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Where Minds meet and Ideas pop up !

Readers of the Month: October 2011

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Aajma Manoj, IX A
Your First Book and who gifted it ?
Seven voyages of Sinbad the sailor gifted by my father.
Favourite Books and why ?
(Title & Author)
Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling, Twilight by Stephenie Mayor,
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis,
The mystery series by Enid Blyton.
These books are special to me as they had enriched me with lots of fun filled moments and wonderful experiences of many worlds such as the world of magic.
Most favourite character
Name:Severus Snape,Sirius Black, and Hermione Grange
All from the Harry Potter series..
Now reading (Title & Author)
TITLE: Revolution 20 20
AUTHOR:Chetan Bhagat.
Where do you like to read most?
In the library@K.V.Pattom
If you get a chance to meet a writer, who would you prefer to  and why ?
J.K.Rowling!! , as she is the writer whom i love most, because the stories written by her are simply irresistible and full of magic!
Who motivates you to read ?
My mother.
Books you recommend to your friends?
All books of HP series,Twilight saga and The  Chronicles Of Narnia.Diary of a wimpy kid etc..
 
Reading makes you
Reading makes me feel that Iam a part of the book too..
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Greeshma G and Zarin,  XII A
Name of the Student & Class Greeshma G., XII A
Your First Book and who gifted it ? Mahabaratha My mother
Favourite Books and why? Epics because they give many valuable ideas for living in the world.
Most favourite character Sree Krishna
Now reading (Title & Author) Illiad and Odissi by Homer
Where do you like to read most? In the Library
If you get a chance to meet a writer, who would you prefer to  and why ? Any Malayalam writer.
Who motivates you to read ? My mother
Books you recommend to your friends? Epics, puranas, biographies
Reading makes you,

 

 

It helps me to understand the value and meaning of life and give me confidence to jump over the huddles in my life.
Name of the Student & Class Zarin, XII A
Your First Book and who gifted it ? Cheer up Little Noddy by Enid Blyton. I received it as the proficiency award in 1st grade ( probably the only time I received a proficiency award).
Favourite Books and why ? A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini because it is a poignant reminder of sacrifice amidst the most grueling situations in life.
Most favourite character Miriam from ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’
Now reading The diary of a wimpy kid by Jeff Kinney
Where do you like to read most? In my room…..all ALONE!!
If you get a chance to meet a writer, who would you prefer to  and why ? Alice Sebold. Because her books have inspired and uplifted my thoughts.
Who motivates you to read ? My friends Kalyani, Alina and Nazrin ( also my twin….hmmphh)
Books you recommend to your friends? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Reading makes you, Happy and besides I get to flaunt new words and convoluted sentences. For eg: the incongruity of phlegmatic propensities. Confused??? You should be.

And finally reading makes me Happy

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Mrs. Leena Mary, PGT (Physics)
Books Childhood favourites: short stories, novels, astronomy, philosophy, psychology

Others: The black book,My name is Red,Like the Flowing river,The Valicepium ,sophie’s world,The pilgrimage

Now reading The dancing wu-li masters by Gary Zukan ,The White castle by Orhan Pamuk
Why I Read? I feel the most happy when I have nothing rankling in my mind and I am in the company of a book of my choice .It’s a pleasure! When I don’t have anything to read I feel incomplete miss something very important. Books are my friends! Books are food for my mind.
Recommendations Sophie’s world by Jostein Garder,

Like the flowing River by Paulo Coelho,

Sidhartha by Herman Hesse

Message to students Make books your friends. You will never feel lonely or get bored.

Just as balanced diet is important for your physical well being, a balanced reading is important for your mental growth. But remember Frances Bacon’s words,

SOME BOOKS ARE TO BE TASTED, OTHERS TO BE SWALLOWED.AND SOME FEW TO BE CHEWED AND DIGESTED.

 
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Filed under: Reader of the Month,

The Kalam Effect by P.M.Nair: Book Review

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by

P.M.Nair

In this book,the author describes his experience with ‘Kalam Sir’ that
he had during his time. He describes the humbleness and great qualities
of A.P.J.Abdul Kalam that he recognised while working for him.

A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was known as the "people’s president", and the
correct reason behind this has been penned down in the book.He was the
man who worshipped and believed in God a lot. He had such a strong
belief in n god that,I think, he could communicate with him.

For,once,there was a programme in the Rashtrapati Bhawan,that was to be
visited by  a great mass of people,approximately,2000-3000. That
day,the rain started pouring in the morning. The author i.e; the
secretary started to panic for how the programme would be held. He
talked to Kalam , but he, in response, teasing him, told not to
worry. If it is raining out,we can keep the programme inside. P.M.Nair
went hysterical and told that the Bhawan could hold only 700-800
people. To this, the reply came from the President in a rather cool and calm
way. He smiled and pointed towards the sky through  the window and said "I
have spoken there. Do no worry" And believe it or not, at 5 o’clock the
programme was to be started and the rain had stopped at 4:30 pm!!!
And,as if it was not amply surprising to digest,the rain had started
after the programme.

Well, this is only one of the incidents written in the book.This book
tells a great lot deal about him.I loved this book and would like to
recommend it to all.

Reviewed by

Himabindu Bhardwaj, VIII C

Filed under: Book Reviews, Reviews by students, , ,

Julian Barnes wins the 2011 Man Booker Prize

Julian Barnes has won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his novella “The Sense of an Ending”

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Photo: REX

Born: 19 January 1946, in Leicester, to two French teachers. The family moved to London six weeks after Barnes was born.

Educated: At City of London School from 1957 to 1964, before taking up a place at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Modern Languages, graduating in 1968.

Journalism career: After working for several years as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement, Barnes was later a reviewer and then literary editor for the New Statesman and the New Review. During his early writing career he continued to work as a television critic for the New Statesman and the Observer.

Metroland: Barnes had his first novel, Metroland, published in 1980. The semi-autobiographical tale explored growing up in the suburbs of London and life in Paris as a post-graduate student. Themes of idealism and infidelity didn’t sit well with Barnes’ mother – who complained of a "bombardment" of filth after reading the novel – but fared rather better with the critics, and the novel was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award in 1981. Metroland was made into a film in 1997, starring Christian Bale and Emily Watson.

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Flaubert’s Parrot: Barnes garnered his first Booker Prize nomination for his third novel, Flaubert’s Parrot (1984). It details the life reflections of a fictional retired doctor and the Gustave Flaubert-obsessive Geoffrey Braithwaite, in three chronological sequences – through positive and negative mindsets, and finally via journal quotes from different stages of Braithwaite’s life. Flaubert’s Parrot lost out on the Booker Prize to Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, but picked up the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize the following year.

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Relationship with France: A keen interest in France, which often figures in his writing, has helped Barnes become the only writer to win prestigious French literary prizes the Prix Médicis (1986 – Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Fémina (1992 – Talking It Over). His book Cross Channel, which examined Britain’s relationship with France in ten stories, was published in 1996, a year after he was made Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Barnes remains one of Britain’s best-loved authors across the channel, and was made Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004.

Booker Prize bridesmaid: Fourteen years after his first nomination, Barnes was again shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1998, for satirical science fiction novel England, England. He was also nominated in 2005, for Arthur and George, a story loosely based on the Great Wyrley Outrages of 1903. He lost out on both occasions.

Other writing: Barnes has also had non-fiction work published, including a collection on cooking (The Pedant in the Kitchen, 2003), and in the early 1980s penned crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Man Booker Prize winner: Barnes finally secured the Man Booker Prize tonight – at the fourth time of asking – for The Sense of an Ending, a novella "about memory and friendship which has been ecstatically greeted by critics".

Courtesy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booker-prize/8834873/Julian-Barnes-profile.html

Filed under: Author of the week, ,

Digital textbooks open a new chapter

South Korea, one of the world’s highest-rated education systems, aims to consolidate its position by digitising its entire curriculum.

By 2015, it wants to be able to deliver all its curriculum materials in a digital form through computers. The information that would once have been in paper textbooks will be delivered on screen.

South Korea’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Ju-Ho Lee, said that his department was preparing a promotion strategy for "Smart Education", focusing on customised learning and teaching.

The project, launched during the summer, will involve wireless networks in all schools to allow students to learn "whenever and wherever", as well as an education information system that can run in a variety of devices including PCs, laptops, tablets and internet-connected TVs.

He said the government would support an open content market containing a variety of learning materials, aimed at keeping up quality while keeping down costs.

"Smart Education will change how we perceive textbooks," said Mr Lee.

"The transfer from the traditional paper textbooks to digital textbooks will allow students to leave behind their heavy backpacks and explore the world beyond the classroom."

Tech-friendly teenagers

The intended benefits include extending the choice of subjects for students in rural areas who previously have lacked specialist teachers and to make it easier for pupils to study from home.

South Korea’s teenagers should be particularly receptive to such educational technology.

Showroom in South Korea

  • South Korea is second in global rankings for reading, fourth for maths and fifth for science
  • Family spending on education is the highest in the world, as a proportion of household income
  • It has been among the most improved education systems in the world. In 1945, 78% of the population were illiterate. It now outperforms all European countries and the US at reading
  • In the 1980s, South Korea banned private tutoring
  • This year it introduced a ban on corporal punishment

An Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development (OECD) international assessment found that 15-year-olds in South Korea were the most competent users of digital technologies in a survey of 16 developed countries.

They were best at evaluating information on the internet, assessing its credibility and navigating web pages.

South Korea’s pre-eminence has not come about by chance.

Unesco has documented the way that South Korea has carefully controlled the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education.

The government has understood the importance of having formal standards, so that systems can work with each other and quality can be assured.

The United States, alarmed by its relative international educational decline, is now also increasing the resources it devotes to digital learning.

But its move appears to be an acknowledgement of a lack of joined-up thinking in the past.

President Barack Obama’s "Digital Promise", announced last month, involves a new national centre to advance technologies that can supposedly transform teaching and learning.

The remit is "to determine quickly what is working and what is not, and transform today’s fragmented learning technology market, paving the way for the widespread use of learning technologies that deliver the best results for students, parents, and teachers".

Teaching gap

"With more than 14,000 school districts, and an outdated procurement system, it’s difficult for entrepreneurs to break into the market, and it’s also tough to prove that their products can deliver meaningful results," the White House said.

DIGITAL CLASSROOMS

E-book reader

  • The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is giving 6.8 million free laptops to school pupils
  • Uruguay plans to be the first country where all school pupils are given their own laptop
  • Apple says 600 US school districts are switching to digital textbooks on iPads
  • Amazon has launched a rental service in the US for digital textbooks for students

Given the way education in the US is so highly devolved there are bound to be continuing questions over how much the initiative can achieve.

Another question is whether technology in the classroom is what really makes a difference.

A study by the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University found that digital technology in the classroom might help to engage pupils in their learning and could save schools money.

But the Achilles’ heel – commonplace with educational technology – was the teachers. They felt they needed far greater training in how to integrate the resources into their lesson plans.

"The sad truth is that students can learn just as badly with a class full of computers, interactive whiteboards and mobile technology as they can with wooden desks and a chalkboard," said science and ICT teacher David Weston, founder of the consultancy Informed Education.

There might be enormous potential for software or gadgets to engage and challenge students in new and imaginative ways.

"But unless there is a focus on developing the teaching expertise to support this then you run the risk of wasting time, money and opportunity," he said.

And it may be that technology is seen as a way to achieve cost savings by – to put it crudely – replacing teachers with robots.

Digital tutor

Setting out its Digital Promise ambitions, the White House said: "For years, researchers have been working on developing educational software that is as effective as a personal tutor."

President Obama

Digital Promise has been launched by US President Obama to keep up with global competitors

Preliminary results from a US military "digital tutor" project suggested the time needed to become an expert in information technology could be reduced from years to months, said the White House.

"Achieving similar results in subjects such as math would transform K-12 [primary] education." It certainly would.

And although children tend to be quicker on the uptake than their teachers where anything with a screen is involved, this cannot be taken for granted.

The OECD’s study of the technology-friendliness of 15-year-olds highlighted crucial differences between printed and digital texts, with their non-linear navigation.

"Individuals who develop the skills needed to use these texts efficiently and effectively will be at an increasing advantage in accessing higher education, finding and succeeding in a well-paid job, and participating fully in society."

So policy makers must guard against creating a new "digital divide" between those who could and who could not use these new technologies, it warned.

Big Brother?

But is there a bigger, darker concern about such a centralised digital curriculum? If you put all your educational eggs in one digital basket you might hatch a monster.

An unscrupulous government could relish the fact that everything a child learns is controllable through one, easily manipulated, digital portal.

Electronic books

Do we trust the written word in digital books in the same way as the traditional printed editions?

Such fears have been examined in the novel, The Book, by M Clifford. The US author presents a dystopian civilization in which all information is accessed through an e-reader. The people discover that the digital content has been subtly altered by a corrupt government.

"There is something about paper that commands trust," Mr Clifford said. "And reading is very personal. A bonfire of books used to make us cringe because it represented the destruction of that trustworthy bond."

In an increasingly paperless society, we can trust the technology, but questions need to be raised when governments are involved, he says.

"The scare for me was always the subtlety. The delicate manipulation, one word at a time, to alter someone’s perception of the truth.

"Not only is there a fear of changing historical record, but of tailoring someone’s perspective on the world. If you think that what you are reading is authentic, then your guard is lowered and you accept it as reality."

He debunks his own dark scenario – but has doubts. "As we’ve seen, the world is becoming more interconnected on an individual level and so it is unlikely that factual information could be so widely altered. We are probably safe.

"But the fact that it could happen without anyone knowing is the real nail-biter."

 

By Gary Eason

Courtesy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15175962

Filed under: Article of the Week,

Digital Fortress by Dawn Brown

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By

Dan Brown

The story revolves around an international decoding organization named NSA (National Security Agency). Their cryptophers prided the organization not only because the NSA was the most secretive and intelligent organization in the world, but also for the $2million   TRANSLTR (the best decoding machine) that they possessed. In the final years of the World War II, when USA dropped the atom bomb in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a boy named Tankado mysteriously survives the war with three fingers in each hand and a layer of skin highly exposed to radiation. He later overcomes all his disabilities and proves his talent in mathematical reasoning and decoding. IN no time he joins the NSA and designed the model of the TRANSLTR along with commander Strathmore. After building the TRANSLTR, commander Strathmore lied to the world that the TRANSLTR was a complete failure that the NSA were devising plans to make it work, while in reality the TRANSLTR was intercepting coded E – mails from terrorists and drug lords, and warned detective agencies like the CIA. But Tankado was against hiding the existence of the TRANSLTR and so he was fired. IN the hope of taking revenge he warned the NSA that he would one day build a coding machine that will confuse even the TRANSLTR. No one paid any heed to him because they knew that according to the Bergofsky principle every code is breakable. What they didn’t know was that one day they would have to take it all back.

Coming to the present, Susan Fletcher wakes up one morning with a call from Strathmore asking her to come over to the NSA in the light of an emergency situation. Strathmore also tells her that he has sent David to Spain to get the belongings of the late Tankado.  Later she finds out that Tankado succeeded in developing not an unbreakable code as they initially suspected but a super powerful worm that was supposed to infiltrate the databanks of the country that destroyed Japan in the final years of the deadliest war ever. As Susan Fletcher tries unsuccessfully to deactivate the worm by inserting possible combinations of the kill code, David obtains Tankado’s ring on which is engraved a puzzle that ultimately leads them to the kill code – 3 (the number of fingers on Tankado’s hand). It has a thrilling climax.

I really liked this science novel. The ideas expressed are profound and exciting. There are many twists and turns in the story which present humorous thoughts and ideas. It is quite ironical to know that such a secretive agency actually exists. Digital Fortress is closer to truth than any of us dare imagine. 

 

Reviewed by

Firoz Baker, IX A

Filed under: Reviews by students, ,

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