Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Children prefer to read books on paper rather than screens

There is a common perception that children are more likely to read if it is on a device such as an iPad or Kindles. But new research shows that this is not necessarily the case.

In a study of children in Year 4 and 6, those who had regular access to devices with eReading capability (such as Kindles, iPads and mobile phones) did not tend to use their devices for reading - and this was the case even when they were daily book readers.

Research also found that the more devices a child had access to, the less they read in general.

It suggests that providing children with eReading devices can actually inhibit their reading, and that paper books are often still preferred by young people.

These findings match previous research which looked at how teenagers prefer to read. This research found that while some students enjoyed reading books on devices, the majority of students with access to these technologies did not use them regularly for this purpose. Importantly, the most avid book readers did not frequently read books on screens.

Why do we think children prefer to read on screens?
There is a popular assumption that young people prefer to read on screens. This was mainly driven by education writer Marc Prensky who in 2001 coined the term “digital natives”. This term characterises young people as having high digital literacy and a uniform preference for screen-based reading.

But young people do not have a uniform set of skills, and the contention that screens are preferred is not backed up by research.

Despite this, the myth has already had an impact on book resourcing decisions at school and public libraries, both in Australia and in the US, with some libraries choosing to remove all paper books in response to a perceived greater preference for eBooks.

But by doing this, libraries are actually limiting young people’s access to their preferred reading mode, which in turn could have a detrimental impact on how often they choose to read.

Young people are gaining increasing access to devices through school-promoted programs, and parents face aggressive marketing to stay abreast of educational technologies at home.

Schools are motivated to increase device use, with Information and Communication Technology being marked as a general capability to be demonstrated across every subject area in the Australian Curriculum.

The drivers toward screen-based recreational book reading are strong, but they are not well-founded.

Why are students more likely to prefer paper books?
Reading on devices through an application leaves more room to be distracted, allowing the user to switch between applications.

For students who already experience difficulty with attention, the immediate rewards of playing a game may easily outweigh the potentially longer-term benefits of reading.

Digital literacy could also be an issue. In order to use a device to read books, children need to know how to use their devices for the purpose of reading books.

They need to know how to access free reading material legally through applications such as Overdrive or websites such as Project Gutenburg.

Tips for encouraging your child to read
Research shows that reading books is a more effective way to both improve and retain literacy skills, as opposed to simply reading other types of text. Yet international research suggests that young people are reading fewer and fewer books.

While equipping children with devices that have eReading capability is unlikely to encourage them to read, there are a number of strategies, supported by research, that can help encourage children to pick up a book. These include:
  • Be seen to enjoy reading. This study found that a number of students did not know if their literacy teachers actually liked reading. Teachers who were keen readers inspired some students to read more often and take an interest in a broader range of books.
  • Create (and regularly access) reading-friendly spaces at home and at school. Loud noises, poor lighting and numerous distractions will not help provide an enjoyable reading experience, and are likely to lead to frustration.
  • Encourage regular silent reading of books at school and at home. Giving children time to read at school not only encourages a routine of reading, but it also may be the only opportunity a child has to read self-selected books for pleasure.
  • Teachers and parents should talk about books, sharing ideas and recommendations.
  • Continue to encourage your child and students to read for pleasure. While we know that children tend to become disengaged with books over time, in some cases this can be due to withdrawal of encouragement once children can read on their own. This leads children to falsely assume that reading is no longer important for them. Yet reading remains important for both children an adults to build and retain literacy skills.
  • Find out what your child enjoys reading, and support their access to books at school and at home.

(Source: The Conversation)

Singapore is taking extraordinary measures to keep the 'best airport in the world' title

For the fifth consecutive year, Singapore's Changi International has been named the best airport in the world by leading consumer aviation website Skytrax. The mega hub has long been praised by travelers for its beautiful architecture, efficient operation, and luxurious amenities.

Since 2014, Changi has taken extraordinary measures to maintain its place as the world's best airport. At the heart of its plan is a $1.7 billion mixed-use facility called the Jewel. The 1.4 million sq.-ft. complex features a series of forest-like gardens, an indoor waterfall, a hotel, as well as hundreds of dining and shop options.

"Not only will Jewel capture the hearts and minds of travelers and boost Singapore’s appeal as a transit hub, it will enhance the Changi Airport experience for our passengers and visitors," Jewel Changi Airport Development CEO Jean Hung said in a statement.

Have a closer look at the Jewel Changi Airport.

The Jewel is located outside of Changi's Terminal 1 in space once used for airport parking.

The facility has been under construction since 2014 and is expected to open to the public in early 2019.

The Jewel consists of 10 levels. Half of which are below ground.

This includes 130 hotel rooms along with more than 300 dining and shopping outlets.

On the top level of the Jewel is the Canopy Park.

It's one of the Jewel's three major attractions along with a 131-ft indoor waterfall called the Rain Vortex and a five-story-tall garden called Forest Valley.

According to the Jewel's builders, the Rain Vortex is the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

Canopy Park is divided into several sections including a botanical garden,...

... A nature walk with animal-shaped topiary, and ...

... A pair of hedge mazes.

In addition, the Canopy Park features a pair of 'Sky Nets' suspended 26 ft. and 82 ft above ground.

The Discovery Slide is an art sculpture that doubles as a children's' slide. It is also a great viewing gallery to see the Rain Vortex and Forest Valley.

The glass-bottom Canopy Bridge sits 75 ft. in the air.

The Canopy Bridge and other sections of the park emit puffs of mist to give children the illusion of playing among the clouds.

(Source: BI)

No one to control quality, jan aushadhi in India forced to recall 6 batches of drugs in 3 months

Centre’s flagship scheme for affordable medicines has been under a cloud, with allegations of fraud, and top officials’ resignations.

The Centre’s flagship affordable medicines scheme was already under the spotlight for allegations of fraud and for being a rudderless ship. But now, the Pradhan Mantra Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) has suffered another blow, with six batches of medicines being recalled in three months for failing quality tests.

What’s more, the department responsible for the implementation of the scheme, the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), currently doesn’t have anyone heading its quality control, regulatory affairs, or medicine procurement departments, leading to questions over who exactly is in charge of ensuring the safety and efficacy of the medicines.

The ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, which controls pharmaceuticals, has already launched an internal probe into 14 allegations against the BPPI, including financial misappropriation and flouting its own rules for procurement, made by the government’s own auditor, the Office of the Chief Controller of Accounts.

Worse still, the BPPI is itself headless, with three CEOs resigning in three years ; the last of whom, Biplab Chatterjee, has been running the show on an interim basis since his resignation in November.

MoS for Pharmaceuticals, chemicals and fertilizers Mansukh
Mandaviya inspecting a medicine production process| Facebook

Recall of medicines
The BPPI has had to recall four batches of medicines in the last month from Karnataka alone, after failing standard quality tests conducted by the state’s drug controllers. It confirmed that six recalls have taken place in the last three months in the states of Karnataka and Tripura, compared to 11 recalls in 12 months last year.

According to recall notifications reviewed by ThePrint, the drugs recalled since January are DC 420 (a combination of atorvastatin and clopidogrel), sucralfate, paracetamol syrup, Vitamin C tablets, amoxiclav syrup and baclofen tablets.

The recall of sucralfate oral suspension, for example, was initiated on 9 March after a retailer circulated a picture on a WhatsApp group of 270 of Karnataka’s jan aushadhi store owners, showing an insect floating inside a glass bottle. Sucralfate is a medicine used to treat intestinal ulcers.

Apart from quality concerns, store owners throughout the country complain of irregular stocks. “Ideally, we must stock about 700 formulations, but we hardly get the supply of 100 to 150 formulations,” a store owner who wished to remain anonymous told ThePrint.

BPPI’s defence

The BPPI, on its part, has attributed the lapses to the environmental conditions such as the change in temperature and the way the products were stored, among other things.

“Our products are sent to retailers after they pass the quality tests from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). Any alteration in the potency of medicine is beyond control. We recall the medicines immediately after state drug controllers inform us and block the billing on the medicine,” said BPPI’s interim CEO Biplab Chatterjee.

Since the Modi government decided to revive the UPA’s Jan Aushadhi Scheme, the number of stores has expanded from 85 to 3,200, with the target being to expand to 5,000 outlets by the end of 2019. But quality control leaves much to be desired.

As mentioned above, the head of the department positions in quality control, regulatory affairs and medicine procurements all lie vacant. The procurement department is even worse off, since it doesn’t even have a manager (the second senior-most position in the department) since October 2017. After Reena Bhagat quit the quality control manager’s job in October, Mahadev Agarwal, manager of procurements, was given responsibility of the quality control, leaving procurement in the hands of interim officers.

The BPPI is issuing advertisements to fill its crucial vacancies, and Chatterjee said this process, as well as the search for his successor as CEO, would be completed soon. “There are several vacancies in the organisation, and we are finding people. However, there will be some shortfalls, and we are working on it,” he said.

(Source: The Print)

Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar get married

Model-turned-actor Milind Soman tied the knot with his girlfriend Ankita Konwar in Alibaug on Sunday. Only close friends and family were present for Milind and Ankita’s wedding ceremony. The couple was colour-coordinated in white and golden traditional outfits and looked every bit happy on celebrating their togetherness. Ankita Konwar looked beautiful in minimal make-up.

The couple had hosted sangeet, mehendi and haldi ceremonies on Saturday. Milind and Ankita were seen dancing at their sangeet ceremony to the romantic song ‘Ishq Sufiyana’ from the film ‘The Dirty Picture’. Milind Soman looked handsome in a royal blue kurta, while Ankita made for a beautiful bride in a pink kanjeevaram saree.

52-year-old Milind Soman is internet’s heartthrob and a fitness enthusiast, while Ankita Konwar reportedly hails from Guwahati and is said to be an air hostess. They have reportedly known each other for four years.

Earlier, the couple had received flak for their alleged age difference after it was reported that 52-year-old Milind Soman is dating 18-year-old Ankita Konwar. However, Ankita’s age has been confirmed as 27 years, and not 18 years.

(Source: Republic)

What giving birth in a Lindo Wing is really like

Afternoon tea, massages and champagne are all on offer

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London.

Responsible for delivering some of the country’s most high-profile offspring - George and Amal Clooney’s twin daughters were born there last year - the esteemed maternity ward is one of the most exclusive around, but what’s it like to give birth there?

One London-based mother has revealed all about the luxury ward as she experienced it when seven months ago when she delivered her daughter, Isla.

The couple praised the staff as 'absolutely fantastic' (Hello Magazine)
Speaking to Hello Magazine, Katherine Filkins said she received the full royal treatment as a guest in the Lindo Wing.

The 38-year-old mother-of-two explained that no element of opulence goes amiss, with afternoon tea, post-delivery massages and champagne all included in the maternity package.

With prices starting at £5,900 per night, Filkins’ experience is obviously not one available to most people and is every bit as exclusive as you’d imagine.

While the Canadian-born mother had originally booked a standard room, one wasn’t available at the time she went into labour and she was therefore upgraded to a deluxe suit.

“We were lead to believe is where the royals also stay,” she tells the magazine.

Filkins endured 81 hours of labour before having a caesarean birth (Hello Magazine)
“It was a very large room we could have all of our relatives there the next day we could have sat six people comfortably,” she adds, likening the deluxe room to a hotel suite as it was kitted out with plush toiletries and an extensive food and drink menu.

Filkins also explained that her husband, Martin, was treated exceptionally well and was waited on hand and foot by the ward's attentive staff.

There is also a supervised nursery in the wing, giving parents the option of having a little time away from their newborns, should they want a break.

Plus, the ward’s staff are under strict instructions to be discrete in order to make guests feel as comfortable and secure as possible, which will undoubtedly be appealing to high-profile guests.

The couple praised the staff at the Lindo Wing for their sterling service, adding that they were “very chuffed” to have the opportunity to give birth in the same wing as the royal family.

(Source: Independent)