Posted on Category:News

Why Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books

A Ten year old Digital books is more fragile and threatened compared to a 100 year old Physical book.

For those of us tending libraries of digitized and born-digital books, we know that they need constant maintenance—reprocessing, reformatting, re-invigorating or they will not be readable or read. Fortunately this is what libraries do (if they are not sued to stop it). Publishers try to introduce new ideas into the public sphere. Libraries acquire these and keep them alive for generations to come.

And, to serve users with print disabilities, we have to keep up with the ever-improving tools they use.

Mega-publishers are saying electronic books do not wear out, but this is not true at all. The Internet Archive processes and reprocesses the books it has digitized as new optical character recognition technologies come around, as new text understanding technologies open new analysis, as formats change from djvu to daisy to epub1 to epub2 to epub3 to pdf-a and on and on. This takes thousands of computer-months and programmer-years to do this work. This is what libraries have signed up for—our long-term custodial roles.

Also, the digital media they reside on changes, too—from Digital Linear Tape to PATA hard drives to SATA hard drives to SSDs. If we do not actively tend our digital books they become unreadable very quickly.

Then there is cataloging and metadata. If we do not keep up with the ever-changing expectations of digital learners, then our books will not be found. This is ongoing and expensive.

Our paper books have lasted hundreds of years on our shelves and are still readable. Without active maintenance, we will be lucky if our digital books last a decade.

Also, how we use books and periodicals, in the decades after they are published, change from how they were originally intended. We are seeing researchers use books and periodicals in machine learning investigations to find trends that were never easy in a one-by-one world, or in the silos of the publisher databases. Preparing these books for this type of analysis is time consuming and now threatened by publisher’s lawsuits.

If we want future access to our digital heritage we need to make some structural changes:  changes to institution and publisher behaviors as well as supportive funding, laws, and enforcement.

The first step is to recognize preservation and access to our digital heritage is a big job and one worth doing.  Then, find ways that institutions– educational, government, non-profit, and philanthropic– could make preservation a part of our daily responsibility.

Posted on Category:News

ISRO offers FREE Online Course for School students

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) offers a free online course for school students above Class 8. Students who are interested in learning about remote sensing and geoinformation science, and have a basic understanding of science and mathematics, can apply for the course.

Things to know:

  • The course is offered as part of the Antriksh Jigyasa (space curiosity) initiative of ISRO.
  • The basics of remote sensing technology, as prescribed by the NCERT syllabus, will be taught to the students.
  • Classes will be conducted by scientists and professors from various centres of ISRO.
  • The course will be engaging with the use of simple language, images and animations.
  • It will cover topics like stages in remote sensing, electromagnetic radiation (EMR), geostationary and sun-synchronous satellites, types of remote sensors, and multispectral scanners.
  • The aim of the course is to make secondary and higher secondary students aware of remote sensing technology and its use for the study of planet Earth and its environment through informative lectures.

How to apply:

  • Register on the official website.
  • Upload necessary details including information about the school.
  • Take approval from the school administration.
  • Details about starting date and syllabus will be notified via email.

In case of queries, write to websupport@iirs.gov.in.

Posted on Category:News

UK curriculum schools remain Top Choice for Dubai students

For Dubai Students, the UK curriculum schools remain the top choice for students, with 36 per cent of students opting for it. The Indian curriculum is the second most popular (26 per cent), followed by the American curriculum (15 per cent). The International Baccalaureate (7 per cent) and UK/IB hybrid curriculum (4 per cent) round up the top five curriculum choices.

The American curriculum remains popular for Emirati students enrolled in private schools, with the majority (60 per cent) attending a US curriculum school, followed by 24 per cent enrolled in UK curriculum schools.

This release of the latest data follows KHDA’s recent announcement, in which it revealed a student enrolment growth of 4.5 per cent from the end of the 2021-22 academic year in June, to the start of the current academic year in September. More than 326,000 students now attend Dubai’s private schools, representing a total of 187 nationalities.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of KHDA, said: “These student enrolment figures represent healthy, sustainable growth, and show the trust that parents have in the ability of Dubai private schools to give their children an education grounded in wellbeing that can meet the demands of the future.

“While the range of curricula offered in Dubai speaks about the diversity of our community; all schools are committed to a quality-driven, future-focused approach that will enable students to thrive. We’re grateful to school leaders, teachers, students and parents for their contribution to world-class education in Dubai.”

Posted on Category:News

Danube Sports World, Largest Indoor Sports Facility in Middle East set to open

The Danube Sports World, near Al Habtoor City, spans an area of more than 100,000 square feet, making it the largest of its kind in the region. It is set to open by November 26th 2022.

The temperature-controlled sports centre, housed under a dome, is built and run by the Danube Group, a multibillion-dirham conglomerate known in the building materials business.

Inside, visitors can book a range of facilities, including four cricket playing fields, four Fifa-certified indoor football pitches, nine padel tennis courts, six badminton courts, two squash courts, two beach tennis courts and multipurpose basketball and volleyball courts.

Other features of the massive space include a parking area that can accommodate 150 vehicles, lockers and changing room facilities, provisions for cameras to live-stream matches, a first-aid clinic and a cafe.

Players can order from the cafe through QR codes, and their food and drinks will be delivered to them in their courts.

The idea to build the sports facility came from Adel Sajan, the UAE conglomerate’s managing director, who said: “This is going to be the most popular go-to sporting and recreational centre in the UAE where consumers are now trying to mix sports and recreational facilities as part of their socialising process.

“Sports is gaining popularity in the UAE and GCC as a medium of socialising and healthy activity and this trend is going to grow as a global phenomenon.”

Bookings can be made through the Danube Sports World mobile application. Fees start from Dh85 per hour.

Posted on Category:News

Reading Literacy assessment mandatory for School students

Reading Literacy assessment

A reading literacy assessment that will be held three times per year has been officially mandated by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) for all students in the 6-15 age.

All schools in Dubai will participate in the digital Reading Literacy assessment for Grades 1 to 12, and the Arabic Benchmark Test, from Grades 1 to 9 with effect from the academic year 2023-24.

Peter Bonner, Assistant Principal Primary – Curriculum, Progress and Assessment, GEMS World Academy – Dubai says, “As per new KHDA guidelines, all students in the 6-15 age range are required to sit a standardised reading literacy assessment three times per year.

The guidelines state that tests must assess reading skills across a range of domains, with appropriate age-related emphases, including, but not limited to:

  • phonemic awareness
  • word recognition and phonics
  • reading comprehension
  • fluency
  • vocabulary
  • interpretive and comparative analysis of passages
  • application of understanding and critique of text
  • comprehension of different genres, including poetry.”

Bonner adds, “Schools have the flexibility to select a reading assessment platform and provider that is appropriate for them and their context, as long as these meet the above requirements.”

Assessments, he said, must be “computer-adaptive, and results should show each student’s reading age in comparison to grade/age expectations, and also a Standard Age Score (SAS) to facilitate comparison of data.

They should allow a detailed analysis of results, which is then used to support identification of individual student needs and how these drive interventions with all students.”

Headteachers explain this is part of the UAE’s commitment to maintaining high standards of education, and institutions are piloting these assessments in a few grades and sections based on random selection.

This is expected to help schools establish a baseline of students’ cognitive potential and achievements over time, and to facilitate necessary modifications to their learning.

Posted on Category:News

Manga Arabia introduces translations of Japanese comic books to SIBF 2022

Anime enthusiasts had the opportunity to pick up free copies of Manga illustrated novels at the Manga Arabia stand at Sharjah International Book Fair.

Manga Arabia, an initiative by Saudi Research & Media Group (SRMG), is the first company to formally translate popular releases into Arabic and provide enthusiasts from the region with a version they can read in their own language.

Manga is a Japanese style of illustration that has become popular all over the world.

Visitors to the stand were also able to have their names translated and written in Japanese on the backs of illustrated postcards. Abdul Malik Alaskar, a professional linguist and translator, greeted visiting enthusiasts and explained the vision of the company and initiative, showing a selection of free Manga comics in Arabic and translated people’s names on demand.

Joumana Rashed Al-Rashed, CEO of SRMG: “The launch of Manga Arabia constitutes a new dimension for Arabic content that has the ability to provide intellectual, cultural and creative inspiration for the Arab world.”

Posted on Category:News

Home-schooled Indian boy releases book at Sharjah International Book Fair

12-year-old Tazeen Swabri was identified as the home-schooled child to publish his book. ‘God of Dragons – The Beginiing at the Sharjah International Book Fair.

His book is the first in a series of seven fantasy novels. The young writer started with a 300-pager containing 49,000 words and is already writing his second volume.

Tazeen has won acclaim for his style, in which he used dragons and dinosaurs as characters in the book to show his perspective on life.

Although the name and the plot seem like a children’s genre, the picture is similar to a drama that makes the reader forget the age of the author who has combined different presentations of education, politics, family, equality. , emotions, friendship, war and peaceful coexistence.

Speaking to Gulf News, Tazeen said it took him eight months to complete the book.

“I have my own views on issues of war and peace and world affairs and I thought it would be good to show my people like dragons and dinosaurs,” he said.

The land of ‘Panzhuana’

Tazeen’s novel is set in the fictional world of ‘Panzhuana’ and revolves around dragon siblings Mark and Pearl and their mother Helen who enter into danger by entering the realms of a different kind of dragons.

Published by Al Rewaya, the book is available in all major bookstores and online platforms and Tazeen has already been invited to international exhibitions.

The book will be translated into Arabic and Chinese by March 2023, said Swabri’s father Abdul Khader Khasim, who runs an advertising company.

When asked if Tazeen’s writings were influenced by his parents, Swabri said: “We are not good at English. We had to seek the help of a professor to edit his book. But I helped him illustrate the book with his own. [Tazeen’s] cousin Shayan Shareef, who is 13, has drawn a map of the imaginary continent based on Tazeen’s description.

He said that both his children learned different languages ​​and studies independently. “We just helped them get started and gave them all the tools and guidance. Tazeen had been going to an English teacher for a few months when he was five.”

Tazeen said he is an avid reader with a passion for languages, geography, history, aviation and astronomy. She also likes to sing and play the piano.

“Our education has helped us [him and his brother] to benefit from the flexibility and freedom to design our own courses and plans,” he said.

Work at 15

His older brother Naji Swabri, 15, is completing his secondary school exams at the National Institute of Open Schooling, which is under the Indian government.

He is self-taught like his younger brother and has many talents such as 3D modeling, game development and animation. She is also interested in aviation, space and rocket science and enjoys dancing and acting.

Naji, who made a video trailer for the launch of Tazeen’s book and compared the event when the artist he was given earlier failed, said he feels lucky to have landed a job at a car manufacturing company in Dubai.

“I have been offered a job in their production department. I have been told to join after I complete my exams this month. We thank the UAE for allowing part-time jobs for those above 15 years of age,” he said.

‘Pilots home’

The homeschoolers have been volunteering with the Dubai Astronomy Group and have learned to fly a single-engine airplane by watching videos and using a home simulator.

A YouTube video posted by the brothers in January 2021 shows how ‘pilot’ Tazeen, assisted by his ‘pilot’ Naji, flew a Cessna Skyhawk G1000 simulator.

Swabri – who is the actor and director of the Indian film ‘De Nova – The Road Less Trodden’, which was released in 2009 – said that Naji wants to follow his footsteps in the film industry while Tazeen wants to become an airport manager. “He doesn’t like math that way.” Otherwise, he would have wanted to become a pilot,” he added.

Their mother Jubairiya A. Khader, an accountant, said her sons are learning “almost everything” through the Internet. “When schools started online education during COVID-19, we enrolled them in an Indian education school in Dubai because we thought they would enjoy going to school while staying at home. They did well in everything and were at the top of their classes for three months. But they were not happy with the education. school and homework. That’s why he stopped,” he said.

Posted on Category:News

Abu Dhabi Schools offer non-traditional sports to combat childhood obesity.

Pupils at an Abu Dhabi school are being introduced to a variety of non-traditional sports such as rock climbing to a game of gutter board, or the Swiss game of Tchoukball in a bid to reduce childhood obesity.

Repton Abu Dhabi found that during the pandemic, there was a 27 per cent decline in boys participating in physical activities, and girls’ activity decreased by 45 per cent.

Principal Steve Lupton said that obesity, and particularly childhood obesity, was the epidemic left behind by the pandemic.

“Once we came back after school closures we definitely saw a bit of a gap in stamina and endurance,” said Mr Lupton.

“There was a bit of a gap in swimming endurance and it has taken time to build that up.”

The school tracked pupils’ fitness levels through a beep test.

“Pre-Covid our average score for 12 to 15-year-olds was 9.5 which is considered excellent. Immediately post-Covid, our average scores had dropped more than 2 levels, with an average score of 7.3,” he said.

“With sport and physical activity back in operation we are now seeing our pupils’ fitness levels returning to pre-Covid levels.”

Some adolescent pupils at the school did not return to in-person classes for nearly a year and at different points, the school’s pool was closed for more than 12 months.

Mr Lupton said it was a challenge even before the pandemic to engage pupils who did not have a passion for sport and keep them physically active.

One answer to that was introducing unconventional sports.

“It’s about physical activity in disguise. It is getting children to stay active and getting their heart rates up and moving, but finding enjoyment,” he said.

The school timetabled PE and swimming lessons for all pupils, appointed a full-time swimming coach, and organised running, cycling events and cross-country championships.

It has built a rock-climbing wall in its junior campus and follows the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge’s policy to screen pupils and record their body mass index.

Programme to encourage healthy eating

“We have a whole package of increased opportunities for physical activity, but we are also focusing on education around what we’re eating and how we’re trying to maintain that sustainably,” Mr Lupton said.

He said that when he walked around the school at lunchtimes he could see very unhealthy food in lunch boxes at times.

“I don’t want to be critical of parents, because I know as a parent how hard it is sometimes, but it’s obvious that there needs to be a shift in some sections towards healthier and sustainable eating patterns.”

The school plans to launch a paediatric nutrition programme in February targeted at pupils aged 3 to 18, parents and teachers.

Lauren Hughes, wellness co-ordinator at the school, said the six-week programme would teach families about macronutrients and work to retrain the palates of children so that they could learn to enjoy fruits and natural food, rather than fast food.

It would also work to educate families about reading nutrition labels, balanced lunch boxes and the minerals and vitamins children need.
“Our mission is not to make everyone cut out all of their favourite food. It’s very much an abundance approach rather than one of deprivation,” said Ms Hughes.

“It’s teaching children how to look after themselves and having conversations on what brings us joy about food.

“What has often happened in the past is that you can teach children as much as you like and think that you’re empowering them. And then they go home and their parents take them to McDonald’s. So it really has to be a whole family approach.”

Posted on Category:News

Z-Library, Largest Pirated e-books Website gets taken down

One of the internet’s largest pirated e-book databases, which are also called “shadow libraries,” Z-Library offered more than 10 million e-books and 86 million articles at its peak, with a limited number of monthly downloads accessible to millions of users free of charge, and more available for a small fee. It was seized by the FBI after the shadow library fell under investigation by the US Trade Representative.

Though it’s beloved by students and book fanatics, the site isn’t popular among authors, whose work regularly gets uploaded to Z-Library without compensation.

Beloved by students, who seldom have the funds to dump on expensive textbooks or pricey academic journal subscriptions, ZLibrary eventually gained a devoted following on TikTok – much to the dismay of the Authors Guild, a writers’ trade group. The Guild blames digital piracy for an average decline of 42% in writers’ incomes over the last decade.

After the Guild wrote to the US Trade Representative earlier this month referencing TikTok in its plea to have ZLibrary classified as a “notorious market” for promoting piracy, the platform blocked the #ZLibrary hashtag.

Some 200 domains associated with ZLibrary were ordered blocked in France in September following a lawsuit by the National Publishing Union, and multiple Indian ISPs were previously ordered to block access following a complaint by the Taxmann publishing company.

According to Bleeping Computer, however, “little is known about the platform’s operators and commercial status,” meaning ZLibrary may simply switch domains and rise again.

Some of the domains have been redirected to Njalla, an anonymous hosting provider founded by the creator of the Pirate Bay, though it’s not clear how ZLibrary’s operators could have regained control of their domains following the seizure.

Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

Smartphones not Monsters- Taiwan Professor tells parents not to keep Children away from Electronics

Taiwan Professor Benson Yeh has cautioned Parents not to let Childrean treat home electronics products as monsters, because that attitude is going to prevent Taiwan from producing the next generation of creatives and innovators.

At a seminar, the electrical engineering specialist described parents as the biggest potential obstacles to the development of new electronics talent in Taiwan. He said the students who most often dropped out at NTU were those who had not been allowed to use computers, smartphones or tablets before they started their university studies.

Parents needed to abandon the attitude that phones amounted to games, and had to see them as instruments instead, Yeh said. He insisted that if Taiwanese wanted to work at the next generation of innovative enterprises in Taiwan, they needed to acquire the capabilities of working in a digital society and of cooperating across borders.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that many teachers, students, and parents did not have the required digital literacy to conduct virtual classes, according to Yeh, who created a Facebook group where 140,000 teachers help each other become familiar with the necessary technology.