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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Free Summer PD from C-SPAN Classroom

I just received an email from C-SPAN reminding me of a great free PD opportunity that they offer for teachers in the U.S. during the summer.  The Summer Educators' Conference is a free event happens on July 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C. You do have to apply to participate. If accepted, C-SPAN covers all costs of attendance including airfare and lodging. The focus of the conference is on using C-SPAN's vast digital archives to develop lessons for social studies. You can find all of the details including the application, here.

3 Places to Find Online Talking Children's Storybooks

This post is born out of a request for help from someone that I met at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta. She was looking for some free online talking storybooks to use in her grade 1 class. I didn't have anything coming to mind right off, so I searched Diigo and my blog archives to find these three places to find and free online talking children's storybooks.

MeeGenius is a nice source of free and paid ebooks for kids. There are lots of sites that offer the same thing as MeeGenius but MeeGenius distinguishes itself with one excellent feature. That feature is automatic word highlighting to accompany the narration of each book. When children open the ebooks online, on an Android tablet, or on an iPad they can choose to have the story read to them or to read the story on their own. When the story is read to them each word in the story is highlighted on the page. This should help children follow along with the story.

The Woodlands Junior School is a school website based in the UK. I've previously featured their site as a good place to find educational games for elementary age students. In my search yesterday, I discovered that they also have a nice collection of links to free online talking storybooks.

Magic Keys is another site with a good collection of talking picture books for children. Magic Keys seemed a bit tricky to navigate at first so I would recommend that you use it to find storybooks for your students rather than sending your students to the site on their own.

I know there are a lot of good iPad and Android apps for talking storybooks, but web-based versions are a little more elusive. If you have a site that should be added to this list, please leave a comment.

The Week in Review Featuring the World's Biggest Pinto Bean

Good morning from Calgary where I'm getting ready to head home after a great week during which I attended Discovery's Beyond the Textbook Forum, went hiking near Banff with Jen Deyenberg who taught me all kinds of fun facts about Canada, and I presented at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta. Here's a fun fact, Bow Island, Alberta is the home of world's largest pinto bean. I saw the bean two years ago but didn't get a picture so this time I made sure to grab a picture.

As I do every week regardless of where I am in the world, I've compiled a list of this week's most popular posts. I make these lists because they provide a quick way to see what other educators were interested in and talking about this week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. ScreenLeap - Instant Easy Screen Sharing
2. 5 Ways You Can Use Wikis
3. Create Hashtag Infographics With Visual.ly
4. Attend an EdCamp This Spring
5. WeVideo Now Offers an Android App for Collaborative Video Creation
6. Zopler - Collaborative Storytelling
7. This is Cool! Albert Einstein's Library Online


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iPad Insight provides reviews of iPad apps, accessories, and offers tutorials. 
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MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
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The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers. In April I will be holding another free public webinar through UMBC.
Ed Tech Teacher offers professional development services for schools.

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