To actually be efficient, communicate with context

I took myself on a brunch date on Sunday and a minor confusion in my order to the waitstaff reminded me of a crucial communication strategy that I’d failed to deploy. Luckily brunch is not a life-or-death situation (though partners who have witnessed ‘hangry’ me may disagree 😈). But in a business environment, it can result in hours or days of lost work due to confusion.

This is especially true when so much communication happens asynchronously with limited ability to discuss or ask for clarification. Emails; announcements rather than meetings; ad hoc requests rather than well-thought-out memos, even conversations on…


It’s not Reply All but instead Return to Sender

If you haven’t listened to Reply All yet, stop reading this and go do it. It’s hilarious, witty, whimsical, and very millennial. It’s nominally about The Internet but as the Guardian says, it’s really an “unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it”. I’m well behind in terms of episodes, but every so often I’ll binge, usually on road trips (haven’t had many of those recently for obvious reasons).

Anyway. The show has essentially 3 types of episodes: the ostensibly regular episodes, which are narratives about how the…


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Argh!

tl;dr So sick of news paywalls

Yes, I am willing to pay. No, I do not want to have to set up a subscription to every news outlet on the planet. Can someone make an aggregator/paywall that I can pay per article (maybe with a cap) that will send my money to the appropriate place, please? 🙏

I don’t like ads. But I also don’t like having to sign up to every single website I visit. Particularly when I’m visiting the site to get news.

I work at a startup, so I absolutely understand the need to charge for services. Media outlets have staff and overheads…


"In essence, my marketing was blaring out “Look, you can share this with your friends!”, without ever actually telling people that the game was worth playing, let alone sharing."

I think this is it, for me. The time I playtested for you was fun, but I didn't really get sucked into the story of the game.

I also didn't consider making my own ship rather than printing or buying. I'm pretty keen to do that now, though! I like craft, and combining that with a game sounds fun. …


What happened on Grok during lockdown? A Down Under update 🇦🇺

‘Challenge’ is our middle name

At Grok we often joke that everything is named ‘Challenge’. We’ve got the NCSS Challenge, the DT Challenges, the Cyber Security Challenges…

Well, we’re midway through what has turned out to be a very ‘challenging’ year.

In Australia we ended 2019 in drought, had one of the worst bushfire seasons in history over the summer, the Grok office flooded in the big wet (but thankfully broke the drought), and then…well you know the rest. …


Guest post by Victor Rajewski, Footscray High School

With the pandemic drawing closer, and trying to maintain some semblance of enthusiasm despite the dwindling student numbers at Footscray High School, I thought I’d try some design thinking with my class who had just been working through the ACA’s Intro to micro:bit course in Grok.

While our curriculum plan had been for a design challenge in Term 2, I rushed this forward a little in anticipation of a shut-down, trying to squeeze it into the space of a single lesson, also with me moving things along a bit more than I’d have preferred.

So I asked the students “how…


…without losing your mind 😉

For the times they are a changin….

It’s already a cliche that we are living in uncertain times. The situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing. More and more people are being asked to work from home and many teachers and schools are preparing for online learning.

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Whether you’ve signed up to a Grok competition, or are using the DT Challenges from the Australian Computing Academy (ACA) on our platform, we’re here to help. We want to do everything in our power to support teachers and students to continue their studies as smoothly as possible. …


Text-based adventure games aren’t dead. Who knew?

For Grok’s 2019 web design competition, we created an all-new Advanced stream. This incorporated JavaScript for the first time on Grok — super exciting!

You’ve already seen our favourite designs from the Beginners and Intermediate streams of Web.Comp 2019, but we’ve been saving this. Since we’ve just released our new JS course, this was the perfect time to publish the best of the best from Advanced Web.Comp 2019 💪 🏆.

The tournament component of the Advanced stream was to create an online puzzle using JS elements to create interactivity for the user.

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This was a free-form project, so students were…


We have a super exciting piece of news to share with you — can you tell by the exclamation marks?!

Before I do the big reveal: Lots of you have been with us for a long time and know our origin story, but many of you are new to the Grok family, so let’s go back in time…📖

How Grok began

The NCSS Challenge was created way back in the dark ages of 2005, under the National Computer Science School banner at the University of Sydney. “The Challenge” (as it’s informally known) is not just a competition — rather it aims to teach…


Guest post by Donna Buckley — Assistant Head of Mathematics, John Curtin College of the Arts.

Since 2017, mathematics teachers at John Curtin College of the Arts have been using Grok to integrate Digital Technologies across their mathematics curriculum. Grok introduces students to the power of using a computing language such as Python for problem solving.

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“I like Grok because it is a good way for students to learn to program and it was fun to see how programming works”, Beth King, Year 7 at John Curtin College of the Arts

In mathematics the problem solving process can be thought of as having four stages:

  • Playing with and visualising a problem, trying simpler cases.
  • Working on the problem, reasoning logically and looking for a pattern.
  • Digging deeper by generalising the pattern, verifying and proving.
  • Communicating…

Yasmin Clarke

Thinking about how things should work

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