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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Borrow eBooks & Audiobooks for FREE

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site. 

I spend way too much money on books! This year, I made a concerted effort to get more books from the library to help my budget. On my first visit to a local library, I learned that they used Overdrive to rent eBooks and audiobooks! So now, I can check out eBooks and audiobooks from home and read them on my iPad! Overdrive allows you to rent eBooks, Audiobooks, and even video straight from your local library! There are no fees associated with this service. All you need is a library card!

To see if you library partners with Overdrive, simply make a quick search on their site. You can then create an Overdrive account using your library card. Download the App onto your Computer, iOS, or Android device and you’re ready to start checking out material! The nice thing about an Overdrive account is that you can sync your content across devices! Never lose your spot on your eBook or Audiobook! When your rental expires, it automatically goes back to the library, so no late fees!

For more app ideas, EdTechTeacher has great recommendations for reading audiobooks. You can also learn more at their November 13-14 iPad Summit in Boston where I will be a featured presenter.

Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto - Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online

This morning I received an email from a reader who was looking for a video creation tool that offers project themes like those that you can find in iMovie. Here are three nice online video creation tools that I frequently recommend to teachers. All three of these tools have themes and or templates that you can apply to your videos.

Magisto is a video creation tool that allows you to quickly drag videos and images from your desktop and or Google Drive account to your Magisto account. From the videos you upload, Magisto will select the best portions to remix and blend with images. After you've uploaded the media that you want mixed, select a theme and music for your video. Magisto creates your video after you've completed the steps of uploading media, selecting a theme, and choosing music. The final video is emailed to you. In addition to the web-based service Magisto offers a Chrome app, an Android app, and an iPad app.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. A couple of months ago Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video's theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template.

WeVideo is an online video creation tool that I have written about extensively over the last few years. WeVideo offers templates that new users can follow to create their first videos. Advanced WeVideo users can skip the templates, use the full editor, and apply themes to their videos by choosing them from the themes menu in the editor. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. WeVideo's Google Drive app allows you to save all of your video projects in your Google Drive account. WeVideo also offers an Android app and an iPhone app that students can use to capture images and video footage to add to their projects.

Access More Than 1,000 Socrative Quizzes Sorted by Subject

One of the nice administrative aspects of Socrative is the ability to share quizzes with colleagues and import quizzes that are shared with you. This morning on the Socrative Facebook page I found their massive spreadsheet of more than 1,000 shared quizzes. The spreadsheet is arranged by subject and grade level. You can find a quiz by opening the filter menu and selecting a subject. Once you have found a quiz you can import it into your Socrative account. Click here for directions on that process.

Socrative is accepting submissions for more quizzes to be added to their spreadsheet. You can submit your quiz here.

To create a copy of the Socrative quizzes spreadsheet, sign into your Google account and select "make copy" from the file menu while viewing the spreadsheet.


Disclosure: Socrative's new parent company, MasteryConnect, is an advertiser on this blog.

Newsela - Current Events Articles Sorted by Grade and Reading Skill

Newsela is a service that aims to help teachers find current events articles that are appropriate for their students' age and reading abilities. On Newsela you can find articles by selecting a topic, grade level, and reading standard from a series of menus on the homescreen. The "standards" menu allows you to choose the reading skill or task that you want your students to develop. Many of the articles on Newsela have reading comprehension quizzes attached to them.

Applications for Education
Newsela has an online classroom component that you can use to assign articles to your students' accounts. A couple of months ago Beth Holland wrote a great overview of how to use Newsela in conjunction with Google Documents. You can read her article here.