Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘digital skills

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.

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This month was Hillcroft College’s Student Celebration and Achievement Day. It was a special day in many ways. First and foremost, it was a chance to recognise the effort and success of all our students.

This year we were pleased to award many students LRC certificates for completing and participating in reading groups and challenges. 4 students completed the Reading Ahead challenge, having read 6 books or other items. 23 students attended one or more reading groups. We appreciate finding time to work on skills and interests outside of class time is difficult. We hope you enjoyed the extra support with digital and reading skills. Well done!

It was also the official occasion when the LRC unveiled its new name and dedicated plaque to a former student. More details to follow soon.

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?

 

 

Student taking a book from a shelfWe’re so excited as we’ve received a Library Literacy Grant from Better World Books to create reading groups at our college this academic year.

Our grant will help us get new books to reflect women’s issues and experiences. We will also buy more ereaders so we can get our students reading on digital devices. During the summer we established links with our local Surbiton library so we can encourage our students to join and borrow from the local library and use their ebooks too. Through one of our team’s connection to Kingston University Library we have been able to set up two groups; a Hillcroft College and Kingston University Group and a Hillcroft College Group. The group with Kingston is targeting more confident readers and runs monthly. Whereas the Hillcroft one is running weekly for the less confident readers.

We’re already in week 2 of our programme. To measure the success of our project we’ve taken and adapted questions from the Reading Agency’s Reading Outcomes Framwork Toolkit. Throughout the project we’ll be asking our participants to give us feedback on the groups and their reading. This will include a UX (User Experience) reading journey as well as video diaries.

The Kingston group started off last week reading Jackie Kay’s Red Cherry Red.

Watch out this year as we chart the groups activities. We’ll be using our grant along with  the National Lottery grant  to create a relaxing reading area conducive to reading for pleasure!

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.

Calculating Ada from Radio TimesYou may have noticed the BBC is currently running a season programmes on everything digital.

We’ve just added BBC4’s Calculating Ada: the Countess of Computing from the season to our collection. Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron’s daughter and her mother ensured Ada learnt about mathematics so as to separate her from her father’s literary legacy. Ada recognised the value of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and tried to raise funds so it could progress. She published the first computer programme and influenced the work of Alan Turing. If you missed the programme you can catch up on BBC iPlayer.

We’ve not recorded all of the programmes for our college but you can find out about other programmes on the BBC Make It Digital page. There you’ll find programmes about women programming, game makers and how algorithms work. Plus there’s a chance to vote on who you think is the biggest digital influencer.

 


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