Reading “On(the)line” 📖 🎣

Happy End of September Everyone!!

We made it! First month (almost) in the books! I always hum Green Day’s “When September Ends” this time of year. Honestly, I find it so much easier once this month has passed.  Having our new routines established, and our groove back, makes me feel so much more comfortable. And this Weather! A little cooler is a bit easier to be in school!

This week I’ve had quite a few teachers reach out about ways to read online.  Hoopla, OverDrive, Libby, Epic and Bookshare are all GREAT options. The best part….they’re FREE!!!  Let’s take a look at what’s on the line, and how to read online, below!

Let’s Read: Free eCard from Boston Public Library!

Hopefully, you have a library card from your local library network! If so, you have so many titles and media available to you FOR FREE from the comfort of your home! However, if you don’t have a library card – or you’re avoiding that overdue charge from your local library 😜 – you can sign up for an Ecard from Boston Public Library and you don’t have to leave your computer! Even if you do have a library card, consider also signing up for a Boston Public Library card as well. The advantage of having multiple library cards is a greater variety of content!   Click here to access BPL and sign up!

Now, let’s take a look at the best ways to access FREE digital media!  Check out how to read online, and what I have for you “on the line” below:

Read in your Browser – OverDrive

You can read directly on your Chromebook or PC! Simply go to the library of your choosing and access the Sails Digital Resources site! This will require a library card. Take a look at the video below to see how to read on your screen!

Hoopla

Hoopla is another AMAZING service offered by some public libraries.  East Bridgewater and Boston Public Libraries both offer the Hoopla service. Although you may have a Sails Library card, it will matter what library is your “home base” to access the Hoopla service.  Hoopla is both a website and app, but the difference between this and the other library apps like OverDrive and Libby is that it also has a TV component as well. Hoopla has a lot of FREE digital media, in addition to great ebooks! Hoopla is available on all of the devices and app stores below:

Libby/OverDrive

Libby (click here) is an app created by OverDrive. Like OverDrive you can access digital books and media free through your local library. However, Libby has a sleeker design and is a bit quicker in terms of downloading ebooks. See the comparison between Libby and OverDrive in this article here. Personally, for my needs, I like Libby since I like to access books quickly. However, for mixed media, it appears OverDrive may be a better fit! Either way, both OverDrive and Libby are a GREAT way to access FREE online ebooks and digital media (audio, video and print).  Both Libby and OverDrive are available on the Lenovo Chromebooks by going to the Google Play Store and are also available in the Apple Store as well as Android.   You will need a library card to access the content within these applications.

OverDrive is the original when it comes to online reading! What’s nice about OverDrive is it will recommend books based on your reading preferences! This site/app also requires a library card and provides you access to so many free items!  No late fees because the items are automatically removed from your device!

Epic

Epic is another GREAT free site that I’ve mentioned before! It’s awesome for grades preK-5 maybe 6. As a teacher, you create a class (syncs with Google Classroom of course) and from there, students can choose books to read or have read to them.  You can also create book sets and send them out to students.  This site is a HUGE favorite among many of our younger grades here in East Bridgewater, and it’s FREE!!! Click here to check out Epic!

Bookshare

Bookshare is another great, free, program that has any book, online! However, this program is limited and for those with a documented print disability.  It’s a great resource to find any book, even textbooks, online! Take a look at Bookshare here. 

Personally, I love to read! I hope some of these tools listed above give you some opportunities to read something new!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

 

 

Assuring we “catch” all of our kids!

Keeping our “school of fish” together

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the MASSCUE SIG SLP/SPED group meeting hosted by Kim Zajac of the Norton Public Schools and led by John F. O’Sullivan, the Educational App Guide! John has published 5 books on UDL and Assistive Technology Tools. He has so many options in his toolbox it is AMAZING!  I learned so much at this meeting, and it was great to talk to teachers from other schools about what they’re using as well to remove the barriers.  John really hit home with his focus: How can we remove the barrier so the student can reach the goal? What different paths can students take to show they’ve met the goal?

Take a look below for some great tools that will assist ALL of our learners, help remove the barriers, and keep our “fish” swimming!

UDL TECHNOLOGY  💌 🆓 📑

First up on the blog, is a FREE resource from John: UDL Technology.  This is actually a section of his book that he posts online, free! Chapter 17 has many great, free, tools you can use with all students. Just to entice you even more, take a look at some of the topics below he has posted on this great resource.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of one of his books at the workshop, so if you’d like to borrow it, let me know! His books are also available for purchase on Amazon.

My Favorite Tools for Reading Online  📖 💻

Reading text online can be a challenge. We could easily use a text-to-speech tool like Select and Speak or Read and Write, however, with MCAS and many other texts moving online, it is now a reality that all students will need to learn how to decipher text on the screen. There are many great tools to assist when reading online.  The video below shows a few of my favorites that assist with screen reading. These tools are free and available for all students.  The extension Mercury Reader clears the clutter, inverts the page coloring, changes the font and overall can clean up the page when reading online.  BeeLine Reader is another great extension that changes the font and alters the color of the text on the page. This extension has been shown to greatly assist those with dyslexia. Font changer is an extension that will allow you to customize the font, and size of the font, for all sites you visit.  Line Height Adjuster allows you to put more spacing between lines of text on the page and Visor provides a masking tool when reading online.  It is important to note that the online MCAS does provide similar tools for all students when taking the exam. Allowing students to utilize these tools when reading online may greatly aide in their success when it comes to reading text online!

 Accessibility Settings in Chrome 🔎 👍

Did you know that the Chromebook has many accessibility settings already built in? There are many beneficial settings for students, even more than just the popular ones you may see such as inverting the contrast, bigger mouse arrow, or magnification.  The video below shows many of the lesser known accessibility features within the Chrome settings.

Assistive Tech Presentation  📽️

Below, is the presentation I gave at Medfield Digital Learning day that contains ALL of my favorite AT tools. It also includes an example Assistive Technology Evaluation that I conducted, if you wish to see it.  New tools come out at such a rapid pace, there are probably even better ones now that are on this month-old presentation!

I hope you’re able to find the tools you need to assist every student in his or her success. If you ever want help finding a tech tool, feel free to reach out!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

Pescado Navidad 🐟 🎄

I hope you are all having  a great week!  Shout Out to Kim Parsloe this week, who got me thinking about all sorts of tools to assist students with language translation. Imagine coming to our school, from another country, and not understanding any English – what a challenge for both student and teacher! Technology, luckily, can help!  Check out some tips and tricks below (I also updated my Holiday Tech Doc found at the end of the post):

Translating Tech Tools 

Google Translate has both a website and extension that make it easy to copy and paste language into a platform and have it translated into a variety of languages.

website: https://translate.google.com/

Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-translate/aapbdbdomjkkjkaonfhkkikfgjllcleb?hl=en

Website Translator  

If you have a website you like to use, that is able to be translated, Google Website Translator is a great tool.  Simply paste the URL into the translator and it will turn the site into the language chosen (if possible). Unfortunately, not all sites can be translated.

http://itools.com/tool/google-translate-web-page-translator

Learn a new language 

DuoLingo is a program that will help students learn a new language!  It’s cute and fun and may assist your English speaking students communication with new friends!

Website: https://www.duolingo.com/

Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/duolingo-on-the-web/aiahmijlpehemcpleichkcokhegllfjl?hl=en

Translating Docs into other Languages 

Another reason to work in Docs! Any Google Doc can be translated into a variety of languages.  Take a look at the GIF below. Simply go to Tools and choose Translate Document. It will not be a perfect translation, but it should help!

 

Audio Translator 

The extension Select and Speak will translate any text into another language and read it aloud.  Take a look at the video below. Like Docs, this translation will not be perfect, but it will assist in understanding. Not all languages are available, but there are over 30 to choose from.

Holiday Tech 

To make sure we get the latest HOLIDAY activities ….

My favorite Blogger – Eric Curts – put out the 12 days of Techmas (click here)…Guess what is Day #1….PEAR DECK and the new add-on for Slides. This is AMAZING.  I’m sure the rest of his days will be great too, check out his holiday tech by clicking each day available on the image I linked above.

You can also click here for my Google Doc of Holiday Tech that spans PreK-12. I’ve added a few items to it this week, like Magnetic Poetry!

 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟