Why NAPLAN is Widening The Education GapThink: Digital Futures add
Earlier this year students in years three, five, seven, and nine were assessed on their reading, writing, language and numeracy as part of the National Assessment program, or NAPLAN. The data obtained from the NAPLAN tests are collated and used to show all schools' average performance against other schools in the country on the Government MySchool website.
Just last month students and parents all over the country received their NAPLAN results admits growing national controversy surrounding the comparability of online and pen-and-paper test results and the validity of the assessment.
But is it the technology used to implement the exam, or the assessment itself that is widening the education gap?
We spoke with Dr Simon Knight, Lecturer in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation and Lynda Pascoe, Principal of the Ngukurr Community Education Centre in the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory.
Automating InequalityThink: Digital Futures add
The rise of artificial intelligence has as many anxious as it does excited, with people concerned that autonomous technologies could automate them out of a job. But as technology continues to make huge leaps forward, there’s very little in the way of policy to ensure these innovations don’t disrupt people's working lives and contribute to a more unequal society.
Producer Cheyne Anderson teams up with Think: Sustainability's Jake Morcom to offer two perspectives on the possible impacts of growing automation. Cheyne chats to Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation at the World Economic Forum, while Jake meets with Nik Dawson, PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies at the University of Technology Sydney.
The Digital Divide in Australian Detention CentresThink: Digital Futures add
Journalist and novelist Behrouz Boochani has been detained on Manus Island since 2013.
And despite living in a highly controlled environment designed to prevent access to digital technologies allowing him access to the outside world, Behrouz has been our eyes and ears in to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre for the last 5 years.
We chat with Behrouz from Manus over Whatsapp and we speak with Associate Professor Linda Leung, from the University of Technology Sydney.
The Rise of 3D Printed GunsThink: Digital Futures add
In 2013, Texan crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson uploaded blueprints for The Liberator, the world's first 3D printed gun. What followed was a fiery debate over whether or not 3D printed guns should be legal.
Producer Cheyne Anderson explores how the 3D printed gun taps into deep anxieties playing out in the United States. She chats to Tim Lytton from the Georgia State University College of Law about the historical context of the debate. Then she chats to Aaron Seymour (University of Technology Sydney) about unpacking the utopian promises of 3D printing and Richard Matthews (University of Adelaide) about the practical challenges getting in the way of their widespread use.
For more information head to 2ser.com/thinkdigitalfutures
How You Were "Nudged" by My Health RecordThink: Digital Futures add
Australians have until the 15th of November to opt out of having a My Health Record.
This episode, producer Joe Koning explores why "opting out" is a problematic way of drawing users into a system.
We meet Lisa, a 31 year old woman living in Sydney who discovered she had a My Health Record created for her, without even knowing about it.
We also chat to Jane Hall (University of Technology Sydney) and Joshua Badge (Deakin University) about the economic and ethical "Nudge" theory behind the My Health Record.
A Life OnlineThink: Digital Futures add
Would you spend hours watching someone you’ve never met play computer games? What about watching them hang out in the living room with their dog or baking cookies?
This episode tackles ideas about digital identity and friendship in live streaming communities and how it’s changing the way we approach our emotional wellbeing. We chat to streamer ThisNancy, IRL streamer and TV Presenter Angharad Yeo, and researcher Rob Gallagher (King’s College London).
EXTRA: Algorithms, Aesthetics and ASMRThink: Digital Futures add
EXTRA: How to Spot the Celestial EmuThink: Digital Futures add
Wiradjuri physics and astronomy student Kirsten Banks chats to Myles Houlbrook-Walk about what she sees when she looks up at the stars
Do It Yourself InternetThink: Digital Futures add
The NBN rollout is nearly complete across rural and regional Australia and with it the promise to shrink the digital divide. But it still doesn’t feel that way for many regional Australians still struggling with poor internet speeds and connectivity.
This episode we meet the people building independent internet networks for their local community. We meet John Sinclair from the Kangaroo Valley Broadband Network and Tim and Aaron from rural SA and Tassie respectively. We also chat to Robin Braun (University of Technology Sydney) and Nicole Sutton (UTS) about whether the technology will work, and how the NBN became a political football.
Data of DisregardThink: Digital Futures add
Whoever controls the data controls the story. Across the globe, Indigenous peoples are coming together to take control of the data collected “about” them but not “for” them. How can data be used to help rather than problematise?
We chat to Maggie Walter (University of Tasmania) about the perceived threat of sovereignty and Bhiamie Williamson (Australian National University) about just saying "no" to data collection.
The Carbon Footprint of DataThink: Digital Futures add
How are your Facebook posts impacting the health of the planet? It might sound like a contradiction in terms but this episode from Think: Sustainability’s Jake Morcom explores the environmental impact of online data.
Jake chats to Ella Barclay, an artist and graduate student at the University of Technology Sydney; Senior Analyst Rodney Getta; and Lecturer Tanya Notley from the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.
The Internet and Radicalised MisogynyThink: Digital Futures add
On April 25th 2018, 25 year old Alex Minassian drove a passenger van into pedestrians on a crowded Toronto footpath, killing 10 people and injuring 16 others. Moments before the attack Minassian posted a message on his facebook shedding light on his motive. The message voiced admiration for a man who killed six college students in California in 2014, and announced his allegiance to a internet hate group called the incels, short for “involuntary celibate”.
In this episode we hear from Heidi Matthews who teaches in international criminal law (Osgoode Hall Law School), we look at the history of online misogyny with former journalist and researcher Emma A. Jane (University of New South Wales), and talk about the problematic nature of letting incels define themselves with Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa (University of Technology Sydney).
Producer: Miles Herbert and Cheyne Anderson.
Is China a Surveillance State?Think: Digital Futures add
If you’ve tuned in to news from China over the past couple of months you’d be forgiven for thinking Xi Jinping spent the Summer reading Orwell and is now trying to convince 1.3 billion people how rad it is. From AI facial recognition tech to the nightmarish social credit system, surveillance tech in China is on the rise.
This episode we hear two perspectives on the state of surveillance tech in the Middle Kingdom. We look into the historical roots of the social credit system with Wanning Sun (University of Technology Sydney). Then we head to the “laboratory of surveillance tech” Xinjiang province with Wall Street Journal reporter Josh Chin.
Is Your Algorithm Broken?Think: Digital Futures add
If your toddler is accidentally watching gory videos on Youtube Kids, or your Facebook feed won’t stop recommending you ads for formal track pants - you might be the victim of a broken algorithm. Algorithms are often cited as the architects of our digital lives, but how much do they actually influence what we consume online?
We watch Youtube with James Meese (University of Technology Sydney), understand the ecosystem with social media researcher Babak Abedin (UTS), and dissect algorithmic culture with Ted Striphas (University of Colorado, Boulder).
Backpage and Moral OutrageThink: Digital Futures add
The recent anti-sex trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA sent shock waves through sex industries around the world. But it’s not just income sex workers are losing when their business is forced offline.
We chat to Cameron Cox, CEO of Sex Worker Outreach Project; Andre Shakti, sex worker, activist and journalist; Eurydice Aroney (University of Technology Sydney); and John Scott (Queensland University of Technology).
WARNING: Explicit Content
Engineering for HumanityThink: Digital Futures add
Behind every major technological innovation is an engineer. Whether inventing, planning, or building, engineers are instrumental to stuff getting done. They’ve built the world around us, but do they have what it takes to save it to?
We meet Scott McKeon (From the Ground Up), a student pushing for a human centred approach in engineering. We then chat to Abbas El-Zein (Sydney University) and Sam Perkins (Engineers Without Borders) about what this means for the discipline. Finally, we meet a classroom of students at the University of Technology Sydney who want to make change happen.
Wide World of EsportsThink: Digital Futures add
With five times more viewers than the NRL Grand Final, and a higher prize money than Wimbledon, the world of competitive video gaming has flown curiously under the radar in Australia.
Producer Myles Houlbrook-Walk takes us into the growing Australian Esports scene. First, we delve into the underground culture with Alex Walker (editor Kotaku). Next, we meet some of the players who have gone pro, like FIFA eLeague player Mark Brijeski, Overwatch player Connie Ko, and train alongside Australia’s top League of Legends squad. Finally, we chat to sport scientist Job Fransen (University of Technology Sydney) about the physical demands of professional play!
Why Don't We Want to Eat Future Foods?Think: Digital Futures add
Thanks to overpopulation and man made climate change, global food stocks are running low. Enter the “future foods” - the gross, weird and wonderful things clickbait articles tell us will be on our dinner plate in ten years time. But there’s more to this debate than just eating worms.
We talk to the colonial gastronomer Jacqui Newling (Sydney Living Museums) about how we didn’t use to be so squeamish. Then we meet researchers Janice McCauley (University of Technology Sydney) and insect farmer Olympia Yarger (GoTerra) about how hard it is to change our tastes. Finally, we speak to Judy Friedlander (University of Technology Sydney) about the mess we’re in.
The Algae products we tried were made by Venus Shell Systems based in Nowra, NSW.
EXTRA: What really happened to Scott Kelly's DNA in space?Think: Digital Futures add
You might have seen the headlines proclaiming astronaut Scott Kelly has returned from a year on the International Space Station with a whopping 7% change in his DNA. That was when compared to his identical twin, Mark Kelly, back on earth.
Space travel affects our bodies in ways we still don’t quite understand, but there’s more to this headline than meets the eye.
We go behind the news with Digital Futures regular Joshua Chou, Director of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney.
To find out more about the terrifying things that happen to your body in space, check out our episode on space health.