Paul Rudd Information Professional

expertise gained through experience

eBooks and Digital Media

eBooks and Digital Media (2nd December CILIP HQ)

Reasons for attending

The following are the main reasons for attending this event:

To discover further information on ebooks and other types of digital media
To find out more about their use in the school sector.
The programme:

Baldev Singh, Imagine
How to use technology to improve learning outcomes

Lesley Harrison, Librarian, Bedford School
The practical implications of providing ebooks and ereaders within a library environment

Anne Kail, Credo Reference
Joyce Martin, JCS
The educational value of Credo and JSC online resources

The programme in more detail

Lesley Harrison, Librarian, Bedford School ‘The practical implications of providing ebooks and ereaders within a library environment’

Lesley focused on the concept of the modern librarian and issues surrounding the changes in technology and how they have changed the modern librarians. The presentation began by focusing briefly on the librarian’s role and the key aspects associated with the role, such as the following:

To remove barriers to information
To facilitate learning
Communication tools

Lesley then considered communication and a variety of tools that are recommended for librarians to use, which include the following:

Create a Twitter account
Sign up for email newsletters
Download, or use an RSS reader and subscribe to RSS feeds
Create a Library Facebook account
Digital resources

Lesley then discussed aspects related her own role as a school librarian and what her school library’s aims and objectives were. These essentially were for the school library to be a study and resources centre, which provides access to multimedia resources. Showing how students could gain access to the resources either such as through the LMS and via the VLE.

Lots of details were given about the various resources the school provided and these included the following:

ClickView digital video library
iTunes library (Podcasts, Audiobooks, iTunesU)
ebooks (Bedford school is currently taking part in a ebook trial with Browns BFS)
There was some discussion on ebook formats and ebook readers. The Bedford school has a few Kindle ereaders that students can use and the benefits of the Kindle ereader were discussed together with the practicalities of using these devices as loan items for students. Some of the issues to consider with the purchase and loan of Kindle ereaders include the following:

Only Amazon ebooks can be placed on the device
Ebooks purchased for the Kindle cannot be placed on other non Amazon Kindle devices
When you create an account with Amazon for the Kindle the device retains your credit card details. Therefore, if the device is being loaned to students they could potentially access the online Amazon store and download many more ebooks using the card details that have been entered. One way Lesley suggested to overcome this problem is to use gift vouchers to access and download content so that there is a limit of the total of the gift voucher.
There was also a general overview of some of the limitations of ebooks and they include the following:

Limited titles on offer
Possibility that the supplier/publisher/provider may go out of business and the potential problems with continuing to manage and gain access to digital resources.
Baldev Singh, Imagine ‘How to use technology to improve learning outcomes’

Baldev Singh works for Imagine where he provides information to countries around the world on the use of technology in education and how technology can be used to improve education.

Baldev’s presentation covered a vast range of issues related to education and the use of technology and it also included information on some of the projects that he had been involved in other countries, such as Kenya.

Salmon Khan the Kahn Academy

Baldev highlighted different ways technology can be used and how this could benefit students to learn. One of the types of ways students were improving their learning was through video and an example highlighted by Baldev was Salmon Khan’s Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a not- for-profit organisation with a mission to provide free quality education to anyone anywhere. The method of education used by the Khan Academy is video and the Khan academy site currently has 2,700 education videos available to view for free focusing on mathematics, art history, computer science, chemistry, cosmology and astronomy.

Horizon report

Baldev also highlighted other useful publication that he recommended to check for information about education and one of these was the Horizon report. The Horizon report is an annual publication created and published by EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium. The report looks at the use of technology for education and provides information on new trends and provides information on technologies to watch.

Teaching and learning

Baldev highlighted the fact that the learning environment was changing with the various tools available to use for teaching and learning such as social bookmarking, wikis and the emergence of the hyper connected learner. Baldev also pointed out the scale of usage of Facebook and noted that new web 2.0 ways of engaging with students such as Facebook could not be ignored by teachers.

He also suggested potentially new ways that technology could be used to teaching and learning such as the use of gaming and how the use of gaming could potentially be apply to certain parts of a curriculum for learning.

Anne Kail (Credo Reference)

Anne spoke about Credo Reference and demonstrated its use. Credo reference is easy to use and would appear to be one of the key reference products for any school library and it also boasts many useful features as listed below:

Multi lingual interface (text in English)
10,000 topic pages (additional topic pages can also be created on request)
Extensive coverage from leading publishers
Easy to use interface
Ability to link to the library OPAC
Concept map feature that displays search terms and how they are connected visually
The ability to display images and other safe web content within the interface
Talking dictionaries
Full text access to many popular titles
Joyce Martin JCS

Joyce talked about the changing role of the library in schools. Commenting on how the library has become a gateway to knowledge and learning with access to resources and information becoming more and more a twenty four hour a day realisation. She also mentioned how libraries now offer a blend of learning tools from subject specific to online resources with the increasing need to make resources easy to discover by placing them in online locations where students spend lots of their time.