Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘ebooks

Welcome to the Introduction to Science students who join us today for 5 weeks.

We will meet with your group this week to show you the many resources held by the Learning Resources Centre (LRC), how to use the library catalogue and give you membership cards.

Next week, we will demonstrate how you can benefit from the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where you can access a number of eresources and ebooks to help with your studies.

If you would like to recommend useful apps or websites we are always happy to hear from you and if you require help accessing extra materials for chemistry, physics or biology, pop into the LRC and talk to one of the team.

Body model

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?

 

 

book-v-tabletIt is interesting in education (including at Hillcroft), how we push our students to read more materials online. Essentially, this is for three reasons. The first is preparing our students for university life where they will encounter even more electronic resources, the second is building up digital skills for university/working life, the third is using material 24/7 on and offsite and the fourth is sustainability (saving paper).

A short article in last week’s New Scientist by Emma Young intrigued us as although it was essentially about finding better ways to read in the digital age, it also provided some of the latest thinking about on-screen versus print reading. We’ve used the word ‘thinking’ as there is a lack of meaningful data on how and why people read on screens. The article quotes from two experts in the field of linguistics – Anne Mangen from the Reading Centre at the University of Stavanger, Norway and Naomi Baron at the Department of Language and Foreign Studies at the American University in Washington, D.C.

The keys points they were making (based on U.S. data) are:

  • The reading of print books is declining with a corresponding rise in ebooks although ebook sales are slowing possibly due to cost.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests people find it harder to read PDFs as it is more difficult to navigate compared to print text. Contextual markers are missing on electronic pages so if a reader wanted to go back to pick up on something requiring clarification, finding it three-quarters of the way down the page is tricky.
  • It is probably better to read complex material in print.
  • Progress on a tablet (for fiction) is not the same as tactile progress through a paperback.
  • When using ‘find’ on an electronic device, the results are too specific so the reader does not benefit from the broader text.
  • There are good points with electronic devices particularly the ability to change and enlarge the font.

Quick Reads on DawsoneraLast week we added some Quick Reads onto our Dawsonera ebook platform. We love Quick Reads as not only do they suit our students from entry level 3 but we also find them a relaxing easy read as well. Plus we promote them as part of the Reading Ahead scheme we run annually at our college to boost reading and literacy.

Up until now Quick Reads have only been available to us as Kindle editions. Take for instance Lucy Diamond’s A Baby at the Beach Cafe which we gave away at our World Book Night 2016 event. The snag with that for our learners is we currently only let our learners use the Kindles in the classroom. So if they want to read an ebook at home they then need to turn to our ebrary or Dawsonera ebook platform platforms. These platforms mainly offer academic text books which don’t suit our learners doing entry level 3 – level 1 courses.

Now that we can start offering Quick Reads as ebooks this will benefit students on our literacy, dyslexia and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses who can access these on or offsite on laptops or PCs or even download them to smartphones and tablets. Because we have Single Sign On (SSO) students can get straight to the ebook either through logging onto the network and either going through the catalogue record or the VLE Eresources Dawsonera link.

The three we’ve bought this week are:

We Won the Lottery by Danny Buckland

Black-eyed Devils by Catrin Collier

Trouble on the Heath by  Terry Jones.

If you are not a Hillcroft student you will find Quick Reads to borrow in most UK public libraries.

 

 

Brain food journals‘In search of the optimal brain diet’ an article in Scientific American Mind this month, lists healthy brain diets as those coming from the Mediterranean, Okinawa and Scandinavia. This is likely to be due to the frequency of fish and lack of sugar in these diets. Oily fish (like salmon and tuna) contain omega-3 fatty acids that aid neurological and mental health. The best of these fatty acids is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) because it improves nerve to nerve communication and helps the functioning of brain cell membranes.

Besides the importance of fatty acids, increasingly scientists believe there is a link between the trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms (known as microbiota) that live on and in the human body with our health and wellbeing. The greatest concentrations of microbiota are found in the gastrointestinal tract where food is digested and absorbed. This is explored in detail in ‘Human microbiota’ in the current edition of Biological Sciences Review.

For students wishing to find out more, look up some of our nutrition resources.

 Ebooks include:

Gibney, M. (2009) Introduction to Human Nutrition https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9781444322965

Geissler, C.  & Powers, H. (2009) Fundamentals of Human Nutrition https://www.dawsonera.com/readonline/9780702049903

On the general shelves are:

Barasi, M. (2003) Human nutrition: a health perspective http://bit.ly/1Pz3e73

Barasi, M. (2007) Nutrition at a glance http://bit.ly/1PMbVZD;

Bender, D. (2014) Nutrition: a very short introduction http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=bender%20 ;

Holford, P. (2008) Optimum nutrition made easy http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=holford%20

Perlmutter, D. & Loberg, K. (2015) Brain Maker: the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain. http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=perlmutter%20 

and on the reference shelves are:

Dictionary of Food Science and Nutrition (2006) http://bit.ly/1ofQnxp

Hark, L. (2007) Nutrition for life http://heritage.hillcroft.ac.uk/HeritageScripts/Hapi.dll/search2?searchTerm0=hark%20 .

 

The Periodic table is the way chemical elements are organised and it is controlled by the InternationPeriodic table imageal Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry whose work it is to standardise naming in this area of chemistry. Earlier this month, the Guardian reported the discovery of four new elements from scientists in Russia, U.S. and Japan in ‘Periodic table’s seventh row finally filled as four new elements are added‘. These are the first new elements since 2011. They belong in the seventh row of the table (super-heavy radioactive elements) and are the elements 113; 115; 117 and 118. They currently have temporary names which will be confirmed shortly.

Scientists are entitled to take five years with their demanding discoveries but let’s hope it doesn’t take book/ebook publishers as long to update this information which is essential for all science students!

Psychology for Dummies on DawsoneraThis week we’ve added two ebooks in the Dummies series to our collection. They are:

Sociology for Dummies by Nasar Meer and Jay Gabler

Psychology for Dummies by Adam Cash

Our students requested these two. The Dummies series are a fantastic way of getting to understand a subject which is completely new to you. The books are great as they all come with lots of call-out boxes and diagrams to break up the text and give you tips and reminders.

We’ve got a number of ebooks and books from the series.  Other handy ones in the study skills area are:

Time Management for Dummies by Clare Evans

Writing Essays for Dummies by Mary Page and Carrie Winstanley

Speed Reading for Dummies by Richard Sutz and Peter Weverka

Using a Screen Reader on DawsoneraIt’s 20 years since the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 which gave those with disabilities citizenship rights. The act improved access at work and in society at large. Employers and public buildings like libraries made adjustments to their buildings, resources and equipment and services. These rights are now enshrined in the Equality Act 2010. There’s an exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester marking how these rights have been won up to 19 November.

Over the past two months we have been showing students how to use Read&Write 10 to read ebooks available on Dawsonera. We always recommend you use a free screen reader like Natural Reader when you are away from college. Using either of these helps you set the font colour, choose a background colour and get the reader to read the ebook out loud to you once you’ve downloaded the ebook. Otherwise you can use the toolbar to get it to read out loud as you view it online. There’s now a downloadable app for NaturalReader on the App Store and Google Play.

Our ebrary ebooks also give you the opportunity to use coloured highlighter pens on the ebooks when you read them online. You can download these in the same way.

This week we have had the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of ebooks to the classes. Here are a few notes to refresh your memory or if you missed the class.

You can access ebooks inside and outside the college through the VLE: learn.hillcroft.ac.uk. Log in then enrol on the LRC eresources page and go to the Eresources book. We have two ebook providers with different sets of ebooks: Dawsonera and ebrary. Follow the links on the page to their websites. You can do this on any electronic device with a internet browser (tablet, smartphone, Kindle Fire). If you are outside college then it will prompt you to log in via ‘Shibboleth’ and then find the college in the list and type in your Hillcroft email and password.

What can I do on Dawsonera?

Download in full (pdf) – most will allow you to do this for a loan period (1-7 days).

Copy or print text/pages – Be selective! You can print between 5-20% of an ebook or copy quotations to paste directly into your assignment.

Add notes to pages online – You can export notes and print them all out with the relevant page numbers automatically added.

What can I do on ebrary?

Download chapters or in full (pdf) for a loan period – with printing and copying enabled.

Copy or print text/pages (with citations).

Highlight, add notes and bookmark (together called ‘Annotations’) online. Saves them for you on ‘Bookshelf’ when you log back in to Ebrary.

Extra benefits!

You only need Adobe Reader (free) as an app to read the downloaded ebook offline. In college you can use Read&Write Gold for its text-to-speech feature. The free app version is called ‘Natural Reader‘ if you want to use the read aloud feature on your own phones and computers.

We will be putting together a detailed guide for you in the near future.

Also the good news is that we will be able to change it so that no purple padlocks will be seen on the Dawsonera site, so you will be able to access and browse our content better.

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