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What’s the difference between decodable and predictable books, and when should they be used?

By on Monday, December 3rd, 2018

“While there’s much we know about how students learn to read, research on books used to support beginning reading development is sparse. Guidelines provided in the Australian Curriculum and the National Literacy Progressions complicate matters further. Teachers are required to use two types of texts: decodable and predictable books.

Each book is underpinned by a different theory of reading, arguably in conflict. This contributes to uncertainty about when and how the books might be used.” This November 12, 2018 article in The Conversation uses picture books to explain What’s the difference between decodable and predictable books, and when should they be used?

James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin

By on Thursday, October 25th, 2018

An October 15, 2018 article in The Conversation, Boyer Lectures: gene therapy is still in its infancy but the future looks promising, brings another reminder of forgotten female scientists.

In 1953, four scientists co-discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, which formed the basis for modern biotechnology. In 1962 the three males, Watson, Crick and Franklin jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The female, Rosalind Franklin (the only one who had any degrees in chemistry), had died in 1958 and although Watson recommended a posthumous award, none was made. The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award was established in 2003 and is awarded annually by the Royal Society to a woman for an outstanding work in any field of Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Science History Institute gives a summary of the original research, including a short video, see James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin.

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Barclays phish claims cards explode

By on Thursday, September 27th, 2018

(Editors Note: This is a reprint of an article on the Malwarebytes blog. The original can be found here ) We feel compelled to relay the dire warning from this Barclays snail-mail letter, which we acquired through social media, therefore it must be true. Warning: Barclays debit cards may catch fire! The letter reads as follows: Dear costumer, Many […]

BioBits: Teaching synthetic biology to K-12 students

By on Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Educational kids bring fun, hands-on experiments to classrooms without costly lab equipment (QESP Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of a August 1st, 2018 article in Science Daily. The original, including links to related articles,  is available at As biologists have probed deeper into the molecular and genetic underpinnings of life, K-12 schools […]

Another day, another data breach – what to do when it happens to you

By on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Reports of data breaches are an increasingly common occurrence. In recent weeks, Ticketmaster, HealthEngine, PageUp and the Tasmanian Electoral Commission have all reported breaches.

It is easy to tune out to what is happening, particularly if it’s not your fault it happened in the first place.

But there are simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of the problem progressing from “identity compromise” to “identity crime”.

Redactio ad absurdum?

By on Saturday, June 30th, 2018

(QESP Editor’s Note: Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act) requests to the Australian Public Service are often heavily redacted but a recent US blog suggests their redactions are even worse. This tongue in cheek post by Kathryn Rubino, an editor at Above the Law, shows that comic book characters have privacy rights too. ) (QESP […]

Australian and global MOOCs

By on Friday, May 25th, 2018

Our May 2018 article on MOOCS deals with the use of maths MOOCS to change students’ mindsets. However there is a wide range of other free Australian and global MOOCs on subjects including Education in a Changing World (EduChnge), Big Data for Better Performance (BigData) and Computing and Information Technology. One site offers “1300 Free […]

78 Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications

By on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Accounting 1. FrontAccounting Replaces QuickBooks Plus ($50 per month), Sage 50c Pro ($439 per user per year or $44.08 per user per month) Designed for small businesses, FrontAccounting combines basic ERP functionality with a fully functional accounting system. Key features include purchase orders, sales orders, invoices, general ledger, stock tracking, fixed asset tracking and more. Operating System: OS Independent 2. GnuCash […]

The Fun Theory 1 – an initiative of Volkswagen: Piano Staircase.

By on Thursday, March 1st, 2018

The Fun Theory – an initiative of Volkswagen. This is one of a series of experiments for a new brand campaign of VW. Have a look – the piano stairs are really funny. Fun can obviously change behaviour for the better.