Hillcroft LRC

Reading Well pile of books

We are in the process of adding titles from the Reading Agency’s Reading Well book selection into our library.

Health professionals and young people have recommended the books on the Reading Well. The books help you combat anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, stress, bullying and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

 

Here are the latest arrivals from the list which are on our shelves for you to borrow:

Kite Spirit by Sita Bramacharmi

The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs!! by Grace Barrett

House of Windows by Alexia Casale

Quiet the Mind: an Illustrated Guide on How to Meditate by Matthew Johnstone

Everyday by David Levithan

Blame My Brain  – the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan

I’ll Give Your the Sun by Jandy Nelson

We’ll post again when the next batch of titles have been added to our book shelves.

We hope you enjoyed the World Book Night Celebrations in the LRC today. We all learnt some new Scottish vocabulary and places while sipping some IRN BRU and nibbling on oatcakes and shortbread. In this to get us in the mood to read Jenny Colgan’s ‘A Very Distant Shore’ set in Scotland.

If you missed out we can still give out some of the activities and a few copies of the book ‘A Very Distant Shore’ next week. Have a lovely long weekend. Tell us what you think of the book. There are plenty more Quick Reads to borrow if you finish that one too quickly 😉

World Book Night 2017 logoThis year we’re celebrating World Book Night on Friday 28 April from 200-330 in the Learning Resources Centre for our students.

World Book Night rules have changed so our LRC is sponsoring a set of books to give away to our students. As usual we are keeping the title of the book secret. Why? Because our celebration event activities reflect the theme of the book! And not only that it feeds into our refreshments too.

We’ve already installed the surprise book onto our set of Kindles so any one wanting to try out the electronic reading experience can do so at the event.

Our activities will lead to prizes and there will be a chance for our attendees to get creative and talk about books they’ve enjoyed. We’ll be adding these recommendations onto the World Book Night Good Reads List. This year we have Wendy Morris from Kingston University Library joining us to celebrate. Wendy works with us and our reading group The Real Book Club whose next book is set to be Harry Bingham’s Quick Read Dead Simple.

Find out about the impact of World Book Night 2016 on the World Book Night report. And take a look at what we did at last year’s event on our Sway.

The Learning Resources team are all busy reading our chosen book in advance and making the activities…We look forward to the event on Friday.

Taking notesA few weeks ago at an Institute of Customer Service Assessor’s Forum I was getting a refresher on note taking which is an essential part of the Professional Qualifications assessment process. If you are new to taking notes then The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes page outlines the different styles you can try.

It’s worth learning about the Cornell method where you split the paper into areas so you have an area for making notes on, another for summarising the key points/words/questions and another for condensing the main ideas. Wiki How to Take Cornell Notes will help you try this out. It was created at Cornell University.

Another note taking method is the Charting one where you have headed columns so you can log subjects that similar into the same column. This handy document from California Polytechnic State University explains how it works.

The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes complements the Charting one outlining how to use pattern notes to create two columns, two different colours of notes or notes on two different set of pages to then make connections between the notes. One set of notes is a summary of what you hear and the other is a related analysis of what you think of it. This is a useful for making sure you don’t use someone else’s words or ideas. In other words it helps you avoid plagiarism when you use the notes for an essay.

Pattern notes is another style Palgrave recommend where you have a key idea in the centre then branch out to create notes that relate to the main theme and look at it more in-depth. They suggest you can use particular shapes to make the other ideas stand out and then find an overall image to help you recall what the notes and ideas are. This will be very useful for exams and where you need to turn your notes into an essay. This style of note taking is also known as mind maps, spidergrams or concept maps.

It’s worth getting a copy of Jeanne Godfrey’s Reading and Making Notes which is part of the Pocket Study Skills guide which explains how to make notes in an easy-digestible format.

If you want to get digital savvy then Popplet is a handy app you can use for creating notes in a graphic way. Download it here for Android or iOS devices.

 

mind

Mind by Caterina SM is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

We all need tools to help us nurture a state of contentment and help others feel less anxious and stressed. You may have come across the idea of mindfulness, either in the newspapers, books or on television. Mindfulness is associated with Buddhism, yoga, meditation, those who have the money to go on retreats or indulge in fads. For those skeptics, this Scientific American article weighs up mindfulness and meditation from a creativity and calmness viewpoint. This TED talk looks at how regularly employing techniques like meditation shapes our brains.

If you are now convinced to find out more about mindfulness, we have many new books and ebooks that present the benefits of taking stock of a situation and appreciating the present rather than worrying for the future. These books are often called ‘Shelf-help’ books in libraries.

If you have a login to the Hillcroft VLE, check out the ebooks in the series ‘Can I tell you about…? ‘. They look at common learning difficulties and strategies to manage them, many through the lens of mindfulness’ psychological cousin, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

If you don’t fancy a book, Candis Magazine also provides are some simple tips and tricks for wellbeing.

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.