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Spritz reading

A new mobile app will be loaded onto the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 and Gear 2 smart watches. The aim is to increase your reading speed up to 1,000 words-per-minute by flashing the words at you one at a time. 

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Reading basics

Traditional reading involves publishing text in lines and moving your eyes sequentially from word to word. For each word, the eye seeks a certain point within the word (Optimal Recognition Point or ORP), after your eyes find the ORP, your brain starts to process the meaning of the word that you’re viewing. With each new word your eyes move and then seek out the ORP for that word. Once the ORP is found, processing the word for meaning and context occurs and your eyes move to the next word. When your eyes encounter punctuation within and between sentences your brain is prompted to assemble all of the words that you have read and processes them into a coherent thought. When reading only around 20% of your time is spent processing content the remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next ORP.

Where Spritz claims to be different

“Spritzing can be learned in less than 5 minutes and, if you don’t spritz for a month, no practice is needed to return to your previous speed. From the fonts used to the algorithms that process content, Spritz is designed to empower effective reading on a small display area. Removing the eye movement associated with traditional reading methods not only reduces the number of times your eyes move, but also decreases the number of times your eyes pass over words for your brain to understand them.”

We’ve tried the online version in the HL Studios office and whilst it’s definitely fun to use as a test, is it really a viable alternative to traditional reading?

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in design news

 

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e-book piracy grows

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According to NetNames, an online data monitoring company,  students are the biggest culprits when it comes to e-book piracy. Investigators looked at the availability of 50 popular textbooks across five different disciplines in the UK. In total 76% of the titles were available to download free in pirated form on one e-book sharing site. Science and engineering were the most pirated academic textbooks.

NetNames’ director of piracy analysis, David Price, thinks the expense of educational books could be the problem.

“We talk to all content owners about this sort of thing. The best way to beat piracy is to get your content out there, to give it to people in some way or make them buy it in some simple, cheap, easy way.”

Two textbooks for pharmacology and physiology cost in excess of £180, about a fifth of a student finance loan.

The research has been released as the Publishers Association admitted that e-book piracy was a growing problem. The organisation’s chief executive, Robert Mollet, says it’s not all the students’ fault.

“We’re seeing more infringement of e-books as the digital market grows,”

“About a quarter of all novels bought in the UK are bought as e-books, so as that digital market grows, we’re bound to see a little bit of piracy alongside it.”

“But I have to say, it’s a very small issue compared with the sort of levels we see in film and music. E-books are nowhere near that.”

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in design news

 

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Return of the three R’s?

Plans to scrap GCSEs in key subjects in England and replace them with English Baccalaureate Certificates are now being abandoned by the government.

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BBC News has announced the u-turn by Michael Gove alongside other curriculum changes.

The education secretary had wanted to bring in more rigorous exams in some core subjects from 2015, but faced criticism from MPs, teachers and even Ofqual – the exams regulator. The change means plans for the new qualification, announced in September, are now being shelved, while GCSEs are to be retained, despite having been previously condemned by the education secretary.

The announcement is going to offer reassurance to those teaching and sitting GCSEs at the moment. Pupils over 14 have already begun revamped GCSE courses, where exams are mainly taken at the end of two years’ of study. Mr Gove has also announced that from autumn 2015, teaching will begin for the new re-vamped GCSE courses in English, maths, the sciences, history and geography.

In a speech to the Social Market Foundation think-tank, Mr Gove said research showed that children needed to commit facts and concepts to their long-term memory in order to understand the world. Giving a glimpse of how the new curriculum would be structured, he said: “There is new and detailed content on the mathematical processes every child should master – including early memorisation of tables, written methods of long division and calculations with fractions – which was either absent or obscure before.

My primary school day always began with a recital of the times tables and calculators were rarely used in Maths lessons (except to type 5318008 and turn them upside down) and they certainly weren’t allowed to be used in exams. So, Im guessing the revamped curriculum will in fact be a return to the original methods of teaching?

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in duck tales

 

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