eReaders may help people with dyslexia

CNN reports: People with dyslexia may have an easier time reading on an eReader than using traditional paper, a new study published today in the journal PLOS One suggests. Researchers say the idea for the study came out of anecdotal reports they were hearing from dyslexics who said they never read for pleasure before smartphones and eReaders enabled them to start. “They said it was a much more comfortable experience,” said Jenny Thomason, a study author who worked at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education at the time. “We wanted to take a closer look.”

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Go ahead and freak out about the school with no books

The Atlantic Wire reports that an all-digital school means no more books, no more heavy backpacks full of textbooks, and no more lockers to store those books. It also means saying goodbye to a lot high school accoutrements like highlighters, pens, and notebooks. And it’s already becoming a reality at an all-boys Catholic school in New York. “No one else in the country has this,”  Lisa Alfasi, an account manager at Pearson, a tech/educational company told USA Today. Pearson partnered with Archbishop Stepinac High School in West Plains, N.Y. and helped turn the school into one of the country’s few all-digital schools. Stepinac’s K-12 students are now connected, either through tablet or laptop, to the school’s library and have access to 40 textbooks needed for any class, “not to mention all sorts of note-taking, highlighting and interactive features.”

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eBooks could be the future of social media

In the future, eBooks will act just like social networks, Co.LABS reports. We’ll use them on our phones, share and comment right inside e-reader apps, and publishers will use our data to help them make better marketing decisions. If you think digital reading is exploding now, just wait. “I’ll give up my printed books when you pry the last one from my cold, dead hands.” That’s what I tell people when they ask me what kind of e-reader I have. As a technology journalist, author, and novelist, they expect me to own the latest Kindle or be an iBooks aficionado, and most seem genuinely shocked when I tell them I like my books on paper…

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School libraries: A shift to digital

With increased collaboration comes a growing need for expanded resources in libraries

school-librariesThe school library is changing. Instead of a stuffy and silent space filled with books, today’s school libraries are becoming collaboration centers, where teachers and librarians work together to help students develop technology skills and evaluate digital information.

Over the past decade, studies have shown that students in schools with endorsed librarians earn higher scores on standardized reading tests, and those scores are higher regardless of students’ socioeconomic level and despite overall school staffing declines.

A 2012 Institute of Museum and Library Services study that spanned 10 years analyzed library conditions and their impact on learning and literacy development in two Philadelphia neighborhoods. The researchers found that, when comparing a poor community with an affluent community, “children with early access to print and technology continue to build and gain knowledge. Children who don’t have early access enter school far behind and are taught the ‘basics.’”…Read More

Creating your own eTextbooks for Common Core

Creating eTextbooks might be easier than you think.

In an effort to save schools and districts money that’s often spent on outdated textbooks, many of which are not aligned with the Common Core State Standards, innovative educators and administrators are using online resources to create customized eTextbooks.In a recent webinar, “Create Your Own Textbooks for the Common Core,” Nicole Rothbauer, an intervention specialist for Salem City Schools in Ohio, detailed how her district didn’t want to spend money on old textbooks that didn’t reflect the Common Core State Standards.

“Common Core really pushes students to build a deeper understanding of content and effectively apply learning within and across disciplines,” she said. “It was time to take action.”

(Next page: Administrative support and first steps)…Read More

How are classrooms implementing mobile technology?

Supporters note that mobile technology boosts student engagement.

Advocates of mobile technology in the classroom say that devices such as tablets and smart phones boost student engagement and offer a way to personalize learning for each student. Now, a new survey takes a look at the extent to which mobile technology has penetrated classrooms, and reveals what’s keeping some districts from forging ahead with mobile technology deployments.

Across the globe, tablet sales have soared since 2012 and are expected to top laptop and desktop sales by 2015, according to Gartner research. More than one-third of U.S. teenagers own a smart phone, and nearly one-quarter–23 percent–have a tablet, and parents have reported that they believe their students’ reading and math skills improved while using mobile devices and related applications.

Interactive Educational Systems Design conducted an online survey of K-12 district technology and media leaders in May of 2013. The survey focused on the current and future levels of mobile technology adoption in schools; the most significant hurdles to mobile technology adoption; access to mobile technology in the classroom; bring your own device (BYOD) policies; interest in purchasing tablets for student use; the types of mobile devices that have been adopted or will be adopted for student instruction; and more.…Read More

Study: Students perform well regardless of reading print or eBooks

NDTV reports that students do equally well on a test whether reading from a digital book or a printed one, a new study has found. Research by an Indiana State University doctoral student surveyed more than 200 students. Half of the students used a tablet to read a textbook chapter while the other half of the students read from a printed textbook chapter. The students then took an open book quiz with eight easy and eight moderate questions on the chapter. “Few people have done a lot of research into what I’m doing. Mine directly ties performance with perception by undergraduates,” said Jim Johnson, who is also director of instructional and information technology services in the Bayh College of Education…

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Amazon updates iOS Kindle reading app for blind, visually impaired

Amazon on Wednesday updated its Kindle for iOS reading app with new accessibility features that will help blind and visually impaired users navigate their Kindle library as well as read and interact with books, PC Mag reports. The new features are available on the iOS app today, and will be making their way to other platforms in the future, Amazon said. The update includes a new read-aloud feature for more than 1.8 million titles in the Kindle Store. The feature leverages Apple’s VoiceOver technology, which enables users to interact with their device when they can’t see the screen. To activate, enable VoiceOver in the device settings menu. “We’re excited to introduce these new features to our Kindle for iOS app, making it easier than ever for our blind and visually impaired customers to access the vast selection of over 1.8 million books in the Kindle Store on their iPhone or iPad,” Dorothy Nicholls, vice president of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement…

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In Utah’s digital shift, students turning the page on traditional textbooks

On a typical day, the only thing ninth-grader Jonah Warnick carries in his backpack is a binder, the St. Louis Tribune reports. That’s because at his school, North Davis Junior High in Clearfield, students often use online texts on iPads and netbooks. Textbooks still line classroom shelves, but, to students, they’re just one of many resources, not tomes to be pored over every night, hauled back and forth from home. “I love it,” Warnick said. “It’s a lot easier to organize stuff. Things are much easier to find.”

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Teachers: Ed-tech boosts students’ abilities, self-sufficiency

Technology’s potential to aid teaching and learning when properly implemented and used is widely agreed upon, and teachers say that ed-tech has the potential to both positively and negatively impact students’ learning. A new infographic from Teacher Portal chronicles the emergence of ed-tech in today’s K-12 classrooms.

Teachers said that ed-tech tools offer numerous advantages and can help boost student learning and engagement. For instance, eReaders help students annotate text, reduce paper use, and a text-to-speech function helps students with vision problems or language barriers.

Seventy-three percent of teachers and students use cell phones in class and for assignments, followed by 66 percent using digital cameras, 55 percent using digital video recorders, 45 percent using eReaders, and 43 percent using tablets.…Read More