From The Day’s blog – The trouble with economics

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Here’s something for you if you are interested in studying economics at university.

The Day is one of our e-resources available via your MyDulwich homepage. Loads of good stuff on all subjects, well worth a look, especially if you have a society debate coming up or are simply keen on current affairs.

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Stan Lee Excelsior Award

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The shortlist for the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award has been announced and published on the website.

The books are on order for us here in the Wodehouse Library and at Book Club last Friday there was a lot of interest from the boys in sharing views and opinions as well as joining in the fun of rating each of the shortlisted works.

You can find out more about each of the titles from the following links:

The Halloween Legion

Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z

Sherlock Bones

Earth 2: The Gathering

indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Quantum and Woody: the World’s Worst Superhero Team

The Judas Coin

Aliens: Inhuman Condition

History Study Centre

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Time line feature – very nice!

The first thing we think you should try out on the History Study Centre is the Key Events Timeline feature. Very easy to use, just scroll back through time and use the colour-coded lines to locate key events in history. Clicking on the coloured line opens a short introductory paragraph about the event the line represents and more information is available via a hyperlink if we’re curious to know more.

With next year marking 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, we delved into the coverage the History Study Centre has, starting with images. We liked the fact that we could easily access the citation information for them, removing any problems we might have faced in trying to work out how we would handle presenting this kind of bibliographic data. We would have preferred to see thumbnails rather than a text list of available images but the short descriptions were helpful, as was the way the images were explained contextually once we clicked on them.

The next thing we liked was the opportunity to create a space within the resource to store information we wanted to refer back to without having to repeat our search. Creating this space was quick and easy plus we could organise our documents into separate folders, so we didn’t have to mix up topic areas.

The Information Sources tab provided clear explanation of the History Study Centre and we also found the Monthly Theme on the homepage helpful as an introduction to the chosen topic – this December it’s the History of Science – and finally we found it easy to navigate our way through a topic using the study units.

The Economist

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One of the first recommendations made to A-level students is to make use of the press to keep up-to-date with current affairs.

Here at DC we subscribe to a range of newspapers and periodicals in print and digital formats. All digital content can be accessed via your MyDulwich homepage e-resources menu.

The Economist offers a handy Google search box on its website which means that we can swiftly find articles from its archive without having to sift through back issues (although these are available in the Reference Section of the Wodehouse Library).

Since the search is facilitated by Google we have to think smartly about the search we make in order to achieve a manageable number of results. So, for example, if we type far right politics in the search box of The Economist’s website we get 40,000 results and our search refiner tools are only ‘relevance‘ and ‘date‘ which means we need to alter our search a little.

Adding speech marks to our search term (i.e.: “far right politics“) makes Google look for the exact phrase in The Economist’s archive and reduces our results to just 80, which is still a lot but short abstracts and article titles help us to choose which results might be helpful in our research and if we’re tracing how an event or issue has progressed over time we can re-order our results by date.

Once we’ve decided an article is useful to us we can e-mail the details of it or print it, either method allowing us to keep track of the bibliographic data we need to present if we use ideas or quotes from the piece.

The Economist’s online archive goes back to the late 1990s and the website offers users access to content that wouldn’t be found in the print edition so it’s worth considering using this e-resource as a supplement to your regular reading.

Advent Window E-resources

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Every day until we break up for Christmas we’re going to be looking at one of the e-resources you can access from your MyDulwich homepage.

This is much better than having an actual advent calendar with chocolates in it. Enjoy!

Beethoven’s lost penny

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Every last penny seems important at Christmas time so we thought we’d make Beethoven’s lost penny the topic of our first Advent Window E-resource.

Choosing an appropriate e-resource was fairly straight forward: Oxford Music Online (OMO) is a gateway for information from a range of sources. Here at DC our online subscription includes Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of Music and The Oxford Companion to Music.

The OMO homepage offers browse options as well as a search box, which is where we started using the search term: ‘Beethoven’s lost penny’.

OMO returns 6 hits for our search term to Google’s 1,4000,000 so for getting started with our research into Beethoven’s lost penny OMO offers an efficient route to reliable information because OMO draws on the work of experts. A simple Google search leaves us having to critically assess each link we choose, so the time we could spend reading about our topic is eaten up in deciding whether or not to trust the information in the first place. Remember, too, that when you are compiling your bibliography you want to demonstrate that you chose your sources intelligently and you also want your teachers to be able to retrieve the same information you did so that your arguments can be seen to stand up under scrutiny.

Okay, so back to our 6 OMO results. Straightaway we can see that they are categorised into biography and subject entries and the source of each result is shown along with an abstract where available.

We can e-mail our search results using a short form – again a valuable bibliographical tool that we should make use of – or we can print the results so that we have a record of the search terms and the sources of information we’ve used.

The results page offers a menu of further search refiners and once we’ve clicked on a result we are taken directly to the part of the page where words from our search term appear. Scrolling down, we can also see the bibliography for the articles and the author name. Back at the top of the article page, we again have options to print and e-mail the information plus there’s a ‘cite’ tool which means we can export the bibliographic data we need to avoid plagiarism and present a comprehensive bibliography with our work.

All we need to do now is read the articles and learn about Beethoven’s lost penny!

Free Learning Day, November 2013

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Thursday 14th November 2013 was Free Learning Day for DC’s Year 10 boys. The theme was “Who killed Christopher Marlowe?”

After a very interesting talk from barrister Mark Gatley, the coroner’s report on Marlowe’s death was read to Year 10 in preparation for the day’s activities, which included sword fighting and forensic discovery.

In the Wodehouse’s Inner Room, Mr Fletcher’s groups used the book The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories to analyse  the facts surrounding the death of Marlowe and some of the theories that have grown up around the story. Following this they looked at the deaths of some other significant figures that have become the subject of conspiracists including Malcolm X, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe. Boys were divided between those who thought that there might be some truth in the theories and those that thought people believe what they want to believe and sometimes look for deeper meanings in events than are warranted.

In the IT Area Mrs Stein’s groups looked to the internet, using links stored on our Delicious bookmarks page to help them decide whether they believed the official version of events, i.e.: that Christopher Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer in a row over a bill.

Much lively discussion flowed from our reading with most groups deciding that they didn’t believe that Marlowe was killed as a result of a simple row over a bar bill, indeed, many doubted whether Marlowe really did die at Eleanor Bull’s establishment. His death was faked, said some, whilst others were persuaded by the idea that he was killed to protect information about his friends that he might have given up under torture!

Boys asked some excellent questions about their web-based research, comparing facts between sites and noticing differences. All the groups contributed keywords based on their reading which have been added to a tag cloud you can see here:

Tagxedo cloud

Upstairs in the Archives and in the Masters’ Library, Mrs Lucy, Mrs Cerio and Mr Weaver’s groups spent some time studying three key archival documents and their relevance to the staging of Christopher Marlowe’s plays. The College’s founder, Edward Alleyn, took the lead role in some of these plays. The Archives holds the Costume Inventory* which holds a costume for the Duke of Guise from The Massacre at Paris and one for Faustus from Dr Faustus. Henslowe’s Diary** which notes all the plays, their performance dates and box office takings was also examined as was the Platte, or plot, of the Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins.***

*MS I f44

**MS VII

***MS XIX