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I find this rather exciting!

The National Library of Australia has thrown open its sacred doors and allowed us to go treasure hunting for text, images and media.

You can search newspapers back to 1803 and read articles, you can search for an image and purchase a print, you can play with maps.

Honestly, if you are teaching a Social Studies/Human Society & Its Environment class you need to click the link and play with the wonders the National Library have unearthed for us. Or, send the students there armed with an assignment to, for instance, create a timeline of events surrounding the Federation of Australia.

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Ahhh, television. Waiting for your program guide to come out so you can work out when the ‘boring nights’ are on so you can catch up on homework. Scheduling late meetings or weekend events around the almighty will of the channel programmers.  Not knowing if tonights episode is actually a repeat, again, checking the Guide.

Chances are, if you are into TV for entertainment, or just love the documentaries, your life has been ruled more by the TV Guide then The Bible.

Now that all commerial and non-commercial ‘free-to-air’ (which now includes free-to-digital) stations have their online components set up, YOU CAN leave the Guide to those who feel the need to vote for the Logies, and take back your life!

What happens is – when a station buys the broadcasting rights to a program, they will (in most cases, though not all) buy the digital rights for a set period of time and make it available online.

Huzzah!

This means, if I miss the last episode of ‘Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts’ (which I did) I can hop onto iView (because it was on the ABC) and watch it up to a few weeks after it was aired.

This also means that shows with a large Geek following, such as ‘Doctor Who’ can be online days before it is actually broadcast on the ABC. (Yes, I watch a lot of ABC…)

Thirdly, if there is a series that will work better online then broadcast via the usual means, such as ABC’s new series ‘Bluebird’, they can chose to do that and not even screen it on ABC, ABC2 or ABC3 (the last two being digital channels).

What does this mean for teachers?

You might watch ‘Law & Disorder’ on SBS and decide the episode might be useful additional material for a topic you are covering in class – you then can either show the episdoe in class, or even give instructions for your students to view it on their own time before having a class discussion on the topic.

Very useful!

So who pays?

We do – in most cases the stations are either funded by the government, and therefore we pay in our taxes; or ‘advertising breaks’ are inserted into the online version, much the same as on regular commerical TV.

What technology do you need?

In most cases, you will already have everything to watch from a computer screen. If you want to watch from a standard TV, you can purchase a ‘computer to tv’ magic-box for around AUD$100 (here‘s the long and technical verion in an article).

Come to think of it… this also makes learning to program a VCR defunct… even better!

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