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Showing posts from 2014

Disadvantaged Boys and Ebooks

I've always felt that anything that attracts kids to reading it a good thing. From getting them to read books about movies that they have seen, to using their own interests and experiences, and technology. I remember in many of my middle school classes that there were many more girls carrying books to read for themselves than boys. And the study reported here notes that same that: "twice as many boys as girls look at or read online stories for longer than they read traditional books (24 per cent compared to 12 per cent)." It also reminds me about the studies concerning video gaming, that more boys were attracted to those than girls (although there was controversy concerning the types of games created and who they appealed to). One thing that was found out from gaming was that even boys at the time were showing increased communication activity as they talked, wrote, and shared about how to play the game with others. Here is another tech experience that seems to be attrac…

The Ebook and the Sickroom

The news today, as for the past weeks has big focus on ebola, and not to make light of such a deadly virus, but it does seem to be mostly news scaring and commentary, versus actual information. For most schools Flu is a more deadly situation as the CDC puts the average number of annual deaths in the United States somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000. But thinking about contagions and what I experienced as a middle and high school science teacher and certified school media specialist reminded me of a few more of the reasons that I do love ebooks. As an educator in a school you do see transfer, as the number of students sick with something grows and then declines (often effecting the teachers too) as the school is a microcosm of which I would see 150 a day (not counting lunch, hallway, and bus duty) out of a population of a few thousand .  A few years ago when I was a judge in a regional science fair I found a really interesting project done my a young girl. She had done a study of schoo…

Some Horrific Reading - something to read for Halloween/Day of the Dead

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.  (Edgar Allan Poe)

Just in case you need a little scary reading. I'm a strong believer in personal reading choice to encourage reading. I look back and see all the books that I read in Junior and Senior High School, and the ones that I remember most are the ones that I wanted to read. So if your students are looking for a little horror or scary reading now, then lets support them in their reading desires and guide them to some good books that they might not have noticed before. We could show them the classics that everyone may have heard of, seen the movie, but may never actually read (ie books such as Dracula & Frankenstein), and then there are others from famous author but stories that they have never heard of  such as Robert Louis Stevenson"The Body Snatcher" or Robert E. Howard, who is famous for his Conan stories, but also wrote a number of frightening horror stories too (see W…

Art Project VI

It's been a while, but today I felt like adapting some more classic art to include ereaders. 
Reading Little Women from her iPad, This is Our Corner by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (Dutch-English, 1836-1912)
Reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears with her Nexus, Seymour Joseph Guy's  The Story of Golden Locks (American, 1824-1910)

Saving money as a method of change

I don't usually feel that savings should be the end all reason for changing how a school runs, but I do understand the pressure. I'm sure that we have all experienced situations where, at some point in our lives, we had to cut back on expenses to be successful (read not-fail).  I'm sure that everyone has also had experience with the spend money to save money aspect also, such as when you buy a more efficient air conditioner or water heater that ends up saving enough to pay for itself after a few years. For many though, textbooks are sacrosanct elements of schools, after all textbooks in their current form have existed for centuries, and moving to a new format is a major paradigm shift for many.  But, this shift seems to be a must change, as the world moves deeper into the information age, then to should the experiences be more authentic to the way that people will access information (beyond just school). Think about your own behaviors recently, when you needed to look some…

DYI Textbook

To quote Mr. Bigweild, "See a need, fill a need," and that would be how I came to construct a textbook for middle school students to use as a prep tool for their middle school science FCAT exam. While working on another project with the school district science curriculum coordinator it came up that students had an issue of having to take a text that covered three years worth of content, but only had access to the last year's material in the class that they were in. Apparently some people had been asking for review material to provide to the students, but there wasn't currently a comprehensive text that they could use. This science assessment is given to all students in eight grade. The science assessment includes life science, physical and chemical science, earth and space science, and scientific critical thinking questions. This test is actually only quasi-high stakes for student, as the main use of the test is for placement purposes; such as if a student does do p…

Being Reading Active

There are a number of ways to integrate technology with reading, from the content you or your group may be reading, such as digital books, to activities around the reading, like mapping
or making booktalks, or even to how you might be discussing a book. While many might like their book clubs to get together in person, have a nice snack and talk about the story, don't forget those who may have a love of more esoteric genres and can't find many people in their area who don't really want to talk about paranormal romance, military science fiction, or perhaps novels written around 1910. Then too there are those who can't get someplace to talk about their books. I know that when I was a child in hospital, I would have loved to have the opportunity to talk or write about what I was reading with others who liked that book. So as you might be developing readings or associated activities don't forget to consider the three dimensions that students can interact using technolo…

Ebooks for Elementary Schools

Just heard from one of my publishers that my Ebooks for Elementary School books will be out soon.
It is a combination reference, tutorial, and strategy guide will help all teachers and school librarians to effectively use the reading applications described, regardless of the classroom computing platform.

eBooks offer students as well as teachers, school and public librarians, and parents tremendous possibilities. This book explains how to expand and enhance the reading experience through the use of technology.

Today, eBooks are everywhere, and the use of digital learning materials is beginning to supplant traditional printed materials. As the world shifts to digital books, both teachers and students need to be comfortable and effective using materials in this format. This book helps you to apply eBook materials to existing curricula to create interactive educational activities and have access to more materials to support reading instruction, literacy, standards, and reading in the conte…

Total Recall for a Reading Record

I've just been reading Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think and was on the passage about Total Recall and that made me think about how ebooks and related technologies are having the impact of remembering on me. I've been using LibraryThing for a while, and while initially it took a long time to get my print collection in, it isn't much of an effort to add a book or two a week. But now when I'm trying to remember something that I've read, I'll usually turn to my LibraryThing page to see if I can remember from the cover of the book where it came from, or as the books have been added (usually) my reading order, I can go back in time to see what I was remembering when - such as knowing I read it when I was visiting Denver. The point being is that my LibraryThing account is my Total Recall of what I'm reading. If I read a library book, it goes in the collection, if I read a free Kindle book, it goes in the collection, and if I listen to an audiobook, it g…

Needing school librarians

While I am a proponent of electronic book, that doesn't mean I have no feeling for printed book, I care for them too, after all I have my own print collection of a few thousand copies. I'm also a supporter of libraries; digital and brick & mortar. It's important to remember that libraries are more than just the collection or the building (or network space) it is also made up of an important group of people: librarians - those people who take care of the collection and do so much more. What some seem to forget amount school libraries though is that in a school the librarian does so much more than just shelve books, check out books, and cull the collection. There are the ones responsible for displays within the library to attract new readers or to new books, do book talks to get students in other books (book talks have shown major impacts on circulation of selected book) and there is the personal interaction with students, guiding them to books an authors, or assisting r…

Current State of Reading - PEW 2014

I was just reading the PEW report concerning reading in 2013. With just the base facts: 3 in 10 adults read an ebook; half own a tablet or e-reader; 92% of adults own a cell phone (majority as smart phone); and the typical American (who read a book) read five books over the last year, but that only 4% of readers are digital only.



First and foremost, I'm happy about the five, but only become from other studies I had heard, it was a lower number, so in that way five is a plus, over something like one. In looking closely at the foot notes though I found these two to be interesting.

3-  Though the mean represents the average number of books read, this number can be skewed by a relatively small number of very avid readers; this is why it is so much higher than the median, which shows the midpoint number of books read and therefore is a better measure of what the “typical” American’s reading habits look like.
4-  Among only adults who did read a book in the past year, the mean is 16 bo…

Reading with other Languages

A recent LA Times article (see link and more at bottom of post) writes about how ebook had help increase Spanish-language literature reading. Am I am sure that it did just that. One issue that I always had was finding books for my students to read in their own native language, this was something close to me as I experiences a similar loss in my youth. As an elementary student I started school in Italy, and while I went to school on a military base, we didn't live on base but instead in the local community. Even when I went on base the reading materials were not focused to my reading levels (although there were books available from our school library), but when not in session, we didn't have access to the school library. As such there were not many children's books available. One good thing then was that it did help make be learn to also read in Italian, but on the other hand for English there just wasn't much there. Then once we came back the the States (years later),…

Reasons for Eink

I realize how adaptable tablets and computers are and how much that they can do, but there are still reasons to use an eink device with your schools and textbooks. One big reason in the classroom would be battery life, that month on a charge ensures that the device will be working and then also if a students does stop it won't be all of them. For tablets, my worry about power would be for the teacher at the end of the day, if the students have been movie watching during lunch it could be quite possible for a good number of them to be it of charge by the end of the day. Then there is reading itself. There have been studies that have shown that reading with eink shows the same effects in the brain as reading from paper, but tablets are different, not necessarily bad, just different. Then too, that power issue come up again for extended reading, think an hour at a time. We want students to get into flow and close reading, and eink devices are good for that. Eink devices like the kind…