Hillcroft LRC

Archive for January 2015

LRC, future proof, quick reads 013They are here! Six new titles from Quick Reads for 2015:

Our Future Proof students are going to read ‘Street Cat Bob’ in class on the Kindles. We invited the lively group into the LRC to have a look at the full range of books today. Many people are participating in the Six Book Challenge and have borrowed a Quick Read or two (or more!).

Each new book has a different genre and will suit most tastes.  The settings are all in Europe though I think. It is a shame not to include other parts of the world. There is a memoir, romance, thriller and an historical one. I am not sure how to classify ‘Dead Man Talking’ as it sounds a bit off the wall (in a good way!).The author Roddy Doyle won the Booker Prize in 1993 so no doubt his Quick Read will be a page-turner. We are keen to hear back about what people think of them and fill out a book review slip.

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iPad standingA few weeks ago JTRS led an Inspires session to show our learning managers and staff the potential of using iPads in the classroom.

Thanks to Nick Acton’s demonstration we’ve been buying some of the apps he suggested and deploying them onto the iPads for tutors and students in the classroom.

The first one was Book Creator which is a handy app you can use to create booklets/books. You can add text and image, change the background colour and embed sound on them. These would work great for creating note books per course unit for example. It’s a freebie as well but you cannot make as many books!

The second was Decide Now which acts like a wheel spinner for making choices and picking names at random to answer questions.

JTRS also have a website area called JTRStv where you can find out how iPad rollouts have gone in other educational organisations and get tips on apps. Their Learning Inspired blog gives more tips on apps and iPad use in teaching and learning.

BETT 2015 is a giant exhibition for teachers and all those in education. What a treat! Yesterday I went to see the latest innovations in technology for use in all types of educational environments. It was somewhat overwhelming with hundreds of companies and seminars going on in more than one location. (The staff were so helpful in pointing me in the right direction when I got lost). I wanted to share the highlight discovery for me:

On the theme of informal online learning, I met Roar Knüppel the co-founder of Bibblio. They handpick the best free content on the internet including lots of videos, slides and other media that are really engaging and educational. For example, it has TED talks and BBC earth video collections. The are also 6 topics to browse: science, technology, people, nature, culture and society. You can follow other people’s collections of resources and/or curate your own. It’s great not to have to waste time searching through closed access, low quality or dull content – although I haven’t explored enough yet but the first impressions are golden. I have three videos to watch already in my collections.

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Astrodeep by Rich Murray is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I read this article today in The Independent newspaper (available in the LRC) on women and science. According to research, women overestimate the need to be naturally brilliant to succeed in science and engineering. This conclusion follows from research carried out into why so few women do engineering, technology and science degrees and even fewer progress further into such fields. It seems women feel less confident in their instant intellectual abilities.

This is compounded by images in the media portraying geniuses like Sherlock Holmes who when faced with a problem immediately solve it and don’t need to work long and hard at it. I watched the film ‘Theory of Everything’ recently and Stephen Hawking is shown in the lab writing complex maths formulae all across the blackboard. He is just naturally brilliant at physics. But hard work is important too.

Hopefully we can find ways to encourage women and men to challenge themselves with subjects that seem out of reach. There are lots of ways to find out more about subjects before deciding to go to university. For example, University College London holds weekly free lectures in science for everyone to attend. The next one is called ‘Auroras Abound – Comparing the Northern Lights of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn’ on Friday, 23rd January. Does this kind of lecture interest you?

Book whirl of many titlesWe know from research that our students are big fans of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook has announced his 2015 New Year’s resolution is to read. Zuckerberg’s resolution is based on crowdsourcing ideas he gathered one of which suggested he read a new book every month. As he is always one to push the boundaries on his resolutions – having previously learnt Mandarin he decided to read one every other week. You can keep pace and find out how he’s doing on his A Year of Books page.

If you’d like to rise to a similar challenge take a look at the Costa Book Award 2014 category winners for inspiration. Or if you’d like to make your reading challenge easier why not try using Quick Reads to make the going easier? Here’s the 2014 list and what’s coming up in the 2015 February launch.

 

 

BiographiesHappy new year! We have received our first box of new books. Inside are two biographies on two remarkable fashion designers’ lives.

Firstly, ‘Elsa Schiaparelli: a biography’ by Meryle Secrest looks fascinating as it is not someone I have ever heard of. She was from Rome but then moved to London, New York and Paris during the first half of the 20th Century. Having inspiration and collaboration with artists as famous as Dali made her a star of her time.

Secondly, ‘Vivienne Westwood’ by Vivienne Westwood and Ian Kelly, is an instantly recognisable name to me. Having a quick delve into this hardback book uncovers a chapter which highlights her popularity in Asia. In Mandarin her name translates to ‘Dowager Empress West’. It also looks at her honoured place in American fashion resulting from her designer wedding dress being chosen in the hugely-successful ‘Sex and the City’ movie in 2008. She is also an activist and her voice and actions have a wide resonance.

Having a look at the blurbs and on wikipedia, it is clear that both women had lots of fashion moments of surprise and ingenuity and they often went against convention (as many artists do!). Reading about their lives gives us an insight into their cultural influences over the decades. We have lots more biographies on famous and influential women on our shelves. Come have a browse next time you are in the LRC.