Student views on e-books

A lot of schools and libraries have purchased e-books (and e-book readers) or are in the process of purchasing them. Everyone assumes that the students will like them/prefer them but until now very few seem to have been asked for their opinions. We now have more student’s experiencing e-books so I am interested in finding out what it is they like and what they may not like or would like to see improved. I was pleased to find these videos made as part of Net Gen Ed Project ( A Flat Classroom Project). 

  • E-Books: Innovation In Education was one student’s view of e-books. She looked at a few of the benefits of e-books as opposed to the traditional text books.
  • Another one was titled “E-books This or That? “. The student said this about her video ” This is my video comparing the good effects of the e-book to some of the negative ways of learning we use now.”
  • Simply entitled “Ebooks”  yet another student gave a her video summary of e-book use and touched on the ability to collaborate with some e-books.

 It is clear that these students see a number of advantages in using ebooks. I also liked the project they were involved in and using many technology tools to create and reflect on their projects as well as to give and receive comments from others


Future libraries

What will libraries be like in the future?

I stumbled upon the  The Mosman Library of the future blog yesterday. It is a “collaborative blog by Mosman Library users, staff, residents & visitors”. The theme for may was about the future of libraries. On this site they have gathered a lot of ideas/visions about where libraries are headed. They have some great quotes, links and  I particularly liked the videos below.

The first video (2nd May) records interviews with some of the younger users of the library. The questions were: Will we have books? Will we have a library?

A second video with older users answering the same questions:

Have a look and try to answer the same questions? What do you think about the future of libraries? Will they be run by robots?

Useful sites (weekly)

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

More on E-books – 10 options

Today I have been looking at more e-books. The sites I looked at were mostly offering text downloads and many offered free options. This is not a complete or definitive list but they are the ones I like, were easy to access and I especially liked those that could add something extra eg annotating and commentating and some offer more for a reading group discussion/study. Our students all have laptop computers and I would confidently say they also all have a smaller mobile device – most often in the form of  iPods or iPhones. I am not saying they all like to read off their devices but it is becoming a much more common occurrence. There are also  those who are not great readers of hard copy books who do prefer the electronic format. I have recently been given a kindle to use and it is really very easy to read from and a convenient size for carrying around. There is so much becoming available and our school library must look at how best we can connect our students to reading and literature. E-books are one answer.

The Book Glutton video: This video offers a short overview about how BookGlutton works: how to find and read books, how to use the community features and how to set up your own profile. It was updated for 2010

  • BookGlutton Read books online then annotate and/or discuss them with others. You can sign up for an account and make some decisions about what you’d like to read and who you’d like to read it with. You can either choose a book from our public domain collection, or choose a group that’s reading something you like. Then you just jump into the reader.
  • DailyLit This is a free service that brings books (also free) (particularly classic books in the public domain) as excerpts, into your inbox in convenient small messages that can take less than 5 minutes to read. This is not just an option for your computer, it also works perfectly well on whatever PDA you may have. Sometimes there’s a small charge for the e-book (usually a modern book) but there are plenty in the free category.
  • Google Books Google are working on an agreement that will offer access to 3 categories of books. 1. Out-of-copyright books: This agreement doesn’t affect how out-of-copyright book are offered. Book Search users can read, download and print these titles. 2. In-copyright but out-of-print books Out-of-print books aren’t actively being published or sold so it can be hard to find copies held in a library or used bookstore. When this agreement is approved, every out-of-print book that they digitize will become available online for preview and purchase, unless its author or publisher chooses to “turn off” that title. 3. In-copyright and in-print books: In-print books that publishers are still actively selling. This agreement expands the online marketplace for in-print books by letting authors and publishers turn on the “preview” and “purchase” models that make their titles more easily available through Book Search.
  • International Children’s Digital Library The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community. The simplest way to use the ICDL is to just read a book. Pick one of the featured books from the home page or search for books using one of the search mechanisms. The reader can then read – for free and anonymously. You can also create an account to keep a bookshelf of books you like and set various personal preferences.
  • Internet Archive Text Archive Download free books and texts. The Internet Archive Text Archive contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children’s books, historical texts and academic books. This collection is open to the community for the contribution of any type of text, many licensed using Creative Commons licenses.
  • Planet eBook Classic literature in PDF format.. Free eBooks to download
  • Project Gutenberg Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, the founder of P/G, invented eBooks in 1971 and continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.
  • Project Gutenberg Australia   This site produces books in electronic form and makes them freely available to the public in accordance with Australian copyright law, usually in plain text. Hosts a number of specialised Australian collections, including a Library of Australiana, Australia’s Greatest Books., Australian Explorers & Australian History.
  • Read Easily Uses Project Gutenberg and is aimed at the visually impaired, this web site allows you to change the fonts and colours to make the books more legible.
  • World Public Library Use the eBook Finder to find the PDF eBook you are looking for and download free books and texts. The World Public Library Association Collection shelves more than 750,000 PDF eBooks in more than 100 languages. The mission of the World Public Library’s Acquisition Department is to add new eBooks 24/7 to the shelves. The Internet Archive Text Archive contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children’s books, historical texts and academic books. This collection is open to the community for the contribution of any type of text, many licensed using Creative Commons licenses.

 World Public Library video

Audio book options

Uploaded from Flickr by Colleen AF Venable

Audio books are becoming more important/useful in many ways. It does not have to be sight-impaired students that benefit from audio books. We have students who have trouble with reading for a variety of reasons but who are perfectly capable of understanding and assimilating the spoken word. Many students enjoy listening to a book being read or there are those who have long journeys to get to school or who have training runs. Many use their portable device (be it iPod or others) already to break up the boredom so why not still listen to a podcast of a book reading.  It is a way of using otherwise “down-time” as reading time.

There was an interesting article in the Age Greenguide last Thursday about Bolinda Audio Books. Entitled “Telling stories to the world” the history of this company was outlined in terms of their development into a thriving audiobook company.

I remember buying a number of the Large Print titles for a vision impaired student from the earlier version of the company. In some respects it does not seem all that long ago but I must admit that I have become a much bigger fan as they have developed the audio book business, especially when I drive out into the country areas and I am faced with 3-6 hour drives.

Bolinda has become a large audio book publisher with a great  line up of authors and titles, especially Australian, and they are also beginning to offer simultaneous releases of audio books. This has been a boon to me as I want to “read” the new titles as I introduce them into our library. I am always trying to keep on top of the current literature and this is a great way for me to “read” a number of titles. I have also tried a few audiobooks for my iPod and it is very easy it is to download/use their MP3CD’s.

I have yet to investigate Bolinda digital which is a fairly recently decided to offer an option that will enable libraries to offer eAudiobooks to its library customers from its Library’s website. This will enable users to download time-limited version of the novel. How and if I can make use of this in a school library is yet to be seen, but I am interested.

There are also options for free books as well. If a teacher decides to study a book that is in the public domain, they can access the text from the site. ManyBooks has public domain books already formatted for various handheld devices.

Another advantage is that if you download a book for an iPod, for instance, Manybooks can provide it in iPod notes format. The text is divided into various files and each file is linked to the file that comes before it and the file that follows it. This is done because there is a limit to the number of characters allowed in one iPod notes file but no limit to the number of “notes” files than can be uploaded to an iPod. The user can then  access the text and audio of a book at the same time from the same device whenever they want to. I do not like reading from small screens but the iPad will change this.

Mp3 files can be downloaded and uploaded to handheld devices just like music is uploaded. If we want free books another option is LibriVox. This site hosts free public domain audiobooks that are read by volunteers. The quality of voice varies but it is still a good option.

From Fiction Focus there comes another audio option – in the form of podcasts. Entitled “Listen Up”, this sounds like an interesting idea and I plan to check it out tonight.

Audiobook Community is a US-based ning. The largest of its groups (104 members) is called Sync: YA Listening. During the months of July and August, the group is offering two free audio downloads each week to support the summer reading programs held by many school and public libraries in the US. Administrator Kirsten Cappy is still fine tuning the list, but here’s a glimpse. She is playing with pairing modern and classic books.

We are fortunate to have many options to enable us to give our students a gateways into literature. The above options only scratch the surface.