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Blue Skies Thread, Is the Library Obsolete? in General; @all: What with the advent of VTLEs, E-readers and audio books which touch on all the learning senses it does ...
  1. #16

    bossman's Avatar
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    @all:

    What with the advent of VTLEs, E-readers and audio books which touch on all the learning senses it does make one wonder about the value of the paper book which, costs dictate how many and which type the schools can afford, whereas the digital age is upon us I'm afraid and this is how young people are going to get their education in the future.

    It is all part of the evolution which the human race is now going through at a terrific pace and needs to, if we are to engage ourselves with saving the planet and coming up with big changes in the way we do things.

    I feel we are at the very beginning of a new age where all the things that we feel are relevant to us are about to change dramatically and in some cases we might feel for the worse but this is the future unlike the beginning of the last century when flight was at the forefront it is now the time of the digital age and there will be no room for paper books except in museums or peoples private collections.

    But then again I could be wrong hehe!!
    BTW I am an avid book reader myself but just love the audio books.

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  3. #17

    localzuk's Avatar
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    I love a good library. They're filled with interesting stuff, however in the increasingly electronic world, they are becoming obsolete.

    Just look at print media - newspapers have now been in decline for 50 years, increasing so with the advent of the internet. Journals are similar - they have a far higher electronic readership than paper readership now.

    Fiction is one area which still rules in book form, but this is starting to be nibbled away by ebook readers (example, one of our English teachers, rather than carry tonnes of books for her travels last summer, bought a ebook reader and loaded it with novels).

    Reference books are also appearing in electronic format - I have a subscription to a site of a series of books on Crystal Reports for .Net. There are sites such as Safari Books online etc... Older reference books are being digitised by services such as those offered by Google.

    All of these things reduce the usefulness of the traditional 'library'.

    It is only a matter of time before books become out dated - just like video cassettes, 8 tracks etc...

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  5. #18
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    NO !!!!!!

  6. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I love a good library. They're filled with interesting stuff, however in the increasingly electronic world, they are becoming obsolete.

    Just look at print media - newspapers have now been in decline for 50 years, increasing so with the advent of the internet. Journals are similar - they have a far higher electronic readership than paper readership now.

    Fiction is one area which still rules in book form, but this is starting to be nibbled away by ebook readers (example, one of our English teachers, rather than carry tonnes of books for her travels last summer, bought a ebook reader and loaded it with novels).

    Reference books are also appearing in electronic format - I have a subscription to a site of a series of books on Crystal Reports for .Net. There are sites such as Safari Books online etc... Older reference books are being digitised by services such as those offered by Google.

    All of these things reduce the usefulness of the traditional 'library'.

    It is only a matter of time before books become out dated - just like video cassettes, 8 tracks etc...
    I agree that the tradiioinal library is becoming obsolete. Like everything it MUST move forward with the times, but

    Should they stop being stocked with books and become electronics centres?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    Books need to be in Libraries!

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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by bossman View Post
    @all:

    What with the advent of VTLEs, E-readers and audio books which touch on all the learning senses it does make one wonder about the value of the paper book which, costs dictate how many and which type the schools can afford, whereas the digital age is upon us I'm afraid and this is how young people are going to get their education in the future.

    It is all part of the evolution which the human race is now going through at a terrific pace and needs to, if we are to engage ourselves with saving the planet and coming up with big changes in the way we do things.
    Are you 'avin a larf' ( not personally directed at you )

    How is moving education onto power using equipment saving the planet?, i'm afraid the biggest challenge facing humanity is its rising population, and then the power required for that population to consume, as a close second. Thats also not to mention all the pollution, and energy consumed manufacturing 'needless' gadgets, that we don't need, but want, just to satisfy our own greed, or 'one upman ship' feeling over other individuals.

    Education is going in the total wrong direction, with the reliance on technology that is spreading throughout developed countries, we are becoming more and more useless at performing simple everyday functions, without some sort of processor to keep us informed.
    Primary kids probably need a couple of hours a week on a computer learning typing, spreadsheet, database, image manipulation skills. and that should be more than enough. At secondary this should be more, as they may be entering the job market, but computers should be used only for tasks that cannot be completed in a more carbon neutral way.
    It seeems that teachers can no longer teach, unless there is a program that does the lesson on the white board, and pupils can no longer operate without reliance on technology.
    The overall lesson that is getting taught/implied is that we need a super high level of technology just to function ,which is wrong.
    All the cost of this is enormous, and a needless drain on the economy, tax payers, not to mention the worlds resources.

  8. #21

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste View Post
    How is moving education onto power using equipment saving the planet?, i'm afraid the biggest challenge facing humanity is its rising population, and then the power required for that population to consume, as a close second. Thats also not to mention all the pollution, and energy consumed manufacturing 'needless' gadgets, that we don't need, but want, just to satisfy our own greed, or 'one upman ship' feeling over other individuals.
    I think you underestimate just how much energy is needed to make paper. Around 70% of paper still comes from wood (the rest made up of recycled sources). 1 tonne of paper produced uses about 2.5MWh of power, at least 10,000 gallons of water etc... That's pretty intensive. And that doesn't include the transport of the wood from source to the mills, or the delivery of the paper to the consumer.

    Education is going in the total wrong direction, with the reliance on technology that is spreading throughout developed countries, we are becoming more and more useless at performing simple everyday functions, without some sort of processor to keep us informed.
    How is this an issue? Seriously. What value does 'performing simple everyday functions' have when we can leave them to be done by technology and get on with other things. This is the very essence of civilisation - improving things, creating new things, learning new things. If we didn't do this, we can be damn sure we would never have left caves. Why would hunter gatherers have moved to farming?


    Primary kids probably need a couple of hours a week on a computer learning typing, spreadsheet, database, image manipulation skills. and that should be more than enough. At secondary this should be more, as they may be entering the job market, but computers should be used only for tasks that cannot be completed in a more carbon neutral way.
    You need to say *why* this is the case.

    It seeems that teachers can no longer teach, unless there is a program that does the lesson on the white board, and pupils can no longer operate without reliance on technology.
    The overall lesson that is getting taught/implied is that we need a super high level of technology just to function ,which is wrong.
    All the cost of this is enormous, and a needless drain on the economy, tax payers, not to mention the worlds resources.
    No, the economy runs on invention, new things etc... That's the only way GDP grows. If you don't have new things all the time, the economy stagnates and eventually collapses.

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  10. #22

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    The school library here and in other places is not just about books, it is a quiet and supervised area to study. Books give the room a study atmosphere (even if they're not being read!), therefore a library will always be needed.

  11. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I think you underestimate just how much energy is needed to make paper. Around 70% of paper still comes from wood (the rest made up of recycled sources). 1 tonne of paper produced uses about 2.5MWh of power, at least 10,000 gallons of water etc... That's pretty intensive. And that doesn't include the transport of the wood from source to the mills, or the delivery of the paper to the consumer.
    You missed out the fuel costs necessary to heat and light a room the size of a decent library, as compared to running a smallish room containing the 10 Eee PCs which could (potentially) replace the reference books and the small fiction library. Let's also assume for a moment that the electricity comes from a sustainable source, but the heating is gas-fired. Then let's factor in a hypothetical building project for some extra classrooms, which wouldn't have been necessary had we digitised the library and re-used the room.

    Okay, I'm getting a bit silly now, but the point stands that people are very quick to blame technology for our growing energy consumption, without considering the impact of the non-technological alternatives, or looking elsewhere. Yes, we have more electrical gadgets eating power, but we also drive places we used to walk or cycle to and buy everything in out-of-town supermarkets (HUGE drains on energy) rather than small local retailers.

    Similarly, I've been criticised for leaving classroom PCs running all day, until I pointed out to the person levelling this against me that I knew for fact the lights were currently on in their empty classroom, using more energy than the idling PC. They went quiet after that.

    I try and avoid the recycled paper argument, as that is a hotbed of debate too!

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  13. #24

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    Well already lots of schools have computer library systems which allow children to scan books in and out typically using a barcode reader.
    In future I can imagine schools having a book server which would be wirelessly downloaded to an e-reader of some kind, but maybe more child friendly looking. It could be easily tracked how much they've read, when they read it and to describe the book in their own words. They could also submit mini reviews. I think there are more advantages especially now as we're in a monitoring and evaluation (tracking) of pupil progress.

  14. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    "The irony of the information age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion" - Some guy on the Internet.

    Wikipedia assumes general knowledge will ensure articles are roughly accurate. That's great for commonly known things (or niche Klingon mating rituals), but when you get into specialised knowledge those with it are less likely to waste time on Wikipedia, especially if their article is likely to be reverted or contested by a basement-dwelling asshat.
    Assuming your "basement-dwelling asshat" dosn't turn out to be "propaganda arm of some political or religious group". Which can even affect some "commonly known things"...

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    One thing to remember about Wikipedia is that people are supposed to not take things at face value, but are supposed to follow the citations on the pages. It is a starting point, not an end point.

  16. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    One thing to remember about Wikipedia is that people are supposed to not take things at face value, but are supposed to follow the citations on the pages. It is a starting point, not an end point.
    I WISH they'd hammer that one home to the kids in this school. The amount of work which is copied and pasted directly from Wikipaedia pages scares me, the fact teachers don't clock it either, and the fact some students cite wikipaedia as a factual source!

    I'd love to block it, and force them to look at the websites containing the factual information, but no chance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    I WISH they'd hammer that one home to the kids in this school. The amount of work which is copied and pasted directly from Wikipaedia pages scares me, the fact teachers don't clock it either, and the fact some students cite wikipaedia as a factual source!

    I'd love to block it, and force them to look at the websites containing the factual information, but no chance!
    Surely basic essay writing requires the citing of references, teachers need to be aware of plagiarism and the (very easy) ways of checking for it.

    I do think Wikipedia is getting a raw deal on this thread, no source can be trusted in isolation but the ability to hyperlink between articles brings subjects such as history and science to life in a way that no book ever could.

    As for accuracy, as an example take a look at the 'adolf hitler' article on wikipedia, it has over 300 footnotes, over 50 references and an ongoing discussion tab. You can even browse the articles history to check every single change made to it since its creation in 2001.

    As for the school library, I suspect it will be replaced by ebooks once the readers are cheap enough, its already happening in California I believe.

    Save a tree, read a ebook!
    Last edited by IT_Guy; 23rd February 2010 at 09:56 AM.

  18. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Guy View Post
    the ability to hyperlink between articles brings subjects such as history and science to life in a way that no book never could.
    Very true.

    Of course, it also makes it much easier to get distracted and wonder off topic, so teaching of research skills might need to be updated to cover this.

  19. #30
    CAM
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    I worked the entire day in a school library and still based in it to some degree. It is a new build and was designed to house a large number of computers for Sixth Form students to use during free periods. At other times, other members of the school use it when it turns into an activity hub with lunchtime events and video-conferencing sessions.

    The reference section is pretty out of date but a budget was recently allocated to the fiction sections and that was updated. You need someone good at promoting the events and books to encourage reading and the book shelves went from supporting the computer users to being just as important as the computers themselves for encouraging reading and literacy.

    Work with your English department to see what you can come up with and tie the Library in with VLE systems for information and event promotion. And be ready for the real challenge of keeping the place quiet...



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