Hillcroft LRC

Archive for March 2017

Books can be heavy, notes get lost and eyes get tired. On all these issues, ebooks can help. Reading a book on a screen may not have the same satisfaction as holding a physical copy.  Yet there are benefits to having access to books stored in the “cloud“.

Differences between ebooks and reading apps

What makes a reading app an app rather than an ebook? There aren’t many differences between reading apps and ebooks. For those who are curious about such things, one distinction is that ebooks tend to be downloadable and have copies exist in physical form, whereas reading apps are more likely to be ‘born digital’, that is, having no physical manifestation (at least to begin with). Reading apps and ebooks these days might mix text with interaction and features of other media such as video, audio and games.

Benefits of ebooks and reading apps

  • not needing to carry a book around,
  • having a choice of things to read between,
  • being able to read without hands with the help of a screenreader such as the freebie Natural Reader or VoiceOver on Macs,
  • have your device record how much you’ve read.

We have two ebook platforms available through the catalogue for subjects including maths, social sciences and English.

If you are after fiction you may want other apps on your smartphone for easy access.

3 Free Reading apps

There are a number of reading apps to add to your phone for free, much of the content is free too. It depends on how you like your reading experience but it’s always good to have a book available on your smartphone if you’ve got one.

Perhaps try The Pigeonhole which releases ebooks in installments so it’s more digestible for on-the-go reading.

There is also the Kindle reading app so you can get all the out-of-copyright ebooks downloaded on your phone or tablet or desktop.

I’ve also heard of the app Hooked which present stories as a chat conversation.

Like, you know, super spooky.

Don’t forget your public library will have ebooks available to borrow.

Let us know what reading apps you’ve heard of or would like to try out. What combo of apps vs print works for you?

 

 

Immersive reader on OneNote Notebook showing syllablesThis year our college has over 60% of its learners with a declared disability which includes dyslexia/dyspraxia. Our team is currently experimenting with the use of Microsoft OneNote and the Class OneNote Notebook to benefit our learners with dyslexia/dsypraxia.

We learnt about the benefits of OneNote at the Microsoft Showcase in London over two years ago. Since then we’ve been watching the new features which have developed at the session Learning Tools for OneNote Transforming the Learning Experience One Student at a Time in the Learn Live Microsoft arena at BETT at Excel in London in January. Here we saw the immersive reader demonstrated on Office 365’s Word on the Cloud. It’s now available on OneNote.

What is the immersive reader? It basically strips down what you are reading to a single column which minimises other distractions. You can get it to read out loud plus you can display the nouns, verbs, adjectives in a piece of text in a different colour font. And it will show the syllables in words to help you pronounce them. Read more about it on the Microsoft blog.

We want to start using OneNote with learners because:

  • OneNote is like a coloured tabbed exercise book – we think learners will find navigation of it easy and more memorable
  • OneNote has a resource bank area for content, student’s have their own notebook and there’s an area for students to collaborate so we can get them recording group work together
  • There’s a search facility so you can easily find where something is in the Notebook
  • You can add checklists and record feedback for learners to do follow-up tasks
  • It’s easy to transfer websites and screenshots onto OneNote.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Microsoft Showcase Classroom events visit the Microsoft Showcase Classroom Regional Roadshow on the Microsoft Schools blog.

We have jusAsian mostly new fictiont had a huge delivery of new fiction books so we thought we would give you a flavour of what you have to look forward to (as it will take us a while to process them!)

The girl who fell to earth by Al-Maria Sophia. This is the memoir of a girl who grows up between two cultures – America and the Middle East. It is considered to be part family history and part personal quest. The book is written in Arabic.

Mind your head by Juno Dawson. This light-hearted read covers many mental health issues with a view to making society better versed with the topic and not afraid to talk about mental health.

Love across a broken map has 10 short stories from South Asia written by authors from a British Asian background. There are gritty, memorable characters in stories with universal rather than cultural themes.

Five degrees has 14 short stories from Asia. They were shortlisted for the 2012 Asian Writer Short Story Prize. Deepa Anappara, writer of the fourth story in this book went on to win the prize.

Lost and Found. This is an anthology of 22 short, original and diverse stories on the theme of home by Leicestershire writers.

Happy Birthday to Me. The theme of this book is celebration. Part One has short stories and poetry written in a contemporary Asian style. Part Two has interviews with prominent South Asian authors like Mohsin Hamid who wrote The Reluctant Fundementalist, also available on our shelves.

 

dreaming
Dreaming by Hartwig HKD is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

In a message for International Women’s Day (last Wednesday), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women Executive Director called for changes to be made by men and women worldwide to fight injustice. One of the most moving statements is:

 

We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys.

What do you think? Certainly education plays a large role in exploring those dreams: to widen participation and nurture ambition. We would add that books are resources at the heart of learning beyond the classroom.

We highlight 8 women writers and activists this month on display in the LRC. These women are: Nawal al Sadaawi, Laura BatesChimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. We hope to inspire students to read widely, to share their thoughts and experiences and to give support to other women and men so that everyone sees their potential.

Can books and reading really help in achieving all that? Lisa Bu is one woman who talks passionately about how reading and comparing books changed her life. Her outlook on the importance of dreams (even if they are shattered) is inspiring. Listen to her story in this 5 minute TED video: