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Showing posts from May, 2011

The eBook and the Dictionary

I was just reading today how Google Books (in the Flowing text view), now has an option that lets you look up the word in the dictionary or have the word translated. I think that such tools are very important and actually increase the chances that a student would look up a word that they are unfamiliar with. Back when I taught middle school, we used to keep a collection of dictionaries on the side of the class, and realistically they were never used by my student, even in our textbooks, unless they were doing a vocabulary exercise there wasn't a lot of turning to the back of the book. I'm often surprised by how much students read without knowing all the words. This was shown to me when I had an undergraduate class work to create an audiobook version of Tarzan. Students were constantly noting words that they either didn't know or know how to pronounce as they read the text aloud. An issue with looking words up in a dictionary or glossary is the disruption that occurs to hav…

Snow Day eBook

While not actually an ebook issue, this concept is one that does support the ebook application. Where I live we don't have snow days, but we do have storm days, such as hurricane/tropical storm days, that can cause schools to be shut down before (if it ever) gets here. Most students would only take home a book for a class if that book  was needed to do some homework or other assignment. Considering the an average weight for a textbook to be about 3.5 pounds and a student having six classes a day that would amount to  21 pounds just for the textbooks that the student would have to carry home in anticipation of a possible storm closure. That doesn't take into account other materials, such as their own notebooks, calculators, etc. If schools switched to digital textbooks then a single device, such as Amazon's Kindle (0.5 lbs), would be able to contain all the associated textbooks along with other readings, and a student would be able to carry it on a regular basis - which wou…

Survey Analysis: Consumer Digital Reading Preferences Reveal the Exaggerated Death of Paper

A study (titled above) found that acceptance of digital text is growing, such as with iPad users. For people with such devices, the times spent reading digital texts now equals about the time spent on paper-based text. These devices are now seen as being easer to use and most find them just as readable as printed text.

I'm often surprised at how many people see text as some kind of dichotomous event. While in the long run we may perhaps see a major tapering off, I don't understand this Death of Paper concept. When automobiles became common, it didn't mean that there were no more horses used overnight, but instead that there was a gradual shift from horse power to internal combustion. And still today there are horses used in pubic transportation (I live near the nations oldest city and they have a large carriage trade).

If you can remember the first computer monitors and the issues that they had, the green color, the dots, and the flickering, and then look at how much they …

Chromebook has books

Google just recently announced the Chromebook for schools. This web device would be available to schools at a rate of $20/per student device. This would possible open in an affordable and adaptable system real one-to-one computing for students. The devices that are available via the Chromebook for Education program will have 3G and wireless capabilities, meaning that it will be able to tie into existing wifi school network, and when that isn't available use the 3G cell network system, which is important for students may not have access to the Internet at home. But beyond the classroom and home this device would open up education for a lot of other places. Students could use the device while on field trips, doing labs, at the beach, in the bus, pretty much anywhere. And of course one of the apps would be Google Books, so this would also open up a portable library too. Chrome though does need to develop a better interactive reading program, something more like Kindle, so that studen…