Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘digital literacy

Jisc Hillcroft College Small is (digitally) beautifulOver the summer Jisc published our case study on digital skills development at Hillcroft College in their Case Studies: Journeys Towards Digital Capability. The report also explains how we’ve been developing digital skills with students and teaching staff.

As a student you will have either experienced the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) team bringing in iPads or Kindles into the classroom or taken part in our information skills workshops where we teach you how to search for material on the catalogue, use ebooks, reference using the Citation Machine and about copyright and plagiarism. Read our case study Hillcroft College. Small is (Digitally) Beautiful.

This autumn we have been using Class OneNote Notebooks in the class room with Access to Higher Education (HE) Humanities and Social Sciences, Access to HE Health and Human Sciences and Introduction to Pre Access learners. Following the training we have been doing on Microsoft Imagine Academy.

As Digital & Learning Resources Manager introducing students to the Class OneNote Notebook I’ve found it really takes over from using an interactive whiteboard. Students and I have been impressed by the dyslexia-friendly Immersive Reader with its read aloud feature which also gives you the chance to change the font size and style and colour. We’ve all really liked the collaboration space which we’ve used in Introduction to Pre Access to share work we’ve done in pairs and groups creating Harvard references.

What’s also really useful is the ability to send material from the content library out into students’ individual note books and all of the tagging features so I can set up things for students to do that they can then tick off once complete. Here’s an example of the checklist

Pre Access with checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

and another of showing the different tags you can add to make it easier to guide the student through material
Pre Access Classroom OneNote Notebook with tags

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Starting ActivitiesWe’re glad to have started the new academic term. Welcome to all the new students and those arriving soon. You’ll have the chance to meet the LRC team and get introduced to the resources we have here over the coming weeks.

If you’re itching to find out more about the LRC before and after your inductions, there are two sets of activities on the VLE to help you improve your information and digital skills.

Once you’re logged in to the VLE then click on the library and learning resources block and click  enroll me on this course.

Another place to look for tips and tricks about electronic books, Office365 and more, have a look at our Padlet page #LRCdigitips.

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?

 

 

Freebooting and Facebook sitting in a tree, piracy is rife and woe be we. In all seriousness though there are reasons why watching videos on Facebook or other social media website might be aiding the wrong people. “What is freebooting?” I hear you ask. This article on Social Media Examiner says it is a form of video piracy, usually taking someone’s else’s Youtube video and uploading it to Facebook without asking permission or saying whose work it is.

You know about academic copyright from being in college, but how about the copyright implications of sharing cat videos?The internet expands the ability to create and share information with millions of people. Copyright law impacts not just in the academic setting but in the everyday setting too – people need to give permission to share their work and have their work attributed to them. Smartereveryday uses a metaphor with sheep and rich men to explain how Facebook don’t care about video piracy and how Youtube video creators’ livelihoods are affected (with some insights from some very smart kids). Watch the video below to find out more about freebooting and what you can do to help creators:

iPad standingThis week we’ve been digesting all of our data for our Self-Assessment Report (SAR). You may be scratching your head wondering what it is! Basically it’s a review of the impact of what we do on our students. We produce one every six months and this one is looking back at 2014/15. Part of the process is to identify our strengths and weaknesses as well so we can flag up improvements for the next academic year which go into our Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) for 2015/16.

Here are our some of our highlights from 2014/15:

Increased audovisual material for learners to borrow by 7%.
Introduced iPads into the classroom for learners to boost their digital skills – included reading apps.
Increased use of eresources by 47.2% – getting more learners used to ereading material and building digital skills.
Improved Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) material – embedded videos to reinforce induction content, new Reading for Pleasure section to encourage reader development and apps to help to hone information/digital literacy skills.
Greater promotion of reading – National Libraries Day, more Six Book Challenge completers, World Book Night and Reading for Pleasure Moodle VLE block.
Extra refresher/consolidation sessions on information literacy skills eg referencing.
Rolled out dyslexic friendly labeling for books to help navigate our material – based on the International Libraries Association Federation (IFLA) Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia.

Yesterday at Achievement and Diversity Day we celebrated the work of students and staff this year. Many students are finishing at Hillcroft for at least the time being. You may well be thinking of new goals to strive for whilst in between studies and/or jobs. It can be hard to stay motivated once all the deadlines are over and you are not in a learning environment regularly.

I thought Street Step has come up with a neat idea to gain employability skills and have fun. This charitable organisation takes a social and active approach to young people (especially women) who are unemployed to get them in new jobs. You can go to their free weekly dance and fitness classes and then join their employability programme. There’s not much better way to shake off a lack of motivation than through dance and joining a community.

What are employability skills anyhow? You may be asking. There’s no single definition, but includes elements such as time-management, communication, team-work and increasingly digital know-how. Most likely you have a ton of them already but everyone needs help in honing them and finding your strengths. Your tutor, friends and family will be able to help you identify them too.What you have learnt at Hillcroft is only the beginning and now you’d be in a better position to help others. This was a common theme in the student talks yesterday: giving back and moving forward.

This reminds me too of the City Opportunities event for young people who experienced in care environments. This is held next month by the London South Bank University and is free to attend if you qualify. It is a 5-day programme to set young people on a career path. They are making finance, business and law more accessible to those who may not see those pathways as open to them.

These are only two possible avenues to explore. Hopefully they inspire you. Even when you are no longer at Hillcroft you will have so many opportunities available to you with lifelong learning.

Back in March our team submitted three entries for the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) Best Practice Awards 2015. This year there were three categories:

  1. customer service
  2. information literacy
  3. reader development.

We put in entries into each category and this week we heard that we’d got second place in the Information Literacy category for Copyright and Plagiarism Using Wordwall which is part of our information skills induction for learners on longer courses. We we use Wordwall with students on handheld devices answering questions on copyright and referencing using the Harvard reference system. We use the Wordwall kit to boost students digital literacy and as a fun activity which lets them get personal feedback on how they’ve done. Here’s one of our activities on referencing a book:

 

Referencing a Book on Wordwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got third prize in the Customer Service category for our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Redesign and Dyslexia. For this project we worked with students, tutors and colleagues inside and outside our college to create a dyslexic-friendly look to our VLE, with a user-friendly course content template and accessibility plugins with read out loud and overlay features.

Here’s a view of the overlay accessibility feature in action:

Virtual Learning Environment with Green Overlay

 

 

 

 

 

Read CoLRiC’s press release to find out about other winners.  Many thanks to our students, staff and colleagues on working with us and inputting to our award wins.

 


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