Phone a friend in exams

People beyond Australia will be interested to catch the news item “Phone a friend in exams”.

A SYDNEY girls’ school is redefining the concept of cheating by allowing students to “phone a friend” and use the internet and i-Pods during exams. Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Croydon is giving the assessment method a trial run with year 9 English students and plans to expand it to all subjects by the end of the year.

This is part of a pilot study to examine potential change in the ways in which the Higher School Certificate (HSC  is the final pulic examination for all students in New South Wales) might be run.

Read more about it from Chris in The Truth is Out There

Photo: Question Mark

Read, read, read with your mobile phone

I’m way behind in reading my RSS feeds – which makes me very glad that RSS actually exists! Imagine if I still had to save all the magazines, books, journals, and newspapers to read when I had time …. like we did in the old days.

Actually, I have to get smarter about ways to keep up with my reading :-)

Why? because no matter what they say, we are still enjoy reading for relaxation, reading for information, reading for knowledge, reading for…well, lots of things.

I’ve always kept an eye on the various electronic readers that are around, like the Amazon Kindle, but have never actually gotten into reading with those gadgets. I like my books and journals and magazines. But I also like my technology!

One of my favourite pieces of small technology is my mobile phone. You know how it is! Communicate, track events, take pictures, even manage your online connections. I don’t moblog, or sent images or videos online just because that costs ‘big bickies’ here in Australia. I do treat myself to a “tweet” or two (write a post on Twitter), and weather or sport updates. My other favorite piece of small technology is my iPod. This is great for music, podcasts, even videos.

BUT my totally constant companion is my mobile phone. Don’t always have my iPod handy. So thanks to a post at aRKive, I’ve discovered a cool new application for my mobile from BooksInMyPhone.

Now I can have Classic books to read on my mobile phone. Convenient (sort of), with hundreds of titles to choose from. Now I can an ebook with me all the time!!

Granted my mobile screen is tiny – but I can increase the font size to make it more readable. The thing is (like all technology improvements) the screens on our phones are getting bigger as on the iPhone. I’m happy with my newly acquired ebooks – so many times I have been caught out with time to kill and wished I had something to read. Now I have! My mobile now has some Twain, Checkov, Elliot, Tolstoy and Shakespeare on hand – just for fun!

Whither literacy?

Studying classic books at school? Well, perhaps we should get students to grab a copy to their mobile – maybe the different medium will appeal to them.

Somehow this fits with the success of books being published to mobile phones – a trend so popular in Japan.

….. it is Rin’s rather less challenging Moshimo Kimiga (If You …), a 142-page hardback book about a high-school romance, that has caused the bigger fuss.

“I typed it all on my mobile phone,” Rin explains matter-of-factly over the same device. “I started writing novels on my mobile when I was in junior high school and I got really quick with my thumbs, so after a while it didn’t take so long. I never planned to be a novelist, if that’s what you’d call me, so I’m still quite shocked at how successful it’s turned out.”

So successful that one volume of her book, which began its life in a series of instalments uploaded to an internet site and sent out to the phones of thousands of young subscribers, has sold more than 420,000 copies since it was converted into hardcopy format in January.

In just a few years, mobile phone novels – or keitai shousetsu – have become a publishing phenomenon in Japan, turning middle-of-the-road publishing houses into major concerns and making their authors a small fortune in the process.

Image: Recycling small book, great story