Tag Archives: Kindle

The Sketchnote Handbook

I don’t write anymore, I sketch #sketchnote

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

The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here! #eddies13

Nomination(s) for the 2013 Edublog Awards #eddies13

Nominations Open! The 10th Annual Edublog Awards Are Here!If it’s November, then it’s time for the annual EduBlog Awards. And this year it’s their 10th anniversary.

So, who or what has made a mark in 2013? Here’re my thoughts, why not write your own post and make your own nomination?

Follow the nominations and awards on Twitter #eddies13 hashtag and make your own nominations count.

Amazon Kindle MatchBook

Amazon MatchBook: Paper and Kindle editions on their way

If, like me, you like to watch your films or listen to music on more than one device (in more than one location) then you’ll have had to copy/digitise/rip it, which is not always legal.

But it can be done. For your CDs you need to just put them in your computer and iTunes or other music library software will offer to rip it for you. Connect your digital audio device and copy the file across and you can listen to your CD in the car, gym, bus, or at work or walking the dog. It’s slightly more difficult for your DVDs but there is software that can rip it into an MP4/M4V or MOV or WMV file which will play on your laptop, tablet, etc. and you can watch on the train, bus, plane, or in the shed or bath (wherever you want).

But what about your extensive library of books you’ve been collecting. If, like me, you also want to be able to read these electronically then it’s a lot tougher to digitise. So why can’t you get the electronic copy at the same time as the physical one? You can do this with your DVDs and with some CDs now (some DVDs come with the Ultraviolet digital copy), so why not books? Continue reading

eBooks Could Be The Future Of Social Media

eBooks could be the future of Social Media

eBooks Could Be The Future Of Social Media

“In the future, e-books will act just like social networks. We’ll use them on our phones, share and comment right inside e-reader apps, and publishers will use our data to help them make better marketing decisions. If you think digital reading is exploding now, just wait.”

So says Michael Grothaus in his article for the FastCompany website: “E-Books Could Be The Future Of Social Media”.

“In the future, e-books are going to explode beyond just containing stories, becoming niche social networks where we discuss our favorite passages with other readers and even authors and publishers buy our data to make more informed decisions. So hold on tight, book lovers. Reading as we know it will soon change, forever.”  Continue reading

Instant Prezi for Education How-to

Book Review: “Prezi for Education How-to”

Instant Prezi for Education How-toInstant 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

The future of books

Textbooks: paper or digital?

The future of books

The question as to when (or if) paper textbooks will be replaced with digital editions keeps cropping up, and I was asked this again on twitter today by @SteljesEdn: “Are textbooks coming to the end of their life? what do you think”: read the discussion we had on the link.

So, will they? I don’t think so, not any time soon at any rate. The digital editions of textbooks currently available are little more than a PDF of the printed version, and for publishers that literally provide a PDF and call it an eBook .. shame on you! An eBook doesn’t have pages as the text is defined by the eReader device or software and can be altered by the individual: you cannot change a PDF text size except by zooming in/out.

In order for digital textbooks to really surpass the paper editions they need to offer more, and by more I mean embrace the technology and have embedded video, links, question & answers, and even link (in real-time?) readers from all over the world.  Continue reading

Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social Web

Book Review: “Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do”

Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social WebYou 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

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur--How to Publish a Book

Book Review: “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book”

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur--How to Publish a Book

“APE is 300 pages of step-by-step, tactical advice and practical inspiration. If you want a hype-filled, get-rich-quick book, you should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a comprehensive and realistic guide to self-publishing, APE is the answer.” Amazon UK

Anyone interested in writing a book (fiction or non-fiction) needs to take note of what Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch have to say in this excellent new book: “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book”. If nothing else, learn from their experiences.

Why am I reviewing a book about self-publishing? Well, publishing your own text is a phenomenon that I think, within academic circles, will grow as the process becomes easier and more people understand the ease and the benefits – and I don’t just mean the financial benefits either. This book from Guy and Shawn is just such a good place to start!

Whether you’re thinking of writing your own course text, writing an in-depth technical guide based on experience/training/teaching, or writing that novel that’s been on your mind for years, now is the time to seriously think about it.

The eBook, for that is what I have,  is 300+ pages of advice, information, details, anecdotal evidence, stories, links, quotes, tables, facts & figures, and entrepreneurial  ’genius’ … all asking you the same question(s): are you ready to self-publish, do you have what it takes, and do you know your market? Re-read the title and you’ll understand this … “Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur”. You need to be all three if you are to make a reasonable attempt and (hopefully) success of your book idea.

Continue reading

Kindle Touch

A week with the Kindle Touch

Kindle TouchI’ve been using the Kindle App on my phone and pad for almost a year now and really enjoy the freedom it gives me to just pick up the story/eBook where I left off, even if it wasn’t on that device. So, with the opportunity to test out a Kindle Touch for a week at work I thought ‘yup’ and bagged it quickly before anyone else.

First impressions are mixed:

  • Connection to Eduroam wifi at work was quick and easy, as was wifi at home.
  • Registering the Kindle with Amazon was also quick and easy.
  • I could browse the list of archived books, but not initially download them.
  • I could browse the Kindle store and buy books, but not download them.
  • It was only after three tries at de-registering and re-registering the Kindle did access to my archive and bought books work and I could start reading.
  • The screen is good, especially in bright sunlight, and in direct comparison with reading on the iPad/iPhone.
  • Much easier to hold than the iPad, although it’s harder to balance on your lap because it’s slightly smaller.

What else did I find? Well:

  • Get a case for it. I don’t know how durable the screen is but you’ll need a case/cover for it if you want to keep it working.
  • Touch screen is good but not as good as the ones I’m used to. I also found myself touching the screen more forcefully to make sure it registers the touch, where in fact it is probably more sensitive than other touch screen.
  • Buying eBooks from the Kindle store is too easy, keep a check on purchasing and your account.
  • Email-to-Kindle service is really good to send yourself documents to read, it’s just a pity the screen isn’t up to colour and/or better resolution. Have patience though as the documents do take a while to be prepared and sent by Amazon.
  • Don’t accept the default font size, try a few out and choose the right one for your reading style.
  • Try the landscape mode – it’s easier to read some things this way instead of portrait.
  • Battery performance is good. If you’re not bothered about updating reading process then turn off wifi to make it last even longer.
  • Amazon should have kept the side buttons for forwards/backwards page turning, it is not always easy to touch the screen to progress the pages, depending on how you’re sitting and holding the Kindle.
  • Using the Kindle to read documents is OK, but not ideal. I haven’t explored the annotation/notes ability but I have heard it is good (but not great).
  • I have not explored the X-Ray feature yet either, but this should be good for teachers to use as it enables a page or chapter review for characters, phrases, locations, etc.

Here’s a selection of images from my time with the Kindle:

Here’s a handy hint … if you want to capture the screen, like I did above, then hold down the Home button for about 3 seconds then touch the screen just once. You won’t see anything happen but, next time you connect the Kindle Touch to your PC via a USB cable the 600×800 GIF will be available in the root directory when you browse the device! Nice!

Other reviews of note you ought to be aware of:

I’m still waiting for the Kindle Fire to find it’s way to the UK – I think this could be a game changer for eBooks and interactive reading experiences, as much or more so than iBooks … but perhaps it’s more wishful thinking than anything else.