Thursday, December 17, 2015

Shelfie Helps You Find Ebook and Audiobook Versions of Books

Shelfie is a neat Android and iOS app that can help you find audiobook and ebook versions of your favorite books. To use Shelfie simply take a picture of a book and the app will search for an ebook or audiobook version of a book. Some of the ebooks and audiobooks that the app locates are free and others require a purchase. The app also allows you to create a shelf of your books.

Applications for Education
Shelfie could be a good app for teachers who need to find audio versions of books to support emerging readers.

The one drawback to the app is that in order to get some of the free ebooks you have to prove that you own a physical copy of the book.

H/T to Life Hacker.

Spell 'til You Drop - A Free iPad App for Spelling Practice

Spell 'til You Drop is a free iPad published by McGraw-Hill. To play the game students have to correctly spell words as they are read aloud to them. The app gets its name from the game format used throughout the app. For each correctly spelled word students move across a footbridge. For each word spelled incorrectly a piece of the bridge drops away. The object is to cross each bridge before it collapses.

Applications for Education
Spell 'til You Drop offers eight levels of difficulty for students to play. The levels are loosely based on grade levels.

One complaint about the app is that it lacks a QWERTY keyboard. Students who are familiar with QWERTY keyboards may be frustrated by searching for letters in Spell 'til You Drop's letter bank.

H/T to David Kapuler

Four Interactive Maps Depicting the History of the United States

American Panorama is a great new resource from the University of Richmond that I learned about from Maps Mania. American Panorama aims to be an atlas of United States History. Currently, American Panorama features four interactive maps representing four elements of American history. Those four maps are Overland Trails, Forced Migration of Enslaved People, Canals, and Foreign-Born Population. All four maps are centered on the 19th Century.

The Overland Trails map depicts the routes of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. Click along the trails on the map to reveal first person accounts of life on the trail.

The Canals map shows the working canals in the northeastern United States in the 19th Century. Click on a canal on the map to learn about the years that it operated, the points it connected, and the typical freight transported through the canal.

The Forced Migration of Enslaved People map is another map that includes first person accounts of life in the 19th Century. Select a decade on the timeline below the map to reveal a list of first person accounts of life as a slave forced to move in the 19th Century.

The Foreign-Born Population map shows depicts the origins of immigrants to the United States from 1850 through 2010. Select date from the timeline then click on the map to reveal where people in that area came from. Alternatively, you can enter the name of a county in the United States to jump directly to the immigration data for that county.

One More Day to Cast Your Votes for the Best Free Technology for Teachers

Last week I put out a call to cast your votes for your favorite free ed tech tools. I'll close the form at midnight (Eastern Time) tonight and publish the results tomorrow. If you haven't voted yet, please take a minute to vote in the form below.

Seven categories are included in the form. Please scroll down the form to see all categories and tools.

How to Create Featured Posts in Blogger and WordPress

Earlier this month a featured post option was finally added to Blogger. This is an option that has been available in WordPress blogs for years. Selecting posts to be featured or pinned to the top of your blog is a great way to highlight a student's blog entry. If your students are contributing to a group blog, consider choosing a featured blogger every week. You can also use featured posts to display important reminders or other information that you want to make sure parents and students can see every time they visit your blog.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create featured posts in Blogger and WordPress.

This video is the 175th added to my playlist of Practical Ed Tech Tips.