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ebrooks: Streaming the Future

As tech­nol­ogy changes and evolves there are fewer things on earth that have yet to be touched by the far-reaching ten­ta­cles of the Dig­i­tal Age. In fact, the Dig­i­tal Age has grown to be so dom­i­nant with its infi­nite num­ber of ten­ta­cles that it now wails on octopi and other crea­tures lim­ited to a finite num­ber of ten­ta­cles as relics of a bygone era.

The lat­est thing to be rev­o­lu­tionised by the Dig­i­tal Age is one of the planet’s most pure, free and uncom­pli­cated beau­ties – the com­mon brook. We’ve all, at one time or another, hap­pened upon a small brook some­where: a walk in the woods that comes to a small stream of water; an explo­ration under­neath an inner-city bypass that reveals a hid­den creek; a late night walk through a for­est with your cousins to prove there’s no Blair Witch that ends when the lit­tlest cousin falls into an unex­pected water hole. With the excep­tion of this last exam­ple we almost always asso­ciate brooks with nature and nat­ural beauty.

The only prob­lem with brooks is that for the most part they’re far away. Whether you live in the city, the desert or the Antarc­tic the clos­est brook to you is prob­a­bly one you con­jure up in your mind as part some anti-stress/happy place brain exer­cise. Well, this is no longer the case.

Sci­en­tists – oth­er­wise known as employ­ees of hard­ware and soft­ware com­pa­nies – have come up with a device that brings the com­mon brook to you no mat­ter where you are. The device is called an ebrook. It’s a small tablet-like, touch­screen appli­ance that beams live video feeds of brooks back to the ebrook user in real-time.

Just imag­ine the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the ebrook. Never again will you need to take your printed pho­tos of brooks with you on the train to look dur­ing your jour­ney. Never again will you need to haul sealed plas­tic bags of peb­bles and fresh water to and from school. Never again will you have to go into a dusty of old book­shop and search through the piles of thick, bor­ing books just to find one that has pic­tures of brooks in it.

Sud­denly the world (of brooks) is at our fin­ger­tips. But the own­ers of the land on which the brooks are found – be they gov­ern­ment or pri­vate – are cau­tious. Will peo­ple still come to see brooks in per­son? Will peo­ple steal brooks when they are digi­tised? If the pirat­ing of music and movies can explode on the inter­net, then what’s stop­ping the same hap­pen­ing for brooks too? Peo­ple don’t steal brooks from real life so they shouldn’t be allowed to steal ebrooks either.

Ama­zon, the world’s largest rain­for­est, has been offer­ing their own ebrooks for a while already and say that in recent months sales of hard cov­ered ebrooks – that is brooks that are hard to cover and are there­fore mostly ignored by tourists – have brought in more money than tourists themselves.

Even though the tech­nol­ogy is only just tak­ing off now, ebrooks are the only thing the peo­ple of these com­mu­ni­ties can talk about. Park rangers talk about what ebrooks will mean for for­est preser­va­tion (although this link is still fairly unclear). Wildlife con­ser­va­tions don’t know much about ebrooks but they’re excited about them. And just about every­one talks about how, with this new tech­nol­ogy, surely the qual­ity of the brooks them­selves will improve dramatically.

We may still not have set­tled on ade­quate and rea­son­able prices for ebrooks – it turns out that putting a price on life’s free and sim­ple plea­sures is harder than it sounds – but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to talk about. And if you’re not already talk­ing about ebrooks then attend an ebrook sem­i­nar or work­shop or con­fer­ence before it’s too late. The future of the com­mon brook will only hap­pen once and you don’t want to miss out on that!

Stories by the students of Karoo Primary School

I was pretty tired after Book Week last and so apolo­gies to the grade five and six stu­dents of Karoo Pri­mary School for not get­ting their sto­ries up sooner.

Karoo Pri­mary out in Rowville was my last Book Week stop and, as had been the case at all the schools I vis­ited, the sto­ries that came out of our writing/blogging work­shop­ping ses­sions were fantastic.

All week I was run­ning ses­sions that empha­sised cre­at­ing sto­ries that had sur­pris­ing char­ac­ters, plots and end­ings. The Bor­ing is not the friend of the Book. And so here are the final three sto­ries that came out of Book Week — which is a sad thing because now I have to go back to try­ing to write sto­ries on my own.

THE COUCH POTATO

by the Grade 5 & 6 Stu­dents of Karoo PS

There was a man once called Duza, who sat on his couch 24/7 and he ate lots of potato chips as he watched TV and played videogames and knit­ted. He started grow­ing pota­toes in the couch and he got infected by one of the pota­toes and he lit­er­ally into a couch potato.

El TACO

by the Grade 5 & 6 Stu­dents of Karoo PS

In a Mex­i­can Restau­rant is el super hero Taco. He sees his friend Cor­nelius Taco who is sleep­ing and a model picks Cor­nelius up and puts him in her mouth. He (El Taco) makes a rope out of his cheese, swings down, sprays salsa in the model’s eyes and she screams and drops Cor­nelius who is a soft taco who doesn’t get hurt :)

BOB THE HUMAN TURTLE

by the Grade 5 & 6 Stu­dents of Karoo PS

There was an old man called Bob who had a tur­tle shell on his back. The shell was used as a back­pack. In it was a walk­ing stick and his favourite hanky. One day he came across a bunch of kids who stole his anti-snoring cream. He wanted to get revenge so he put them straight into his tur­tle shell backpack.

(By the way, the art­work for Bob the Human Tur­tle is kind of abstract. But I invite you to turn your head on an angle and see if you can see the tur­tle and the back­pack in there — AM)

Stories by the students of Fitzroy North Primary School

The next school I vis­ited dur­ing my Book Week trav­els this week was North Fitzroy Pri­mary School. The kids there were so enthu­si­as­tic about my visit that they got me to sign their arms in texta. Some wanted me to sign their fore­heads but I turned them down for fear of get­ting an angry email from a par­ent. Noth­ing would be scarier than get­ting such an email that was marked as ‘urgent’ and had a sub­ject line of You sign­ing my child’s forehead!!!

But the stu­dents were fan­tas­tic and had some great story ideas. Here are the two sto­ries the stu­dents came up with.

VOLCANO, THE HALF-MAN ROBOT

by Grade 3 and 4 students

THE KISSING ALPACA

by Grade 5 and 6 students

The Adventures of Hypo-Cat by the Year 6s of Aitken College

I was out at the very nice Aitken Col­lege in Green­vale yes­ter­day for another Book Week ses­sion. And you know you’re out of the city when there’s a wind­mill on cam­pus. Almost-in-the-country air FTW!

I did a ses­sion with the Year 6 stu­dents at Aitken Col­lege and out of the dis­cus­sion about work­shop­ping ideas and turn­ing them into sto­ries, the classes came up with their own story — a ter­rific tale (a tragi­com­edy really) called The Adven­tures of Hypo-Cat, which I am proud to present now for your enjoyment.

The dog and Hypo-Cat before the fate­ful chase that lead to the tree.

The stories of St Francis of Assisi Primary School

Yes­ter­day I spent the first day of Book Week at St Fran­cis of Assisi Pri­mary School in Mill Park, Vic­to­ria. The grade six stu­dents that I did ses­sions with there were keen book read­ers and keen writ­ers too. I’ve been fin­ish­ing up my school ses­sions with lit­tle lessons in story writ­ing and by the end of each ses­sion at St Fran­cis, I’d work­shopped char­ac­ters and plot with the group and together they’d writ­ten a cool lit­tle story up on the white­board. Oh, and illus­trated a front cover for their story too!

And it is with great plea­sure that I now present the sto­ries as writ­ten (and illus­trated) by the grade six stu­dents of St Fran­cis of Assisi Pri­mary School.

THE GOOD WEREWOLF

by 6L

MISSING THE HORN!!!

by 6W

THE RAPPING CAMEL

by 6M and 6S

TIME FOOTBALL

by 6P