So, I buy books and eBooks. It’s not a massive revelation, but if all you read is websites like Mashable or The Verge it might seem unusual to do both.
What I see discussed about the difference between physical books and eBooks is about where we choose to read them. Plenty is written about where we read each type (and why) or how you buy or read them … but for me it’s also about why I buy and read them on the different formats.
I’ll own up to to it now and say that, yes, I do use a large online retailer for the majority of my books … I don’t have much spare money for this activity and I need to be careful about how much and how often I spend my money.
I am quite particular about the way I buy my books. I tend to buy fiction books to read on either my Kindle or using the Kindle App on my iPad. The Kindle is so much more flexible in its ease for carrying and holding than both the physical copy and iPad Kindle App (although I may have the iPad on me more often than the Kindle). I have all my Kindle books on my Kindle (I’ve still a long way to go before I start to find the limit on space), so it’s easy to choose my next book.
“What we know today will get us to tomorrow, but we’ll have to learn more again tomorrow to keep ahead … welcome to the Social Age, where change is constant and we live in constant beta.”
I’ve never thought about learning like this before, other than I know I get bored quickly so find new things to keep me engaged and entertained. But, with the constant bombardment of new technologies, new networks, new applications to old techniques, etc. we are indeed in ‘constant beta’.
And I mean ‘we’ in the context of learning professionals (which I’m exploring with my next book project: follow here for news -#EdTechBook) that we need to not only keep up with developments but somehow keep ahead of them. I know this is near impossible, but we can at least be proactive in how we approach the changes, reflect on our own experiences, and make suggestions and engage with each other (and the students). From this will come better understanding and a clearer picture of what could be used, how, where, why, and (importantly) by whom. Continue reading
It’s been a while since my last book review, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been keeping up to date with my reading list – if anything the list is getting longer (and the days shorter).
My latest addition to the list is from Brian Chen – “Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future – and Locked Us In“.
It is clear to see all around us just what impact smartphones have had on society and, in my area of interest, learning. It has enabled truly mobile learning to take place – in the sense of mobile materials as well as mobile individuals – as well as interactions when we, the learner, wants it, not just when the course director wants it. Apple has taken something, developed it, marketed it, and let it loose on the world. You could argue about Apple and Steve Jobs’ intent and whether they knew what they had when it was first released, but it is the inclusion of the App Store and the developments the global community made that have helped steer and mould the direction the iPhone and subsequent smartphones took. Continue reading
A couple of months ago I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments I should have had 25+ years ago at school. I have never been good at taking notes. Never.
At school I was always behind and struggling because I couldn’t keep up with my teachers and their dictated notes. I wasn’t alone with this, but it was still hard. At University it was the same, but it felt worse because everyone else wrote and kept amazing notes from lectures, demonstrations, field-trips, etc. I survived and gained my degree because I had generous friends who helped me when I needed it.
Now, with nearly 18+ years since graduation I’ve finally realised why I am still making rubbish notes in meetings, conferences, etc. (apart from the obvious reason that I suck at it). It’s the wrong medium for me. It’s not that my handwriting is so awful I can’t read it (which, unfortunately, it is) it’s that I don’t respond to those kinds of notes. Therefore I shouldn’t be trying to take notes like that.
I should be sketching, or rather taking ‘sketchnotes’. Continue reading
Late last year (2013) I started reading the latest offering from Rob Hubbard, “The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual”. A collection of chapters from leading and respected authors and educators this book offers the reader a “broad base of knowledge and the tools you need to navigate the eLearning terrain.”
The book is structured with well-defined chapters written by respected educators who lead their field, covering aspects of eLearning for synchronous and asynchronous delivery, internal- and externally-provided learning opportunities, and the differing platform and approaches to online / eLearning, including:
- Jane Hart – informal and social learning
- Charles Jennings – learning management
- Ben Betts – games-based learning
- Clive Shepherd – what is eLearning?
- Julie Wedgwood – blended learning
- Colin Steed – facilitating live online learning
- Jane Bozarth – in-house, off-the-shelf, or outsourced eLearning?
- Clark Quinn – mobile learning Continue reading
“Instant Prezi for Education How-to” is written by Domi Sinclair (@Lilly_Stardust to you and me) and build on her experience and background as a Learning Technologist at University College London.
Designed as a short ‘instant’ book (I read the MOBI formatted file for Kindle, using the Kindle App) it is well structured and covers the basic details of Prezi for anyone new to the tool, and is sufficiently detailed for experienced Prezi users to find something new and useful too.
“This book is for people in education who are bored of delivering the same old presentations to their students (or perhaps it is the students who are bored!). This is for people who would like to increase student engagement by using more dynamic tools. This is for people who have not used Prezi before and may not be technically minded, but are willing to learn and utilise this online presentation aid.” Continue reading
This is the first book on MOOCs I’ve been inclined to read, purely because Igne Ignatia de Waard (@Ignatia) is someone I respect through our shared interest and conversations on Twitter – “MOOC YourSelf – Set up your own MOOC for Business, Non-Profits, and Informal Communities”.
Self-published through the Amazon Direct Publishing process Ignatia looks at the different options/formats for MOOCs and fits them in to best online learning practices and offers design and learning options. In the book she also looks at the pedagogy surrounding MOOCs and the options currently available for the often-criticised certification routes.
“The challenges and benefits of MOOCs are highlighted and guidelines on how to build an optimal MOOC experience are shared. Online learning best practices’ are listed with a focus on MOOC specific learning characteristics, certification options and pedagogies.”
The background and history to the current MOOC hype(first section of the book) is not for me, but it is worth reading as the basis for the cMOOC and xMOOC approach are explained well and are vital if you are to get the most out of the rest of the book. Continue reading
You may think this a strange choice for a Learning Technologist to review – “Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web” by Euan Semple – but I’m reading this more out of my interest in Social Media and how we use it in our everyday (personal and professional) lives, rather than my interest in management styles or business process. That is to say, however, that these don’t interest my as well, it’s just my main focus is in our use and abuse of social media, whether it’s deliberate or accidental (or just plain ignorance).
I can’t remember now how I came to hear about this book now; it could have been the Amazon digest email recommending it based on other books I’ve bought or browsed, or it could have been someone on Twitter, but the blurb resonated with me on a level of my own use of social media. The book aims to provide:
“managers in all sorts of organizations, from governments to multinationals, with practical advice, insight and inspiration on how the Web and social tools can help them to do their jobs better … this uniquely people-centric guide to social media in the workplace offers managers, at all levels, valuable insights into the networked world as it applies to their challenges as managers, and it outlines practical things they can do to make social media integral to the tone and tenor of their departments or organizational cultures.”
In the book you can easily change the business-orientated wording and terminology to an academic and/or student orientation and the book is still relevant and informative: just how do we use social media, how can a single employee or students ‘like’ or tweet impact the organisation, school, or institution? Continue reading
With the eBook edition of this book set at £0.00 I couldn’t resist seeing what the fuss is about – this book has received good and bad reviews. But, more importantly, it’s made people question our interest and reliance on online tools and websites and networks and activities.
Even though I’m only a few chapters in to the book already I’m realising my over-reliance and over-bearing interest in putting my work and family life online (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) is not necessary. For the most part it’s intrusive and getting in the way (especially photo-editing family pictures to post to Facebook – yes, it’s sharing for those who can’t be present, but it still gets in the way of the actual event).
“Rather than virtual or second life, social media is actually becoming life itself – the central and increasingly transparent stage of human existence, what Silicon Valley venture capitalists are now calling an ‘Internet of People’.”
“What I glimpsed in that late November afternoon in Bloomsbury was the anti-social future, the loneliness of the isolated man in the connected crowd.”
“Personal visibility, I recognised, is the new symbol of status and power in our digital age. Like the corpse locked in his transparent tomb [Jeremy Bentham], we are now all on permanent exhibition, all just images of ourselves in this brave new transparent world.”
I’m a Learning Technologist. Regular readers will know I have an interest in using, and understanding how we can use, Social Media and Social Networks with students and learning. It’s not just about helping students understand their ‘digital footprint’, or improving their digital literacy, or how their actions online can affect their employability. It is also about using the different tools and techniques for learning and Social Media and Social Networks are a valuable source of learning materials from many different cultures and backgrounds.
Which is why this book is of interest to me – ‘Using Social Media in the Classroom‘ by Megan Poore. Billed as a book that provides “an overview of different types of digital technologies” it is more important to me and how I work that it also covers more contextual and “constructive guidance on how to safely and intelligently use them as tools for learning”. All good stuff I hope you’ll agree.
This quote from Megan is key to the understanding of the benefits for communication, collaboration, participation and socialisation of, and in, education:
“One of the most exciting features of social media for education is precisely their socialness. They allow us to break out of the paradigm of the monolithic learner into the more intricate and complex world of constructivist, active, and situated pedagogies.” (p. 8)