You and your eBook – Part 1 – Choosing a tablet

With education moving towards a digital platform, many parents and teachers are wondering which mobile devices to buy and how it all works. This new educational world can be very confusing for those of us who are inexperienced with technology.
In the following weeks we will be answering these questions and look at providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to learning on your mobile device.

Choosing a tablet

This week we start with what to consider when choosing a tablet:
When it comes to learning from a mobile device such as a tablet, the range is quite extensive, from really cheap devices to the most expensive.. You might be tempted to just buy the cheapest on the market, but this may not be the best choice in the long term.
Budget
Money always plays a factor when buying a tablet, but bear in mind the following:

  • cheap tablets often have a poorer battery life. You don’t want to keep having to charge it up, especially in the classroom.
  • cheap tablets often have less memory and features than the more expensive models
  • you will need to insure the device against damage or loss – factor in this cost.
  • a cheap option can sometimes end up more expensive in the long run.

It is a good rule of thumb to buy the best tablet you can afford. It should last longer and have more features than a cheaper alternative.

Research

Once you have decided on your budget, do your homework! Talk to friends and other parents about their choice of device. Read up on the different devices available on the Internet. Chat to the school, which may be able to give you some guidance.

Robustness

Who will be using the tablet? Young children tend to need more robust devices with protective casings and covers. In our experience the cheaper devices when used everyday tend to not last past the year, and mid-range devices tend to last 2-3 years.

Screen size

When reading on a tablet, we recommend a minimum screen size of 10”. The 7” screens make reading harder which might lead to a poorer learning experience.

Connectivity

Wireless connectivity (WiFi) is a must, this enables the user to connect the tablet to networks as well as the Internet. This allows you to download content on to the tablet. Most tablets come with built-in WiFi.
3G is not required in most cases, however if you do need to be connected while out of reach of a WiFi network, or don’t have a reliable internet connection you might want to consider this option. 3G will incur mobile data charges as it uses a mobile network.

Storage capacity

Storage capacity refers to how much can be stored on a tablet. Storage is usually measured in Gigabytes and Megabytes.
A Gigabyte (Gb) consists of 1024 Mb (Megabytes).
As typically enhanced school books can consist of a couple of hundred Mb per book, we would recommend buying a tablet with 8 Gb minimum storage with an additional 8Gb SD card (make sure the tablet has the ability to take an SD card if smaller than 16Gb). 16GB of storage should be more than enough for educational purposes.

Battery life

Typically a school child will be using the device for up to 8 hours while learning. Make sure that the tablet has a battery life of at least this time. The longer the battery life, the better, because children often forget to charge their tablets!

Camera

Most tablets come with a built-in camera, but this is not essential, and shouldn’t be a major consideration when choosing a tablet. However, cameras are fun for children and could add to the learning experience by helping learners take photos for assignments and projects..

Choose wisely, and make sure that you get the best value for your money!

Tips for good creative writing Part 2 – Narrative essay writing

This lesson follows Creative writing tips : Part 1.

Being able to write a good narrative essay is an important part of creative writing. In this blog post, we will outline some of the essential things to bear in mind when tackling a narrative essay. Other types of essays will be covered in future blog posts, so watch this space!

A narrative essay should tell a story and entertain the reader. Remember that this type of essay is not a summary of a novel, but rather focuses on a brief moment in time.

When writing an essay like this, keep the reader interested and entertained by focusing on a limited number of characters within one setting. If you can write about something that you yourself have experienced, so much the better. This makes your story more believable and easier to write.

Characteristics of a narrative essay:

  • It tells a story.
  • It is normally written in the past tense.
  • It usually consists of three parts: an introduction, a body consisting of paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • The introduction should immediately capture the attention of the reader and set the scene for the essay.
  • Characters are developed.
  • Detailed descriptions of people, places, objects, and actions are given.
  • A problem or difficult situation is introduced.
  • Tension builds up until a climax is reached.
  • The problem or difficulty is resolved.
  • The conclusion can either resolve the issue, or leave the reader with food for thought.

Have a look at the previous creative writing post on this blog to refresh your memory of the Story Arc, which shows how a story should be developed.

Book cover of The Write Style The advice you have just read has been adapted from a very useful book published by Shuters called The Write Style, which is a user-friendly reference book which provides all you need to know about how to tackle common writing tasks.

Shuters at the South African Book Fair 2015

Hopefully we got to meet some of you this year at the Turbine Hall for the 2015 South African Book Fair!

Shuters SA Book Fair

Sa Book Fair 2015 Stand

As usual, our stand attracted a great deal of attention, with visitors to the fair getting a chance to experience our interactive e-books. The exciting offer of free e-books certainly caused a stir!

Our other high-quality printed material was also available and we got a chance to network with our customers, education officials and, of course, school learners. It was great to make so many new friends!

If you missed us at the Book Fair, make a plan to catch us at the Digital Education Show in October.

67 Minutes at Shuter and Shooter

This year’s Mandela Day was a special one for us at Shuter & Shooter. We first met as staff, each sharing our own thoughts and appreciation of the role Nelson Mandela played in our lives and in our country. What an inspirational time, remembering an inspirational man.

Primi speeching

Shuters staff

After that, the team from Shuters visited the SAVF Pietermaritzburg Old Age Home, where the residents were treated to a pamper pack, tea and cake, and music from Shuters’ very own band. It was a humbling experience to be able to give just a little time and love to those who are less fortunate.

Shuters band entertaining some fans

Cutting the cake

Saturday saw the team (working together with BAA Communications, Vuyantando General Trading, Scie-Matical Foundation, Vuma FM, Daughters of Inheritance, and Ilanga Newspaper), at the children’s ward of the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi, reading stories and bringing cheer to the children.

In the famous words of Nelson Mandela:

A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of. – Nelson Mandela

Free E-books for all!

shuters free ebooks
In a bold move for E-Learning in South Africa, Shuter & Shooter Publishers have taken a step to assist in bringing modern teaching and learning techniques to classrooms across South Africa.
In an interview, Sibonelo Mkhasibe, the e-marketer from Shuters, said “We have noticed some reluctance in schools to purchase e-books without knowing how they will work in the classroom. Many schools have already spent their budgets on physical books this year, and cannot afford to spend more at the moment. This is why we at Shuters are giving away a FREE 1-year licence on any of our Grade 1 to 12 Core CAPS titles, purchased before 31 January 2016, through our e-book store.”

This will allow schools that could not afford or are hesitant to take the step into the future of E-Learning, to explore the possibilities this medium offers.
Shuter & Shooter’s proprietary Edu-reader application (available for Apple and Android devices) allows users to read their e-books. This app brings extra resources such as a calculator, conversion tool, notes, bookmark feature, animations, videos and more to their existing CAPS approved material.
This essential tool for E-Learning is available at no cost, downloadable from the Google Play Store and Apple iStore. Once users have downloaded the app, it is a simple matter to redeem the free titles from the Shuters e-book store. Shuters will also have a helpline available from 7am to 8pm, 7 days a week, which can be contacted on 080 7488 377.

Shuter & Shooter Publishers have always believed in the importance of education and in giving back to the community, and hope that this bold initiative will help to expose learners and teachers to the potential that this new medium holds for education in South Africa in the future. – CEO , Primi Chetty

LOG ON TO https://shuters.co.za FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE BOOKS

Check out our new title Hair Day

We are very excited to introduce the latest addition to the Songololo imprint at Shuter & Shooter : Hair Day.
Hair Day book cover WHOSE HAIR?
Zinzi likes her hair the way it is. Her mother wants it cut. On the way to the hairdresser Zinzi sees how many different kinds of hair there can be. Her imagination runs wild. But what happens at the hairdresser is even more crazy…

This hilarious first reader, beautifully and whackily illustrated by Patricia de Villiers, explores the power struggle between a mother and her child over the all important right to decide on whose hair it is anyway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dawn Garisch is a doctor who writes, a poet who walks, a researcher who dances. She has had five novels, a collection of poetry, a non-fiction work and a memoir published. Her award-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in anthologies, journals and magazines. She has had a short play and short film produced and has written for television and newspapers. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.
Her novel, Trespass, was nominated for the Commonwealth Prize in Africa.
Hair Day is her first children’s book.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

With a background in painting, theatre and print-making, Patricia de Villiers has provided illustrations for numerous publications – for adults, for youth and for children. After some years as a public health manager, she is re-entering the creative world.
The publication of Hair Day marks her happy return to the rewards of inventing and making picture stories for children.

UNIQUE SELLING POINTS:

  • Exquisitely illustrated, this beautiful book inspires the imagination.
  • This book engenders interesting topics for parents to discuss with their children while maintaining a lighthearted and humorous tone.
  • The illustrations extend the text in quirky ways, providing entertainment and also encouraging the child to identify visual aspects of the story such as people, colours, shapes and animals.

ISBN 978-1919-88885-9 · Paperback · 28 pages · Age: 4-9 · Price R55.90
Email: sylvie@shuter.co.za ∙ Tel: 033 – 846 8724 ∙ Fax: 033 – 846 8701

Digital publishing and eLearning

Here at Shuters, we have embraced the many challenges and opportunities afforded by digital publishing, to re-look at our existing product offerings.
These include the exciting animated foundation phase products we have created, the interactive activities we have loaded into our ebooks and the large number of platforms we are now able to distribute our content on.
Because digital publishing / e-learning is still a very new experience to most learners, parents and teachers we have decided to help you get a feel for the digital learning experience by giving everyone a 1-year free license to two of our learner’s books :

Life Sciences Grade 10

Download Life Sciences Grade 10

Natural Science & Technology Grade 6

Download Natural Science & Technology Grade 6

In addition to this, we have made all our educational books available for a 2 day free trial period, so that you can get a chance to try out the exciting material we have on offer.

With all the different types of interactive electronic devices available today, you need to be able to experience our eBooks on the device that you already own, this is why  our eduReader app is available on both Android and iOS (iPads and iPhones) and soon to be released on windows.

To get your free licenses you will have to :

Step 1 : Download the Shuters eduReader for Android (eg: Lenovo, Samsung etc tablets) and iOS (iPads and iPhones)

Step 2 : Create your Shuters account at online.shuters.com

Step 3 : Click the buy button on the two promotional books (Life Sciences Grade 10 & Natural Science & Technology 1 year licenses) from our website online.shuters.com.

Step 4 : Check out. (no credit card or payment information needed)

Step 5 : In the eduReader you downloaded earlier, simply login navigate to the Licenses tab and download your two books.

 * These promotional books are only available with our eduReader application.

Have you slurped strawberry soup? Award winning children’s book

We are very excited to announce that the latest addition to the Songololo imprint at Shuter & Shooter, Have you slurped strawberry soup? has been included in freelance reviewer and author Jay Heale’s  “Bookchat” Books of the year for 2014!

Have you ever slurped strawberry soup

Cover of “Have you slurped strawberry soup?”

Bookchat Awards 2014 Certificate

Bookchat Awards 2014 Certificate

This beautifully illustrated children’s book has been reviewed and has been highly recommended by Jay, it also appears on Jay Heale’s Six of the Best Picture Books You May Have Missed on the Children’s Book Network website: http://www.childrensbook.co.za/books/book-choices

Please see his Bookchat review below.

The verse text is as non-sensible as Edward Lear or Dr Seuss and just as enticing. In line with “Have you dreamed upon a star?” But the huge impact comes from Vian Oelofsen’s spacious artwork. In the past Vian has tried various styles, with several successes. Here, he is simple, articulate, whimsical, and matching the rhythmic contrasts suggested by the text and using most effective dark/light pages. A strawberry-hatted girl and a small dragon are the main characters of this Read-it-again and Let-me-look-at-it-again picture book. A recipe for strawberry soup is provided. [P]

J Rating **

An example page from Have you slurped strawberry soup?

Have you slurped strawberry soup and stared in a butterfly’s eyes?

If not, why not? Go on. Give it a try!

If not, why not? Go on. Give it a try!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicole Levin is a writer of several children’s picture books and readers. She is also an educational materials developer, drama teacher and storyteller, who delights in taking children on magical and whimsical journeys into their imaginations.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Vian Oelofsen is a published children’s book illustrator whose work is quirky and full of fun. His artwork was recently shortlisted for the MER Prize for Best Illustrated Children’s Book at the 2013 Media24 Books Literary Awards.

Some information about Bookchat and Jay Heale

The Bookchat website launched in 2008 is similarly devoted to “News and Reviews of South African children’s books” and incorporates a database of all South African children’s books in print (SACBIP) which so far contains details of over 3300 South African children’s books.

Bookchat is an independent, free source of information about children’s books (especially those originating in South Africa).

Jay Heale was a founding member of the South African Children’s Book Forum (SACBF) which is now IBBY SA. Jay has attended many IBBY Congresses, being a speaker at several. For eight years he served on the Jury of IBBY’s Hans Christian Andersen Award, first as a jury member and then as president of that jury. He was the organiser of the 2004 IBBY Congress in Cape Town. Jay is the author of many books for children and about children’s literature.

Author Nicole Levin is a well-known story teller in Cape Town and offers exciting and interactive workshops for schools.

Workshops

Have you slurped strawberry soup?
If not, why not?
Go on.
Give it a try!

ISBN 9781919888934 · Paperback · 200mm x250mm · May 2014
R66.00 (incl VAT)
Email: sylvie@shuter.co.za ∙ Tel: 033 – 846 8724 ∙ Fax: 033 – 846 8701

Click here to order your copy.

Creative writing tips : Part 1

Woman writing at desk.

Those of you who enjoy reading probably have often read a short story and thought “I can do that … in fact I am sure I could write better than that!”

You might even consider entering  creative writing competitions for schools such as the one sponsored by UKZN. Have a look at this link for more information: http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/time-of-the-writer-2015/912-18th-time-
of-the-writer-schools-short-story-competition

Here are some handy tips and useful advice to help improve your creative writing skills.

Write about things you know

When you are doing creative writing, your story should be credible (believable). The best way to make sure of this is to write about things, people or situations that you know well. It is always easier to describe something you have experienced yourself.

Characters

Short stories usually have a small cast of characters, and the main character arrives at the end of the story, having been changed by the events of the plot. Think carefully about your characters and make sure that they and their actions are believable.

Structure your work

Short stories in particular, should follow a story arc. An example of this is shown below:

Story Arc

Exposition or beginning

The background information on the characters or setting is usually explained at the beginning of a story. In most cases, the exposition forms the first part of the plot.

Rising action

This is the part of the story where conflict is introduced and things start to become complicated. The conflicts generally keep the reader interested, and wanting to find out what will happen next.

Climax

This is the most exciting part of the story. Usually this is the point at which the main character faces the biggest danger or risks losing everything. These dangers can be external or internal.

Falling action

That part of the story that happens after the climax. The problems or conflicts start to get sorted out.

Resolution or Denouement

(pronounced DAY-noo-ma)

This is the ending of the story when all the conflict comes to rest.

This wraps up the first article of our writing tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss Creative writing tips : Part 2. If you feel you have additional writing tips feel free to comment below.