Augmented Reality – it’s literacy!

While I’m really interested in all sorts of technology possibilities, as a person responsible for a huge library facility and resource centre I passionately believe that the first and most important ‘augmented reality’ option for children and youth are found in books, magazine, graphic novels and more.

Good books. Good literature. Good augmented reality!!  Through books you can experience so many possibilities, so many  passions and emotions, so much history, exciting mystery, and more.

This week has been a big one for us on the ‘augmented reality’ front!

As our visiting speaker Paul MacDonald from The Children’s Bookshop said to our Year 7 students: “A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it”.

Paul challenged the boys for an hour with many exciting ideas, and reasons to get into ‘what’s hot’!  He even got into quiz mode to capture every single boy – the prize?  A Cherub beanie!  You’ve never seen such a sea of hands desperate to answer a question about books and authors!  Heaps of boys charged over to the library after getting out of the dining room at lunch time – and queued to grab or reserve the books that Paul had been enticing them with.

Patrick Ness

We also had a fabulous visit from Patrick Ness, who spoke to Year 9.  Talk about mischievous but exciting! He also sat down for a literary lunch discussion with our Extension English students. Patrick was just fantastic at pitching the literacy message to active adolescents.

Oh, and don’t forget the magic of buying your own signed copy of an author’s book!

For me – the first and best form of augmented reality – guaranteed to impact on every aspect of a students learning future – is reading and more reading.  More important than any other technology tool in the whole world!

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

Those “iBook” options just keep getting better..

litgo.jpg I’m more and more impressed by the options available to provide good reading and literature options in iPod format.

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. You can:

  • Download the files to your Mp3 player and listen on the go,
  • Listen to the Mp3 files on your computer,
  • Download the files directly into iTunes,
  • View the text on a webpage and read along as you listen,
  • Print out the stories and poems to make your own book.

Extensive database provided by Florida’s Educational Clearninghouse – and growing all the time.