Tag Archives: education

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 Highlights

By Virginia — When the Digitales team went to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, they discovered that today is an exciting time to create digital content. Read the event highlights below.


Every year, the ‘Hot Spot’ digital zones at the Frankfurt Book Fair grow, creating new opportunities for discovery. Each of the following offered a daily program of demonstrations and talks:

  • Digital Innovation
  • Education
  • Professional and Scientific Information
  • Publishing Services

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Fluency Vs. Disfluency – is there a use for near-unreadable fonts?


When is a terrible, near-unreadable font a good thing? According to professor of marketing and psychology at NYU, Adam Alter, a hard-to-read font can be an indicator to the brain to slow down and results in better information retention. Alter’s talk at the Wheeler Centre last week detailed studies comparing results for test questions when presented in a fluent vs. disfluent way.

Riddle Me This

Alter uses the example of two groups of people who were each asked to answer the same riddle. For half of them the question was printed in easy-to-read font:

If a bat and ball cost $1.10 in total, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

For the other half, it was printed in hard-to-read font:

If a bat and ball cost $1.10 in total, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

Most people concluded that the bat cost $1 and the ball 10 cents. However, the bat only costs 90 cents more than the ball. So the correct answer is the ball costs 5 cents and the bat $1.05.
Of those reading the easy-to-read font only 63% responded correctly.
Of those reading a hard-to-read font, 82% answered correctly.

In another test:

How many animals of each type did Moses take aboard his ark?

How many animals of each type did Moses take aboard his ark?

When faced with the fluent text, 88% gave the incorrect answer of 2.
Of the disfluent font readers 53% were correct – Moses didn’t have an ark, Noah did.

Keeping it simple is so engrained in our minds, especially when it comes to text, but could this counter-intuitive idea have a role to play when conveying information?  What’s your take?


7 Popular Groupings of DVDs for Library Collections

Great titles, getting the mix right, budget constraints – there’s a lot on the line when selecting DVDs for a library collection. Which titles will have the widest appeal? What’s going to be popular?

We’ve put together a list of our observations on favourite groupings of DVD titles.


1. Children’s Titles

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Disney, ABC and BBC’s reputation for good quality children’s programs continues; with good exposure and well loved stories. Some of our most popular ABC/BBC titles are Fireman Sam, Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Disney is known for releasing its new titles for a limited time only. After a period of approx two years, the title is placed ‘in the vault’ and is not made available until the next re-release rotation (up to 7 years), making library copies a great option for parents wanting to access these already popular titles.

Nickelodeon titles are also worth a look for older children: Ben 10, Adventure Time and Victorious.

Early learning DVDs are popular with our children’s librarians. Titles related to early reading, animals and shapes such as Learning Opposites – First Concepts and Let’s Get Dressed – Activities.


2. Award Winners


Award winning films continue their wide appeal. For many, association with an award alone can be enough incentive to see a film. Nominations or wins raise the profile of a film and spark the interest of patrons following the movements of the film industry. Coveted awards include Oscars, Golden Globes, AFI, BAFTAs, Sundance and Cannes.

3. Blockbusters

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Blockbusters continue to be popular in any DVD collection. With a range of genres covered and high profile titles, they are often requested and anticipated by our libraries.

4. TV Series

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The number of TV Shows released in the past fifteen years that receive a cult following is astounding. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, The West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood and Arrested Development all have a very large and loyal fan base.

Binge-viewing is now a popular way of watching TV series and when watching multiple episodes of a show back-to-back, DVD serves as the perfect vehicle. Recent series’ such as Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation and Mad Men continue the trend of highly sought after viewing. But this list of popular titles would be incomplete unless we mentioned the massive popularity of book adaptations like Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Dexter, The Walking Dead and Sherlock – the book connection a hook to a ready-made audience.

Also extremely popular are the ABC and BBC TV series: Call The Midwife, Dr Who and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

5. Documentaries

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Documentary is in demand right across its sub-genres. Nature, history and true crime tend to do well, and there are so many modern, high quality titles and series coming out of Australia as well as elsewhere that have a high appeal. National Geographic and David Attenborough titles are sought after. Titles that have recently shown on TV for the first time are usually released on DVD briefly thereafter, and take advantage of the wave of marketing from the TV screening – to that end, we shall keep you up to date on ABC, BBC and SBS documentaries and non-fiction like Grand Designs, Who Do You Think You Are?, Richard Hammond’s Miracles of Nature, Tony Robinson’s Time Walks, Devil Island, Dirty Business – How Mining Made Australia, Jabbed – Love, Fear and Vaccines.

6. Instructional DVDs

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Instructional DVDs are on trend. ‘How to’ DVDs in subjects such as building, language learning, craft, cooking, painting and art do well. Also new interests, such as Paddle Boarding are sought after and good quality travel documentaries continue to be popular. Try A Journey in Watercolour, any of the Dino Lingo language DVDs, Standup Paddleboarding and Lorraine Pascale Home Cooking made Easy.

7. Australian Content

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High quality Australian content is always well sought after by our librarians, from movies to TV and documentaries – we like to see our own stories and histories portrayed on screen. Seek out Australian offerings in each of the above sections, there’s a remarkable amount of quality Australian productions in film, TV, documentary, children’s programs and more. Check out films: The Sapphires, Backyard Ashes, A Few Best Men, Tomorrow When the War Began. In TV: Offspring, The Slap, Rake, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; documentary: Art of Australia, Mary and Mohammad, Dumb, Drunk and Racist and First Australians. In children’s titles Bananas in Pyjamas, Giggle and Hoot and Hi-5.


The DES team is always available to help with selections and recommendations.


DES loves Australian content which is why the children’s DVD range, ‘Snapatoonies’ has caught our eye.
Dubbed by the producers ‘Clever Vids for Clever Kids’, Snapatoonies is an educational range of 16 early learning DVDs first released in October last year. It has already been granted 4 awards since its release and there are another 36 DVDs in the pipeline for production.
The philosophy behind the Snapatoonies learning framework is that the DVD experience parallels the experience of reading a child a book. The narrator asks questions along the way making it an interactive and engaging activity that supports and enhances learning.
This is what the producers had to say when asked to explain the concept further:
“Snapatoonies gives children fun entertaining and educational TV time, and gives parents guilt free time to do the things they need done. As a mum myself – sometimes you just need a spare 30 mins, and Snapatoonies means my child gets an engaging, discovery focused learning program while I get a much needed break – it’s a win win.DES asked about the methodology for literacy and numeracy:

Methodology is time tested and true – we mimic the story and reading time that parents and librarians share with little ones. Rather than linear learning packed into so many DVD series – we explore and discover things together as we go on our story journey. This parallels the learning parents and librarians share – noticing things around them in pages of a book, or life itself.
The Language
The Snapatoonies shows use real sentences – no baby talk or silly language, as we want to enrich children’s communication skills. By the time they have watched the shows a few times, the nuero connections are made and when they are ready to read – it just happens.
The same is true with our math program that is integrated into the shows. I wanted to make sure that children got the connection to what numbers really are. So many programs teach children to count to ten but they have no connection with what these numbers represent, and so begins a life of struggling with math.”
The philosophy sounds good to us, but you can check out a trailer of the series here.
Snapatoonies is available from DES and we would love to hear your thoughts about these innovative programs.