Great browser productivity enhancer, hugely powerful plug-in and FREE

Hyperwords browser plugin has a hugely powerful range of context-sensitive text tools. It can translate words and figures directly on the web page. It’s highly customisable. Hyperwords makes surfing the web better experience by performing common tasks with great ease than ever before. (No Safari version and it doesn’t automatically recognise currencies. Get it now.
Hyperwords – Browser productivity plug-in for  Google Chrome and Firefox

Interactive reading – the future of reading

The release of iPad and iBooks Store next month signals the new area for reading – interactive reading. Although reading on screen is nothing new (Google has been digitalising the world’s libraries since 2004) the publishing industry is ready to reinvent the book. The new platforms will allow readers to interact with one another in a social networks, travel books will let users send e-postcards, and kids will digitally paint-in their colouring books via the iPad’s touchscreen, among other things. “What was once a liner activity is an interactive experience. The iPad – it’s where the future is” says Anna Rafferty, the managing director of Penguin Digital.
Watch this video about the amazing new possibilities of interactive books of ‘iMagineering’ by Britain’s Penguin Books

Read more about interactive 3D books

Sleep lessons – why sleep is such a winner

A new study suggests that teenagers get only four hours of sleep a night and as a result of that their school performance is suffering. So pupils are offered sleep lessons. (Read more on the role of sleep in learning) Poor sleep impacts health in many ways from ill health to behavioural problems. Sleep is very important to maintain many normal skills such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking. Lack of sleep is said to have contributed to a number of disasters such as Chernobyl and Exxon Valdez. Not enough of sleep has a huge impact on emotional and physical well being including stress, depression, blood pressure, weight problems, diabetes, and risk of heart disease. Also studies suggest that when you lack sleep you’re more likely to make bad decisions. Read more about the importance of napping.

Be smart – start school at 10am
For all sleepy teenagers it could be the perfect excuse. One school thought it’s taking this seriously. At Monkseaton school, a Tyneside comprehensive lessons will start now at 10am rather than 9am. This project is overseen by three scientists including an Oxfrord neuro-science professor. The results look promising: lateness has dropped 8%, long-term absence 27% and GCSE results i maths and English in January are significantly improved compared to the last year. So it looks that starting the school later is good for teenagers’ unusual body clocks with the good results to follow. Read the full story

Accelerated Learning Resources and Books

The brain and learning
Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine. Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain, Addison-Wesley, 1994.
Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine. Unleashing the Power of Perpetual Change: The Potential of Brain-Based Teaching, ASCD, 1997.
Diamond, Marian. Enriching Heredity: The Impact of the Environment on the Brain, Free Press, 1988.
Diamond, Marian. Magic Trees of the Mind, E.P. Dutton, 1998.
Golden, Daniel. “Building a Better Brain,” National Geographic, June 1994.
Hart, Leslie. Human Brain and Human Learning, Longman Publishing, 1983.
Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain, Ned Herrmann Group, 1995.
Jensen, Eric. Brain Based Learning, Turning Point Publishing, 1996.
Jensen, Eric. Introduction to Brain-Compatible Learning, The Brain Store, 1988.
Jensen, Eric. Teaching With the Brain in Mind, ASCD, 1998.
LeDoux, Joseph. The Emotional Brain, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
Russell, Peter. The Brain Book, Plume, 1979.
Short, Cynthia. Dendrites Are Forever (workbook with exercises for maintaining and growing brain capacity into old age), self-published (406) 862-1095.
Sylwester, Robert. A Celebration of Neurons: An Educator’s Guide to the Human Brain, ASCD, 1995.

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Read summaries – save time

I’ve just read 6 books in an hour – thanks to the best collection of book summaries.

Read summaries - remember more. Passing Time in The Loo - the best of collection of 150+ books summaries

Passing Time in The Loo – the best of collection of 150+ books summaries

Not just easy peasy books, but Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), For whom the bell tolls (Hemingway), Don Quixote, Das Kapital (Marx), The Origin of Species (Darwin) and – by way of light relief – Shakespeare’s King Lear. All books I ‘wanted to have read’ but didn’t think I’d ever get round to reading and. To be honest, wasn’t really looking forward to reading). How did I do it? I read brilliant two-page summaries in ‘Passing Time in the Loo’. I got the stories, a flavour of the books and some info on their relevance. And I didn’t feel bad about it because research shows that people remember more from summaries than from reading the books. And loads more goodies to choose from tomorrow. Just checked out the publisher’s website (Passing Time in The Loo – 150+ classic books summaries) and they’re doing a deal – buy Passing Time in the Loo vol I or vol II and get the best of Shakespeare’s summaries free. Better than Amazon! But watch out – don’t be tempted to get ‘The Great American Bathroom Book’ or ‘Touch of Classics’ as well – they’re just the ‘loo’ books under different titles.  Read more about the importance of summaries and how they help with remembering information

Knowing top plots in fiction helps with speed reading novels too.

Sleep more. Researchers say an afternoon nap prepares the brain to learn better and remember more

How siestas help you remember more

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

“It has already been established that those who siesta are less likely to die of heart disease (people who siesta for 20-30 minutes each day are 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease as sleep lowers stress on the heart). Now, Matthew Walker and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that they probably have better memory, too. A post-prandial snooze, Dr Walker has discovered, sets the brain up for learning. The ideal nap, follows a cycle of between 90 and 100 minutes (according the research, napping for 90 minutes after lunch can improve your productivity by up to 10%). The benefits to memory of a nap, says Dr Walker, are so great that they can equal an entire night’s sleep. He warns, however, that napping must not be done too late in the day or it will interfere with night-time sleep. Moreover, not everyone awakens refreshed from a siesta. The grogginess that results from an unrefreshing siesta is termed “sleep inertia”. This happens when the brain is woken from a deep sleep with its cells still firing at a slow rhythm and its temperature and blood flow decreased. Sara Mednick, from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that non-habitual nappers suffer from this more often than those who siesta regularly. It may be that those who have a tendency to wake up groggy are choosing not to siesta in the first place. Perhaps, though, as in so many things, it is practice that makes perfect.” Read the full story in Economist

Read more on the role of sleep in learning

Cool bookshelves fighting back – for the love of books

speedreadingshelves

Puntmobles Perec Wall-hung Shelf – click on the image to buy it

With iPad and Kindle paving the way for the virtual bookland on one hand and bookless world on the other, designers are turning humble book storage into a work of art. See our selection of cool bookshelves see our Links/Reading resources page. “There’s been a bibliophile backlash. Books have morphed from being ‘stuff to store’ into a decorating opportunity.”
Read the full article with all the links to the top bookshelves designers.

Memory control discovered in forgetful flies

You may not like forgetting things but a new research suggests that any healthy brain need to be able to loose old memories. A  protein has been discovered in flies that is the key to forgetting. At this time the scientists don’t know if this protein has the same role in people. If people forget in similar fashion as flies do, this could pave the way to new ways to enhance memories or erase unwanted ones. Read the whole story in the NewScientist

Competition for the iPad – the Bonnier Mag+ project

Watch this video prototype of the Mag+ project. It could be a serious competitor to the iPad that Apple recently announced. You want to curl up with a book or magazine and lose yourself in. Can Mag+ project portable tablet e-reader deliver that experience?

Read how mobile tablet devices will change the world of computing.

How design can save newspapers – watch this video of Jacek Utko, the award-winning, the world’s best newspaper and magazine designer talking at TED

How do you store 35 million books?

35 million books could be stored on a single cartridge made using a new type of storage tape developed by IBM and Fujitsu. Can iPad beat that? Not for some time. This new cartridge has the capacity to hold up to 35TB of uncompressed data. This is about 44 times the capacity of today’s IBM LTO Generation 4 cartridge. A capacity of 35TB of data is sufficient to store the text of 35 million books, which would require 248 miles (399 km) of bookshelves. The biggest bookshop in Europe – Waterstones in Piccadilly, London UK SW1Y 6WW (tel 020 7851 2400) stores about 250 000 books on four floors in over eight and a half miles of shelving.

Read about the importance of summaries

The best book summaries

The books that change the world: The Checklist Manifesto – How To Get Things Right

In The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right (Profile), a surgeon Atul Gawande proposes how simple procedural checklists have a fundamental effect on the number of patients who recovered after operations (up to 47% more people survived in hospitals where checklist were used – next time you have an operation make sure to request that they use a checklist!). The book offers amazing insights into the power of simple to-do lists. The applications and implications are tremendous. This book is changing and improving the lives of thousands of people while you’re reading this. Read it to improve yours.

Speed reading made easy on the iPad via iBook Store – revolution in ebook reading

Amazon Kindle tried to do it and Apple just did it! Apple revolutionised listening to music and now they’ve revolutionised ebook reading with the iPad via iBook Store. Five big partners… Penguin, Harper Collins, Macmillion, Simon & Shuster, Hachette Book Group… and more will sell their ebooks via iBook Store to be read on the iPad.

“It has a bookshelf. In addition there’s a button which is the store — we’ve created the new iBook Store. You can download right onto your iPad.” The store is very similar to iTunes. Same modal pop-overs. Pricing doesn’t look too bad. The book page display is nice. You can turn pages slowly or fast for speed reading. “You can change the font… whatever you want. And that is iBooks.” “So iBooks again, a great reader, a great online bookstore. All in one really great app. We use the ePub format. We’re very excited about this.” said Steve Jobs at the launch of the iPad and iBooks Store today in San Francisco (6pm London time). Read how mobile tablet devices will change the world of computing.

iBooks Store on iPod - speed reading ebooks on the go

iBooks Store on the iPod – speed reading ebooks on the go

Watch Apple video on the iPad below (if you want to just watch the iBook Store and the ebook reader skip to minute 4)
For more info go to the iPad, iBooks Store and ebook reading

Read more on speed reading on Stanza free ebook reader for iPhone

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Hz8dhQw8Q

3D Books – Embedded electronics bring pop-up books to life

Move over Kindle, there’s a new type of electronic book on the scene – and this one’s got pop-ups. The interactive pages come alive with LED lights, sounds and even vibrate in response to touch.

The Electronic Popable book, developed by the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab, has electronic circuitry embedded in its pages that turns the tabs, flaps and wheels of a traditional pop-up into switches and a variety of sensors. The interactive pages come alive with LED lights, sounds and even vibrate in response to touch.

Watch the Electronic Popable book in action

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI-6wMlaVTc&feature=player_embedded#

Venus fly traps spring up invitingly from one page; sensors in the trap’s jaws respond to the user’s touch, gently closing around the probing finger as it withdraws. The sensors control the amount of electric current flowing through springs in the leaf. The springs are made of the shape memory alloy nickel-titanium and contract to close the leaf shut as their coils are heated by the current. The leaves reopen as the wire cools.

To create the pages for the book, mechanical engineer Jie Qi and Lab director Leah Buechley used off-the-shelf electrically conductive paints and fabrics, adding custom-made magnetic components programmed using a standard integrated circuit. “The innovation was in finding new uses for these easily available materials,” Qi says.

This battery-operated pop-up book will be presented at the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interfaces conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next week.
Source: NewScientist

Reading reduces stress.

Just 6 minutes of reading a book reduces stress by 68%.

A study at the University of Sussex last year indicated that reading for even just six minutes reduced stress levels in study subjects by 68%. Reading was the most prefered method for reducing stress when compared to other typical stress reducing activities like listening to music or going for a walk. Losing yourself in a book causes all of your muscles, including the heart, to relax.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54% and taking a walk by 42%. Playing video games brought them down by 21% from their highest level but still left the volunteers with heart rates above their starting point. Dr Lewis, cognitive neuropsychologist said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination. This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

If you can’t get into a story in just six minutes to achieve relaxation? Make sure to keep a book with you at your work desk, on a trip or best on your iPod or iPhone. Just read a chapter while waiting for the kettle to boil or while waiting in a queue.

Soon librarians, like doctors will be prescribing a good book alongside exercise and a healthy diet.

Interactive books – the future of publishing now

There are at the moment four interactive book formats on the market. Here are the examples:
Slice
(free) Penguin’s wetellstories.co.uk plays with narrative forms and is a pointer to the sort of books apps to come. slice is made up of a blog by a young girl (in reality, novelist Toby Litt), with councurrent entries by her parents as well as messages on Twitter. Be sure to click on them in the right order.
Fighting Fantasy (£1.79 each) These role-playing books, first published in 1982, are being turned into iPhone apps. The gameplay is unaltered: construct a character by rolling dice, then pick your way through a quest, turn by turn. Search for Fighting Fantasy in the iTunes App Store.
Dr Seuss’ ABC (£1.79) The 1963 chldren’s primer is also an iPhone app. Listen to the narration as the text light up. The American accent grates, however – especially when you come to the letter ‘zee’.
The Death of Bunny Munro (£9.99) Move over, audiobooks – here’s the videobook. This iPhone features footage of Nick Cave, the musician and author, reading his story aloud, complete with mood-setting music. But at nearly 1GB in size, you might need to delete some of his albums to make room for it. Try a free taster of The Death of Bunny Munro as the iPhone app

Prosperity for you in 2010 (with speed reading)

New Year – New You – new opportunities! Even in these times of financial turmoil, with the right tools you can make this your happiest year yet. Start 2010 off right by jump-starting your PROSPERITY (using speed reading techniques)!
We’re offering a special one-day course on achieving greater PROSPERITY in 2010. Application is restricted to people who have previously completed a PhotoReading/Speed Reading course. It gives you a unique opportunity to experience ‘group syntopic processing’ and synergistic collaborative learning from which, in just one day, we can all embody the wisdom from the top books to boost our prosperity and wealth. Take this opportunity to refresh your Spd Rdng skills at the same time!

DATE:
20th February 2010 (Saturday)
TIMES: 9.30am – 5.30pm
VENUE: North London N2
SPECIAL PRICE: £102 (limited places)
Booking and more info on this one of its kind Prosperity course

Winter is good for learning

The days may be cold and short (with lots of snow), but new research states that colder months are good for your brain. A study form Tromso University in Norway found that people’s reaction times, memory and attention span all improve in the winter. Take advantage and catch up on your learning and reading…