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Posts from the ‘epubs’ Category

Free Library of Congress eBooks for students

As more and more schools are moving away from paper textbooks and materials, teachers are working to answer the obvious question:

where can I find digital resources appropriate for kids?

If you and your building are using Mac computers or IOS devices such as iPads or iPods, at least part of the answer is the Library of Congress. The folks over there recently released six free iBooks that can be quickly downloaded and are perfect for having students interact with primary source evidence.

The Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Based on the Library’s Primary Source Sets, these new iBooks have built-in interactive tools that let students zoom in, draw to highlight details, and conduct open-ended primary source analysis.

(Aren’t an Apple school? The LOC is still an awesome place to find online and digital resources.)

The six books, Read more

History Nerd Fest 2013 – Using primary sources to create ePUBs

Saturday morning. 8:00 am. Must. Have. More. Coffee.

Steven White and Hilary Harms should not go out and buy lottery tickets. Any one who gets selected to present on Saturday morning have no luck whatsoever.

But they have an interesting topic so they should be okay. I love using primary sources and I love using iPads. Perfect storm. Plus there’s only like 10 of us awake at this hour so we’re getting some one-on-one instruction.

Steven and Hilary are sharing ideas for using primary sources to create something called a multi-genre story.The idea seems to be that an ePUB book contains both text and multimedia elements. They’re starting by showing how this type of activity is aligned with Common Core ELA standards.

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Tip of the Week: Less Paper/More Comprehension with Readability and PrintFriendly

We’re spending more time online, reading and researching with our students. We often need to print out these online resources for use as handouts or review materials. One of the problems with online research is that if you or your students print out a news article, a blog post, or just about anything on the web, the print job ends up being multiple pages that include ads and other things you don’t need.

And as more districts move to mobile devices such as iPads, the rules change even more. I often work with teachers and students who are struggling with how best to access and use online materials as learning tools. How can we use online resources such as primary source documents without using paper?

But wasting paper and time aren’t the only concerns. Ed tech folks often talk about the powerful impact that appropriate use of technology can have on learning, especially with online tools. The assumption is that web use by kids increases brain wiring—that being online makes students smarter. But we need to be careful with those sorts of assumptions.

A 2010 Wired article by Nicholas Carr does a great job of documenting what happens in our brains when we’re online. And it’s not always good. Carr discusses a wide range of research claiming that hyperlinks, especially those that live inside text, cause comprehension problems.

  • “People who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links.”
  • “It takes hypertext readers longer to read documents and they were seven times more likely to say they found it confusing.”
  • “Comprehension declines as the number of links increase—whether or not people clicked on them.”

So while online resources are powerful tools for learning, they can waste paper, be awkward to use in a mobile environment, and decrease understanding if not used appropriately. What to do? Read more

History Geek Week Session Two: Ditching the Textbook, Teaching US History 1:1

I’ve been saying this for a while now. ePUBs and digital materials will change the way we do our job as social studies teachers. Textbooks will be replaced by interactive, multimedia rich, connected to social media types of materials.

Lincoln High School (Vincennes IN) teacher Michael Hutchison began planning for ditching the traditional textbook back in the spring of 2009.They were committed and used a quote from John Kennedy as their motivation to stay the course:

Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall–and had no choice but to follow them.

November 21, 1963

They threw their hat over the wall and had to climb over.

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