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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Google Books for Android Gets Handy Updates

Google Books for Android has become my go-to reading app on my Nexus 7 and on my Galaxy Tablets over the last year. The wealth of free public domain books that I can find on Google Books appeals to my cheapskate frugal nature. I also like that I can search for and synch books across my computers and tablets.

Yesterday, Google released a couple of great updates to Google Books for Android. Now when you're reading a book from Google Play Books on your Android device you can highlight the name of a place to quickly find a Google Map for that location. Another new feature to note is a built-in dictionary. To use the dictionary highlight and hold a word. Finally, Google Books for Android now has highlighting and annotating options. You can now highlight words or phrases by clicking and holding on them. Then you can choose your highlighter color and start typing notes associated with your highlights.

Applications for Education
The new updates to Google Books for Android could prove to be great tools for students to use. Your students can use the highlighting and note-taking options to jot down their questions and thoughts while  reading a text you've assigned to them. For example, I might have students in my U.S. History course read a section of The Federalist Papers and while reading write down questions that they need answers to or write comments that they will refer to later during a classroom discussion. I have done a similar thing in my honor courses with paper copies of The Federalist Papers in the past, but now students can access their notes and questions wherever they are. Not to mention the dictionary option will help students quickly access clarifying information as they read.

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