What happens when you think outside the box?

THINK Global School is a travelling, international highschool which opened in September 2010.  The current group of 15 students and their teachers  don’t have a physical school building, but move every 90 days to another city somewhere in the world.  They study via the local museums and other cultural organisations in an anyplace, anytime classroom organised around their learning tools – an iPhone, iPad and Macbook ProImagine. Think Global is about doing  schooling in 12 countries in 12 trimesters.   Takes a lot of dollars, but what a great chance for some. Do parents get to go along?

via Edubeacon

Six months later how is this magazine fan going?

Funny how quickly you can adapt to a new way of doing things – when it works!  I’m a magazine collector – I like to read magazines to keep up to date, read quietly over a cup of coffee, or take when out and about. One of my favourite things to do is to grab the latest copy of New Scientist before boarding a plane!

But I’ve never enjoyed the stockpile of back issues, and hated making the decision of when to throw them out. I hated this so much, that I even stopped subscribing to magazines as an escape.

Enter my new iPad – and the installation of my Zinio App.  The Zinio Magazines and Book App can be used to browse all my magazines after I’ve  purchased individual issues or bought a subscription. There is an extensive range of magazines from around the world to to make my subscription choices from.

My Zinio library can be synchronised with any of my computing tools,  so my magazines are then available on all of my fixed and portable devices.  Magazines can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode, and hyperlinks can be used to navigate between pages as well as online content.

My paper magazines were never this flexible!

Zinio is not a totally new multimedia experience. It’s been around for years apparently but does seem to have come ‘into its own’ with the iPad.   Zinio simply aims to duplicate the print magazine reading experience in digital format, with zoom and hyperlinks thrown in. For now, I’m happy with that, because that’s what I enjoy. I’m not looking for embedded video files or interactive games. I’m not that interested in the iPad Magazines: Pros and Cons, so much as just wanting to read my magazines, pay less for them, and have them stored digitally. Happy!

When a new issue of a magazine I have subscribed to is ready for pickup – I receive an email. Love getting my Mac World :-)

I don’t bother with reading Zinio on my computer screen, though I might be tempted if I had a Mac Air. However, an additional handy feature is the way that Zinio adapts to the iPhone interface. While you wouldn’t use an iPhone instead of an iPad all the time, the functionality is excellent.

First see the page, then toggle between page view and mobile view with ease. It handles all menu choices, and is as easy as reading newspapers or blogs maximised for use on small devices.

Zinio on iPhone

One of the pleasures of my iPad was re-discovering magazines. Zinio is still developing, even though its been around for a long time. I am sure they will add additional functionality in time, like  sync between devices for latest page read which is common for other e-readers (but not such an issue for a shorted publication like a magazine) and pages being slow to render the first time the magazine is loaded.  I do like that fact that I can delete magazines from the device  too – something like this is not important now, but will be the longer term. Magazines are also backed up in iTunes. The computer interface allows me to search through my magazines, and print pages I want.

But wait – there is more!  I’m amazed that we aren’t talking more about the potential of this tool for our schools and libraries. Education Today from Canada is already available via Zinio. Our professional associations could jump on board.  Thanks to Tammy for highlighting to me “that  Zinio also allows readers to digitally annotate (ink on a tablet) by highlighting and putting notes on text.  Zinio Labs also has their “Digital Classics” library.  There are versions available in Mac and Windows.  There’s also an iPhone version. McGraw-Hill has some textbooks available using Zinio as well.  Here’s an example of the reader window with annotations”.

Sink your iTeeth into Dracula

Prepare to sink you teeth into the most immersive iPad experience with Bram Stoker’s  Dracula – released in time for Halloween! Phil Bradley explains:

I have to say that it’s absolutely tremendous, and I’m really enjoying it. My one gripe is that it’s abridged, which is annoying. However, once you get over that, the way in which the iPad has been used to emphasis the text is fantastic. I’m reading about Harker’s coach trip, and I hear the sounds of the horses hooves and the wheels going over cobbles. I see that he has a letter, and I can flick the envelope onto the screen, open it, and read the handwritten letter. There’s a description of Renfield and his flies, and you hear them, and see their shadows buzzing over the page. It’s absolutely fascinating.

Fired up by BlueFire Reader

I have so many e-options to help me  do what I like doing a lot – reading for leisure and information. I wish I had more time – you know how it is – so flexibility is pretty important to me. So let me tell you about BlueFire Reader and where it might fit into my readers toolkit!

My Kindle provides me with books for pure pleasure, as well professional reads – which is great, because I love being able to take notes, and be able to search through the book for key topics. Better still, these books synch right across to my iPad, so no excuse – I have the book when I need it.

Now I’ve also decided to subscribe to some of my favourite magazines with Zino. Costs less than a paper subscription – plus I can read the same issue on my iPad or on my computer.  Even better – no magazine back copies strewn around the house.

Today I found out about BlueFire Reader for reading encrypted Adobe ePub DRMs.

I also use Adobe Digital Editions flash-based eBook reader for eBooks from my Uni library – a great way to keep up-to-date with various academic publications as it’s free, flexible, and so easy to use!  eBorrowing and eReturns!  Amazing.

Now here’s another great tool called BlueFire Reader that I have to explore!

We built Bluefire Reader because we value the unique curatorial voice of each bookseller and we wanted to provide book lovers with the freedom to buy books where they choose. Bluefire Reader supports Adobe eBook DRM because it’s become an industry standard across a wide variety of booksellers and public libraries. Adobe DRM allows you to transfer books that you’ve purchased from many different locations between your reading devices and personal computers.

If you have spent years buying PDFs and ePubs, this is the App for you!

Download this app to your iThing and then authorize using your Adobe username and password. The Bluefire App allows you to take notes. Just highlight the section that you want to bookmark and the note section will show up. For a new app, the reader seems pretty sophisticated.It also retains the epub page numbering, which is a boon.

To get your ENCRYPTED epubs on to your iThing, open ITunes and click on the App tab. Scroll to the bottom until you see something like this:App document section

Highlight Bluefire App.

Open your “My Documents” folder or “Documents” (on MAC). There is folder called “My Digital Editions” (created by your Adobe Digital Editions tool).

Digital Editions folder

Open this folder and then drag the books you want from Digital Editions folder onto the App section.
Transfer ebooks

Readers can use the Get Books feature of Bluefire Reader to browse and search for books from a wide variety of online sources as well.

Full post and information at  Dear Author: a blog by Readers for Readers.