure,Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, 16 December 2009

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