Hillcroft LRC

Archive for July 2015

ESOL Summer school artworkThis week has been the ESOL summer school. We used iPads to explore art apps on Monday. These apps are:

We had some wonderful student presentations comparing two pieces of artwork through browsing the apps for striking images. The advantage of these apps is that you don’t need to create an account to browse artwork. You can mark your favourite pictures with a heart (Wikiart) or a star (Landscape Art). You can also download pictures from the Landscape Art app to the iPad. What’s more, they are both free! Wikiart is related to Wikipedia so you can find out more about artists from around the world.

On Wednesday was a trip to London, ESOL students were tour guides to iconic buildings such as Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square and St. James’ Park. We learnt a lot and everyone enjoyed the freedom to roam. The videos from the trip can be found on the ‘video’ section on Office 365.

We’ve just added a recording of the ITV programme Girls with Autism to our collection. Over 30% of our learners at Hillcroft come with a disability/learning disability so this programme gave us useful insight into how young women handle autism and learning.

The programme broadcast on 15 July 2015 Book whirl of many titles followed three pupils at Limpsfield Grange School in Surrey which is a state-run boarding school for girls with autism. It focuses also on their teachers and parents and their learning as well as their social lives. Read more details on the ITV press release. If you didn’t see the programme you can catch up with it on ITV Player. There’s also a book to accompany the programme called M is for Autism written by the students and published by Jessica Kingsley.

If you’re interested in finding out more about autism or Asperger’s Syndrome take a look at our library catalogue resources.

Book 'stairs'This week a new series on BBC 2 started called Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners on Wednesday 15 July @ 2100. This is a two-part series examining the slave trade in Britain introduced by the historian David Olusoga. Episode 1 Profit and Loss examines the sums involved in owning slaves and the compenation amounts paid at abolition.

You can follow up the programme by visiting the progamme’s website which has links to some of the resources used in the programme. For example David looked at data from University College London (UCL)’s Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Database. There’s a chance to discuss issues and findings from the programme with David on Twitter.

There are also resources for teachers and students to use on the abolition of the slave trade on the National Archive’s Slavery web page. Take a look at the resources we have on the slave trade on our catalogue.

Our Access to Higher Education (HE) Humanities and Social Science students study the slave trade as part of their history unit.

We are looking at making our FAQs on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) available for listening. It will still be available in text format too, but hearing our LRC team explain things makes things more personal. We answer common questions about LRC services, resources and equipment.

We’re trying out AudioBoom which is a service where you can listen and create audio files/podcasts. It is fun and easy to use.

Alongside listening straight from the VLE. You will be able to follow our podcast posts by visiting us on https://audioboom.com/HillcroftLRC. Everything we publish will also be tweeted out on our Twitter feed @HillcroftLRC.

Let us know what you think of having more to listen on your courses.

iPad standingThis week we have our final weekend course Dyslexia/Dyspraxia and Creativity running and the last weekend for our level 3 course Diploma in Massage Therapy. Then our last course of the year will be the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Summer School near the end of July. College students usually think all staff at Hillcroft finish working and go straight off on holiday once they finish their courses. This is not the case!

We’re busy moving our eresources from OpenAthens to Shibboleth. Once Shibboleth is up and running we’ll be looking to use it as the gateway to integrating other college databases and software like Office 365 and BKSB (a learning and assessment tool) and our eILP (electronic Individual Learning Plan). The impact on students will be they only need one username and password to access any of the them instead of having multiple ones.

We’re also upgrading our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) from 2.6.1 to 2.9. Once this is done we’ll be giving it a summer clean with new photos for a fresh feel for the autumn and running more staff training.

In addition we’re looking at integrating our Management Information System (MIS) into our Heritage online library catalogue so we can automatically transfer student address details into it. At the same time we’re aiming to get more of our students rating our material on the catalogue and writing reviews to build their confidence in using digital resources and writing. Plus there’s nothing better than getting a recommendation from someone who has read the book or watched the DVD…

There are many more things we’re doing over the summer. Next week’s post will tell you a bit more about what we’re planning for our Academic Integrity Workshops where we teach information literacy skills.

We were talking with librarians from Sixth Form colleges yesterday and Twitter came up in the conversation. They reported that pupils are no longer using Twitter or Facebook as much because their parents are on there. Also I don’t know about you but it feels like they are becoming more and more commercial. It’s hard to find hard evidence of this but it’s about time people would want to start looking for new virtual environments in which to share stories, listicles and pictures with friends. But where are they going?

Perhaps it could be Pinterest? The visual bookmarking website where you can swipe through beautiful photographs to your heart’s content.

Might it be Tumblr? A lot like Pinterest really. A collage of interesting pics and GIFs.

How about Google + … only joking it will never be Google + (‘the unsocial network’)

My bet is on Snapchat. Although it is only the 9th biggest social networking site, that might be part of the appeal. It still feels (relatively) new and undiscovered. Plus as each short video or photo is deleted after 24 hours it feels more private. You can add your own drawings to the pics which makes it fun and creative.

It all depends how you use social media. If it’s something just between you and friends or you keep up-to-date with news and take advantage of offers. Most people use it for lots of reasons. For example, you could join Hillcroft College’s Facebook group to hear what’s happening and join in the community online. You can follow the LRC on Twitter to get more specific news around the resources and goings-on in the books, digital and learning resources worlds. But these networks are only valuable once they reach a certain number of people; so that’s why we are so keen to have more followers, because it only makes it more fun for everyone.

if you’re not keen on Twitter and Facebook but are trying something new out – don’t leave us in the dark, we want to be in the know too! We don’t want to end up looking like digital dinosaurs.