Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

Mobile devices: Ebook readers

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

This is a part of a series on mobile devices available for learning.


These basic devices are intended for reading ebooks and not much more. (We’ve included the more sophisticated devices from the same manufacturers in our post on tablets.)

Credit: Corey Harris

Credit: Corey Harris

Manufacturers and models:




  • Enhanced features for reading, including variable display, dictionary support, search, notetaking, etc.
  • Low cost
  • Long battery life
  • Single use (minimizes distraction)
  • Wireless not required


  • Single use

Killer applications:

  • Ebooks

Things to consider and some opinions:

  • These devices are designed for reading ebooks. If you want a device that does more, consider a tablet.
  • While the use of these devices is limited, they are good at what they do. Not having access to a ton of other apps can also help students focus on reading. Having a few of these devices in a classroom or making them available for checkout from the library is a great way to encourage reading and provide some extra features like vocabulary support, searching, and variable display options.

New free ebooks

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

We are pleased to announce a new collection of ebooks, especially written for elementary and middle school, that are free and open licensed.

These books include subjects in ELA, math, social studies, and science and are formatted in web, Kindle, and EPUB versions.

We’ll be adding more titles to this collection over time.



Interesting moves by Amazon

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Amazon made several interesting moves with the Kindle this week.

First, they caved on the decision to include text-to-speech in the Kindle 2. Instead of making it a built-in feature, they will leave the decision to turn text-to-speech on up to publishers on a title-by-title basis.

This is a blow to education and really a ridiculous move (although perhaps understandable from a business standpoint since publishers were applying pressure and they are a key partner to Amazon). Text-to-speech technology has existed in commercial applications for over 25 years and represents absolutely no copyright infringement. I hope that various constituencies will weigh in on this and bring pressure as has been done with DRM.

In another much anticipated move, Amazon is making ebooks available to iPhone and other mobile device users. This only makes sense. Amazon is hedging its bets by making its’ best-of-class ebook system available on the hottest mobile device on the market.

While one might question whether Amazon ever should have got into the hardware business, I hope this doesn’t mean the end for the Kindle hardware. It is a sweet device and offers ebook reading functionality superior to any mobile device (including ipods, Palms, etc.). I, for one, would really miss it in its current and possible future incarnations.

Integrating handhelds

Monday, October 20th, 2008

This is a short presentation on integrating handhelds into the classroom intended for teachers who have some familiarity with handhelds and want to use them more effectively with their students. It also features a list of some of the best freeware available.

News on a couple of my favorite tech tools

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The price on the Kindle has just dropped to $359. I continue to love this device. Getting the New York Times whenever and wherever I want it is such a luxury. And the wireless has worked everywhere I’ve tried it, including rather remote areas of several states. I also like being able to email various types of docs to my Kindle to read when I have time.

Also, the Flip camera folks have a new model out the Mino. It is quite a bit smaller than the Ultra.

Creative has come out with their own pocket video camera, the Vado, which looks a lot like the popular Flip. I’m so happy with my Flip that I can’t imagine switching, though the Vado is a bit cheaper.

Kids ebooks on the Kindle

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I am very happy with how easy it is to get ebooks to the Kindle and with the compatibility of Mobipocket (unencrypted) ebooks.

The K12 Handhelds ebook library works with no changes at all (and they look beautiful — much more readable than on a handheld).

In addition to Mobipocket and Kindle ebooks, the Kindle will read Word docs, HTML, text files, JPGs, GIFS, BMPs, and PNGs. You can transfer files by USB, SD card, or the EVDO wireless. I think this always-available free wireless is one of the best features of this device.

Stay tuned for more on how “always-available” it is as I travel around. :)

Free online workshop

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Well, the workshop on “Using Mobile Technology to Differentiate Instruction” that I wrote about earlier is pretty well finished. I’m really happy with the content in it and think this is a great resource for schools using mobile tech and looking for resources.

I’ve structured this in a wiki, and it is intended to be used for either a face-to-face workshop or as an online self-guided learning experience.

This is licensed under a CC BY SA license, so you are free to use it for your own purposes as well.

This is my first attempt at using a wiki to facilitate both a F2F workshop and a self-guided experience. If you go through it, let me know what you think.

Differentiating Professional Development

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

In my on-going quest to differentiate instruction for teachers as a part of workshops I do, I’ve been experimenting with using blogs and wikis as PD tools.

The latest installment in this is a hands on workshop on using mobile technology to differentiate instruction (coincidentally) that I am outlining in a wiki. I’m hoping that this wiki will also be able to be used as a self-study tool for those who aren’t at the workshop (or for those who attend and want a refresher or more in-depth learning later on).

Here’s a preview of a section on using ebooks.

We’ll be using this at my “HANDS ON: Using Mobile Technology to Differentiate Instruction” at NCETC on Mon., Nov. 26. If you’ll be there, I’m really looking forward to this. (This is a bring-your-own-laptop-and-mobile-device workshop. Contact me for more info.)

If not, stay tuned for the final version of this. I’ll post a note when it’s done (or as near to done as wikis get :).

Animal Alphabet

Friday, July 6th, 2007

As a part of the fun I’m having contributing to Wikijunior (part of Wikibooks, offering free, open content textbooks), I’ve taken an animal alphabet book there and made video and ebook versions of it.

They’re available for viewing and download here.

There are versions for the desktop, various handhelds, iPods, and even a Mobipocket ebook version. (One of the not-fun things about creating video is all the format issues. I think we’ve put about everything up here, but let me know if anything’s been missed.)

If you haven’t ventured into the world of contributing to wikis, Wikijunior is a great place to start. (Try the Human Body book or Ancient Civilizations.) The more people who contribute to these free “copyleft” resources, the better they will be. If you’re not sure how to start, try something small like fixing an error or just adding a couple sentences. It’s a lot of fun!

Differentiating Instruction with Mobile Technology

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

At NECC last week, I presented a session called “Using Mobile Technology to Differentiate and Enrich Instruction.” The ISTE folks had wanted to podcast the session, but I wasn’t crazy about the legal agreement they were using. (It wasn’t Creative Commons and gave pretty extensive rights to Apple.)

So….I created my own digital version of this session for folks to download:

Video version (streaming, for viewing in a browser; loads faster, but lower quality)

If anyone is interested in a higher resolution version to share with folks who weren’t able to attend, email me, and I’ll try to send you a CD.

For those who are interested, I audio recorded this with a very inexpensive Olympus WS-100 pocket recorder. I edited the audio in Audacity and brought it all into Windows Movie Maker for editing. The visuals included exported jpgs from my presentation slides and screen-capture videos made with Camstudio. I used HandShare to create the Palm movies (which is the same software I used to present). Creating the whole thing took about 4 hours.

It was a lot of fun making this and was a good way to reflect on my own style of presenting (and hopefully refine it for upcoming events).

I hope this is a useful resource for you all.