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John Thomas
Works at DET/DEECD
Attended Marian College, Ararat
Lives in Victoria, Australia
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John Thomas

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A 17 Year Old's Story

Some remarkable achievements, and now a new logo.
We’ve changed a lot over the last 17 years, and today we’re changing things up again...
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Digitally Illiterate Judges!?

Hard to believe, but apparently true. It seems that it is not uncommon for senior judges in Australia to be digitally illiterate to the point of not using email. It makes you wonder how they would fare judging a case involving digital technology.
Dyson Heydon mocked after admitting to not using a computer or email.
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I think the issue transcends more than the obvious issue of not using email. We are continually in a non hierarchical world where we have to psychologically interact with lots of people directly. 

From the earliest days, and continuing in many situations, people build hierarchies to run interference and sieve out coal face incidents. 

It's not a technological issue, it's an organisational issue
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Is the Iron Curtain descending on Australia!?

A major joint operation comprising police officers, border force officers and public transport officers was planned today for Melbourne's CBD. They were intending to stop people in the city to demand that they establish their right to be in the community by proving their credentials through questions like, "Do you have identification?" and "Do you have a visa?"

Fortunately, Australians are not yet prepared to be treated like citizens behind the Iron Curtain in 20th Century Europe, and a rapid protest on the street and in social media erupted forcing the cancellation of the planned "Operation Fortitude". It makes you wonder what PM Tony Abbott and Minister Anthony Dutton are thinking!

#BorderForce   #BorderFarce  
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“You not only miss the concept of an analogy that was highlighting how statistics get manipulated depending on what you want them to say you now also stretch the meanings of words out to make them mean what ever you want.”

Wrong on both counts. Firstly, I understand how to use an analogy that supports my case. Unlike you, I don’t make the mistake of using one that undermines it. Secondly, I use words in ways that follow common convention - the way someone editing a dictionary determines what to write when they enter a word’s definition. I understand what “racist” and “racism” mean. Apparently you don’t. Racism is “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

“you couldn't resist using the oldest play in the lefty book by using race to benifit your argument of fear.”

Your slogans are back. You and this government are the ones who are fearful of refugees and asylum seekers, not me.

“This entire thread is based on some form of a bigoted view of the govt... and you stooped so low as to use race to try and achieve it.”

This thread is based on the criticism of a bigoted government. “Bigoted” means “obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, and intolerant towards other people's beliefs and practices.” Our government, and you too apparently, is obstinately and unreasonably attached to its belief that it is fair and reasonable to mistreat refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat, and to deny them their right to seek asylum here - a right that is specified in the refugee convention to which Australia is a signatory. The UNHCR has pointed out numerous times that Australia is not meeting its international obligations.

“I hate to burst your bubble but the evidence you gathered was either 20 something years old or was inconclusive.”

It was evidence that supported my conclusion that there is a risk that police will target ethnic minorities. Your willful refusal to acknowledge the validity of that evidence puzzles me. Here is the first result I pulled up just now using the search terms “victorian police dismissed racism”.
My suggestion is that there is a risk of racial profiling by Border Force officers. I am not saying that this will necessarily happen, but I have established beyond reasonable doubt the fact that law enforcement officers in this state, where Operation Fortitude was announced, have been guilty of racism in the past.

“Tell me, how do our detention centres compare to refugee camps in other countries?”

I could tell you, but I suggest you do your own work. I recommend a Google search.

“Do you know how they are treated in Malaysia?”

Why do you think that is relevant? Malaysia’s treatment of refugees isn’t a model I recommend Australia follow, just as their treatment of political “donations” revealed recently in the news, isn’t one I’d recommend either. You seem to be fond of homespun truths like “charity begins at home”. Here’s another one for you. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“Once the last of the boat arrivals are processed and settled outside Australia the centers will be closed and we can get on with taking refugees from those camps where they are treated poorly. You know? The camps you don't want to know about.”

The camps I don’t want to know about!? I’m curious. Have you ever watched any of the SBS series “Go Back to Where You Came From”?

“Then we are going to stop seeing asylum seekers arriving who appear fit and muscular well dressed and with some carrying laptops.”

How many asylum seekers do you know? Being fit, muscular, well dressed and carrying a laptop is not the typical profile of an asylum seeker, but these characteristics don’t disqualify someone from being a legitimate asylum seeker.

Your arguments in favour of not helping refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat are instructive. Not once have you mentioned the only legitimate line of argument the government possesses - saving lives at sea. That is telling. You might as well be honest. You just don’t care about these people. They aren’t Australians, so they don’t matter.

“In the current climate we simply don't have the money we used to have thanks to the previous govt.”

That line of argument can be used against any line of government expenditure - “we just don’t have the money”. We do have the money, but we have to make some hard choices and rearrange our spending priorities. I’m prepared to make those hard choices, including reductions in government services and increases in taxes if that is what is required for us to be decent people. Australia's $55m plan to resettle refugees from Nauru to Cambodia appears finished, with just four refugees moved at a cost of more than $13m per refugee. Our current offshore program is not a good example of using taxpayer funds effectively.

"Or do we keep going the same way until we are like the countries these people are coming from?"

And you accuse me of "scare mongering"!?
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Defending Effective Altruism

Bioethics professor +udo schuklenk has written a good response to some objections to the effective altruism movement. He begins by pointing out that the movement's assumption that "we should maximize the good we can reasonably produce in the world with the means that are available to us" seems obvious. Why would anyone object to that? 

Strangely, even some in the charities sector are unhappy with the spotlight the movement has put onto charitable giving. It seems to me that they are afraid that an evidence based approach to evaluating the effectiveness of their particular operations might not prove flattering.

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In the military they limit charity drives to two a year, otherwise, we'd have people asking everyday.
To not contribute a substantial but notional amount without good cause was considered bad taste.
The United Way was one. Glancing through the pamphlet I noticed some %'s. I like numbers and it turns out that some of these high profile charities charge 4-5 times more than the low profile charities for their services as a percentage of their budget. Meaning a 100k budget was spending 10k for administrative fees. (salary and expenses) while the 10 million budget was spending 3.3 million for the same % of cost of having them run it. 
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Stop Motion Animation for ChromeOS

Named logically enough, "Stop Motion Animator for ChromeOS".
I was wondering if there was a simple stop motion animation tool for ChromeOS. Turns out there is. With the deceptively obvious name Stop Motion Animator for ChromeOS, it does exactly what it says on the tin. So with stop motion video taken care of, we are one step closer to Chromebooks being the perfect BYO device.
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No More Religions Instruction in Victorian Schools

This move by Victoria's Labor Government is a step in the right direction, but one that has upset Access Ministries and some parents who want their children to receive religious instruction in State Schools within regular class time. Schools and school communities wishing to continue with religious instruction on State School premises will be permitted to use lunchtimes and times before and after school.

The Education Minister James Merlino says the new program, which covers world histories, cultures, faiths and ethics, will be delivered by qualified teachers and will help "all school students, regardless of their background or faith, to understand the world around them and the ideas and values that shape that world".

Makes sense to me. What do you think?
Victorian schools will scrap special religious instruction from class time, with the future of the controversial program in doubt under new ;changes to curriculum.
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+perlita quiñones It's natural to love one's own religion, but should it be taught to children in a secular school?
+Jonathan Landrum I understand your surprise. It seems to me that allowing parents and religious groups to use state school premises for religious instruction after-hours makes some sense, just as allowing local chess clubs to book school rooms for their weekly meetings makes sense. But should religious groups be permitted to take up regular class time for this purpose? That's the way it has been in Victorian State schools for many years, and it's the way the State Opposition still wants it. A change of government could bring the old policy back. 
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Congratulations Melbourne! World's Most Liveable City

Melbourne has achieved this result for the fifth consecutive year. The Economist Intelligence Unit surveys 140 cities worldwide and gives them a liveability score out of 100 based on health care, education, stability, culture, environment and infrastructure. Melbourne scored 97.5. Seven of the top ten scoring cities were in Australia and Canada. Damascus in Syria was ranked as the least liveable city.

We love weekend escapes to our city apartment, only an hour's drive down the motorway from our home in Victoria's central highlands.

Top 5 Cities
1. Melbourne
2. Vienna
3. Vancouver
4. Toronto
5. Adelaide
Melbourne is named the world's most liveable city for the fifth year in a row by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
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nice place to be
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John Thomas

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What an amazing shot!

Photographer David Canales captured this dramatic scene at Prince WIlliam Sound, Alaska.
A bald eagle flies off with its seagull dinner clamped firmly between its talons in Prince William Sound in Alaska. But a brave gull gave chase - frantically pecking at the predators back in a fearless attempt to free its friend. Picture: DAVID CANALES / CATERS NEWS
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Instant Karma :-)
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The Shovel on Operation Fortitude - Priceless

Better to laugh than cry. It didn't take long for fun to be made of "Operation Fortitude" – now cancelled – that would have seen Border Force Officers, Police and Transport Officers stopping people in Melbourne's CDB to question them about their visa status. 

Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg has conceded that the initial press release announcing Operation Fortitude was a “clumsily translated” statement accidentally sent from the 1930s. 

“It did come across as a little abrupt. It’s always hard to translate these things perfectly from the original German,” Mr Quaedvlieg said.

But there was an immediate backlash, with many claiming it was not realistic for people to carry around visa papers at all times. A spokesperson for Border Force agreed. “An armband or a small badge sewn onto a person’s clothing identifying their visa status would be much more practical for everyone involved”.
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Nice one
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Baggini Tackles Singer on Effective Altruism

This piece by philosopher Julian Baggini critiques the effective altruism movement more effectively than most, but it seems to me that Baggini is unconsciously just doing what evolution equipped us Homo Sapiens to do - look after number one.

The demandingness objection to +Peter Singer's utilitarianism, which is what Baggini's piece focuses on, is persuasive for people like us sitting at our computers making posts on social media. It's not persuasive for people living in slums in the third world who have no food to feed their families. They can't afford the luxury of debating the demandingness objection. Doing the right thing is tough for us rich people, and most of us aren't up to the task, but the less selfish we become the happier the world will become.

Singer answers Baggini's challenges well, and Baggini has the decency to report Singer's answers adequately. I agree with Baggini that the effective altruism movement places demands on us that we won't meet, but that doesn't make it mistaken. It just means that we humans aren't perfect.

The act of giving is always a calculated risk. Julian Baggini explores the limits of altruism.
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Young Scientists

Google Science Fair 2015 Finalists
Read more about these 5 innovative #GSF2015 finalists to learn how they're trying to make a difference in the world with their incredible +Google Science Fair projects
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The Australian Ugliness

Australian architect Robyn Boyd wrote a book of that name in 1960 proposing that education in design, landscaping and architecture could overcome the ugliness he observed in Australian architecture and suburban planning. Perhaps education could help overcome the new Australian Ugliness on display on Facebook and in every day discourse among a distressingly large number of Australians when the subject of refugees and asylum seekers is broached. This piece shows what happened when Hazara asylum seeker Khadim Dai, who was found to be a genuine refugee by the UNHCR, was invited onto Facebook.

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+John Thomas​ ah, I wasn't clear on that point. The individual isn't the problem, it's their tradition and values they bring. If they came with a true willing intent to learn more successful behavior and social interaction, and those ABLE to accommodate an influx without undue burden listened, we might actually help each other.
My issue is building systems based on others supporting their desire. 
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    Teacher, Consultant, Professional Developer, 2009 - present
  • DWA Australia Pty Ltd
    Founder & Sole Director, 2007 - present
  • Easy2Learn Pty Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 2000 - 2006
  • Dataworks International Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 1997 - 2001
  • Dataworks Australia Pty Ltd
    Founder & Managing Director, 1990 - 2007
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    Manager, 1989 - 1990
  • Dataworks
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  • Dept of Ed/Ministry of Ed
    Teacher, 1977 - 1989
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Victoria, Australia
Australian elearning pioneer - part entrepreneur, part teacher & part geek. Google Certified Teacher.
Australian elearning pioneer, teacher and entrepreneur. Founded Dataworks in 1985 - a company which grew to become Australia’s leading curriculum software publisher. Brought Australia’s best loved children’s characters to interactive format including The Wiggles, Bananas in Pyjamas, Hi-5, Play School and others. These award winning titles broke local sales records and were licensed for resale in more than 50 countries worldwide. Sold business in 2007 and moved to Victoria's Central Highlands. Focused on helping teachers, students and school communities make the most of the transformative potential of new technologies.
  • Marian College, Ararat
  • University of Ballarat
    Diploma of Teaching
  • Monash University, Clayton
    Bachelor of Arts - Philosophy
  • Monash University, Clayton
    Master of Educational Studies - Educational Computing
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John Thomas's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
A new breed of hardcore altruists are changing the way we think about ch...

The act of giving is always a calculated risk. Julian Baggini explores the limits of altruism.

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All Video Downloader

Want to download any video All Video Downloader is your app.All Video Downloader is the best app to download videos online from Internet to

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Fan-made interface for viewing lyrics from every song of the hit Disney(TM) movie Frozen, grab your phone and sing along!Frozen Heart Do You

MX Player

MX Player - The best way to enjoy your movies. a) HARDWARE ACCELERATION - Hardware acceleration can be applied to more videos with the help

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Categories: Docs : Report an issue : Desktop (specify browser/OS) : The ability to make the header different on the first page is necessary

CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator

Gestão Inteligente de DocumentosCamScanner é uma solução de Gestão inteligente de documentos para pessoas, pequenos empresários, organizaçõe

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News and updates from the Quantum A.I. Lab's corner of the multiverse

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Camtasia Studio

Easily superimpose yourself into your videos and make it appear as though you're inside of your presentation, floating through outer space,

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Google Politics & Elections. Your elections hub to study, watch, discuss, participate in and make your impact on the digital campaign trail.

Great family fun, especially for those with kids aged 4 to 15.
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