Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Read the Words - Convert text to audio

Read the is a new, free, web-based service. Read the Words converts your text documents (word, pdf, html, websites, and more) to spoken word. Users of Read the Words can select from fifteen different voices and three languages in which to hear their text spoken. The conversion of text to spoken word is fast, one hour text can be converted to voice in less than a minute. The spoken text can be played in a variety of common media players for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

Applications for Educators
Read the Words has numerous uses for educators in many grade levels and content areas. Read the Words could be used in a foreign language classroom for students to practice writing in a foreign language and then hearing the result of their work.
Read the Words can help make more the text of websites or documents more accessible to struggling readers.

Free Technology For Teachers: Hooray for Free Cake! (not exactly)

Harcourt Trade Publishers is giving away for free, while supplies last, a nice kit of classroom resources to K-3 teachers. The kit provides materials to compliment the children's book, A Birthday Cake is no Ordinary Cake, written by Debra Frasier. If you're a K-3 teachers and would like to get one of these kits, click here to submit your request and learn more about the book.

I do not know anything about this book other than what I've read on the Harcourt website. Here is the synopsis of the book that Harcourt provides on their website.
Welcome aboard our spinning Earth as it travels on its immense journey around the Sun. Bring a bowl--and come along! Help collect the ingredients for a cake as big as a year, and see how every circle around the Sun . . . equals one. One what? One birthday cake!

For fifteen years, On the Day You Were Born has been the classic book to welcome new babies into the world. Now, this jubilant companion celebrates every year thereafter in the life of a child--and of our great green planet Earth.

Includes delicious cake and frosting recipes, explanations of how the years are marked in nature, and a section called "How many days to your birthday?" so kids can actually find their own special day.

Free Technology For Teachers: Internet Addiction - A Diagnosed Condition?

The March issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry has an editorial about Internet addiction. The editorial, which you can read in full here, reports that South Korea and China now have counselors trained in treating Internet addiction. South Korea reports that over 200,000 children are addicted to the Internet. This figure makes Internet addiction one of South Korea's more pressing health concerns.

The editorial does not provide data for the number of American children addicted to the Internet. None-the-less it is probably safe to say, based on raw population and Internet use data, that there are at least as many children addicted to the Internet in the United States as there are in South Korea.

What implications does this editorial contain for educators and parents? As the report the report points out two of the negative repercussions of addiction are social isolation and poor achievement. For educators and parents Internet addiction's negative repercussions are an obstacle to learning that we have to help students overcome. This presents an interesting situation for educators trying to teach with technology. Internet addiction is very real, how do educators and parents help students learn while at the same time try to teach with technology?

Read the complete editorial from The American Journal of Psychiatry here.