Subtext: For Sharpening and Expanding Language Arts Skills | Edudemic

Holy moly! Another exciting app that does something extremely useful! Subtext is a “collaborative digital reading app”. You can log in with your google account, download a text from google books (hey English teachers- I think Shakespeare season is coming up!), annotate it, embed videos, quizzes, notes and then share it with your class! How exciting is that! Take a look at this, yet another thorough review from the Edudemic staff!

(My review of this app forthcoming!)

Source: www.edudemic.com

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Awesome infographic illustrating how students use textbooks

Via educatorstechnology.com

I gotta figure out how to make me some infographics.

A Look at Students Using eTextbooks

What I find most interesting is that the best feature for students was searchability, not the fancy bells and whistles. This is a good reminder that the iPad is best used as a tool- it is there to make our lives easier.

 

Thoughts on the iPad as an Ereader

For all my iPad puttering, I had yet to read a whole book on it. So when a coveted YA title from net galley tantalizingly appeared in my inbox, I though I would give it a try.

Now, the reason I haven’t tried it  is not because I am against Ereaders. I just spend my days with thousands of print books I haven’t read yet. Oh, and I also like to read in the bath.

Bluefire

But I finally pushed my print pile of to-reads aside and read an ARC from Netgalley (it took me so long to get to it, it is no longer an advanced reading copy- it is out in stores). Netgalley works only on Bluefire Reader on the iPad so I used that app instead of ibooks.

So. Did I enjoy it?

To be honest, reading was never about the physical page for me. Once a story grips me, it could be written on a napkin with ketchup ink and I wouldn’t notice. Once I got the hang of how the pages turn and how to lock the screen orientation (it was really annoying how it kept switching from portrait to landscape whenever I switched positions) it was fine:

I liked how you could take notes with it- I review a lot of books and will review this one, and never take notes because I am not organized enough to keep a pen and paper handy whenever I flip open a book:

The big issue for me personally though, is the amount of screen time I already log in a day. I spend at least seven hours a day, five days a week in front of the computer. The last thing I want to do when I am relaxing is stare at another screen. I also found the iPad a little awkward to take to bed with me (not in a dirty way, sheesh) and that is about the only time I get to read these days – five minutes before I fall asleep, iPad dangling precariously over the side of my bed.

Still, I like the option. And I think there are many perks in terms of reading for class. Taking notes, not being able to forget your book because it is in the same place as your, well everything- these are very useful things.

What is your opinion? Do you like reading on the iPad?

Ebooks and Audiobooks at the BAnQ!

I checked the BAnQ‘s site a while ago for their collection of Ebooks and wasn’t that impressed. But that was before they had Overdrive and Numilog Jeunesse!

Overdrive is a database of ebooks and audiobooks. You check them out just as you would a book. The borrowing time is the same as a physical copy- when the three weeks are over- it disappears from your computer. Oh- it also works like a physical copy in that only one person can borrow it at a time.

Et pour nos petites étudiantes qui disent qu’elles n’ont jamais rien à lire à la bibliothèque en français, il y’a maintenant une base de donnée de livres numériques et livres audio en français exclusivement pour les jeunes, Numilog-Livres Jeunesse:

Et si nos petites choux sont un peu plus avancés dans leur lecture, il y’a aussi une base de données de livres en français adultes:

They also have a whole list of other ebooks available- check out their list:

REMEMBER: all usage of these wonderful resources must be individual. According to the license, you can encourage your students to use this service, but you can’t use it in your class.

Having said that, I am pretty stoked about this- I might even be able to finally cancel my audible account and get books for free!

Gotta go now- gonna download me some Game of thrones!

The Holy Grail of e-Textbooks

I am not a quick thinker. I never have a suitable comeback when the moment presents itself. It takes me a long time to process logistic questions. So when I was presented with the possibility of the school going iPad, I couldn’t quite understand why. Why an iPad? At the time, it seemed like a glorified e-reader.

But during these last couple of months when I have been exploring the capabilities, I have realised it is so much more. The ability to research, read, and create, as well as enhance learning with a myriad of apps is mind-blowing. However, I still  believe that its crowning achievement will be when the students will have all their textbooks on one device.  I envision the textbooks as interactive, allowing for linked content to more information, dictionaries at the tip of a finger, and note taking capabilities right beside the text.

It was this article that got me thinking about this again.

I am hoping to check out the availability of e-textbooks as well as the subscription information as soon as things calm down around here.

I was curious about whether any school in Canada had begun to purchase etextbooks and after some internet rummaging I came across this article about CDI College campuses using etextbooks (although I think it might be more of an online promotion for CDI College than an actual article.)

 I know in the States however, there are several districts looking in to the possibility of transitioning to etextbooks.

eTextbooks and Education Apps: iPads enter the Classroom by Whitney Ijem via the singularity hub.

Many U.S. School adding iPads, trimming textbooks by Stephanie Reitz, Associated Press.

Of course, these are just the results of a quick google search, just enough to whet your appetite for more information (see how I spun my lack of time as a design decision? I know. Totally had you fooled, didn’t I?).

To be continued…

How to Convert Ebooks into Another Format

Not my most snappy post title, but nonetheless a useful piece of knowledge. Today I had a visit from the art teacher.  She is going to Toronto for the weekend and thought it would be a good time to try out the ipad. The proud owner of another e-reader, she wanted to transfer her ebook, which was in the .mobi file, to the ipad. Alas, ibooks doesn’t read the.mobi file. Before she plummeted to the depths of despair, I asked her to send me the file and to see what I could dig up.

All the forums led me to a hand piece of free software called Calibre, billed as the one-stop shop for all your ebook needs. I downloaded the software onto my computer, opened up Caliber and added the file to my Caliber library:

Then choose your file and go to the “Convert Books” icon:

Choose convert individually, unless you have many ebooks you need to convert. Choose the format you would like to have it converted to:

Then you can send it to yourself, save it to your desktop or even sync it directly to your device as long as your device is hooked up to the computer.

Easy peasy!!!!