Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 25 - Kindle for PC

Kindle for PC is a great app to teach students how to use because it is available on so many platforms. Text can be bookmarked, highlighted, shared on Twitter and Facebook, and kept forever on the Cloud.


Functions

REAL WORLD: Using this app means that you are teaching them to use an app that they are very likely to use outside of school.  Although each student needs to set up an account, it is not necessary to input any credit card or billing information into the account to receive free books either from the Amazon website or if using the function through the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Library.

FIRST CHAPTER FREE: Even books to purchase offer the First Chapter Free, which could be very useful if you only wanted to use an excerpt in class.

FREE, FREE, FREE:  Although there are thousands of free books for literature and history use, science and math can find textbooks from the CK12 Foundation through Amazon.  

COLLECTIONS: If Kindle for PC is used by multiple classrooms, then the books can be grouped into "Collections" or classes.   Books can be added to multiple collections.

MULITI-PLATFORMS & MULTI-USAGE: If the student also uses a Smartphone or has a Kindle, the content, highlights, bookmarks will sync across wi-fi.




How We Use in Indiana Studies Class

Some of our reading in this class used Adobe Reader on the netbooks with scanned pdfs, so the students were ready to branch off into an app that had more functionality.  We are finishing the semester with the book, A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter.  A Girl of the Limberlost was written in 1909 and has a Lexile level of 850.  The setting and vocabulary were unfamiliar to my students, but they discovered the dictionary function right away.  Our guiding question for this lesson was to discover the differences between Porter's time in Indiana and our own.  The book's setting is at the onset of the Industrial Age before the 13,000 acre Limberlost swamp was deforested and drained.  Juxtaposing the loss of nature in the book with the joys (and pains) of the technology we are using to read it, the students are truly conflicted.  There is a stark contrast in just the last 100 years.  Our class blog with instructions for the students can be found here: http://ais-indiana.blogspot.com/

The Process

The students enjoyed the process of finding all the free books that were available to them and were impressed that once a book was downloaded that it was held in the Amazon Cloud reserved just for them.  Virtually all the classics and many first books in a series are available free. The students were also able to personalize their reading screen, so be sure to allow time for them to adjust it for their comfort.  

Student using personalized reading screen.
In the process of getting Kindle for PC to work, we encountered some issues with netbooks needing updates and student accounts, so we also investigated the website Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/) and found our text and audio available for free there as well.  Some of the students chose this option so that they could listen while they followed along in the text.
Student using Kindle Cloud Reader

Most of the students opted to carry on with learning the Kindle App.  Here is how to install on the netbook:

1.  Teacher or administrator needs to install the app, so sign in as yourself.  The direct link to download Kindle for PC is here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311  Once installed, verify that the Kindle shortcut is on your desktop.  Log off.

2.  Student will sign in.  Click the Start button and type in Kindle.  The shortcut will appear.  It is a fairly large program and takes patience to allow to load the first time.  A pop up screen will appear, asking the student for his account info.  At the bottom is a line to create an account.  Student email and address are required.  It did not work if you clicked to continue without registering.



3.  Once an account is created, Kindle for PC will open with some sample free books.  On the top right, there is a search button for students to select the book they need.  

Your Challenge:
What creative ideas do you have on using an ebook reader in your classroom?  If you have used Kindle or another ebook reader in your class, please share how you have used it and resources available that helped you.

22 comments:

  1. Even though i am a math teacher, I can see the use of Kindle in school. Many of my students use Nooks and other similar devices. As long as material is free, students can highlight,take notes,look up vocabulary as they read. You can also check out e-books from the public library on a kindle so there is one more way to get free books. As one student put it."Kindles make reading cool."

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  2. Students now a days tend to prefer having all their gadgets and toys in one spot. This is just one more way we can make their learning accessible to them at anytime. I am always for a new way to make learning fun and accessible. I can see students using this tool for their English classes and for science literature. I also like the library checkout feature that Debra mentioned. I don't' really see myself using it though as a math teacher. I like the fact that math books are available online, but that is already true for my book. The Gutenberg feature is really nice though for students who are struggling to read even at the middle school level.

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  3. I work with very young students. It looks like Project Gutenberg only offers higher-level books. I do think e-books are something that our higher-level elementary students could use. I actually just shared this idea with one of our 5th/6th grade teachers! We are always searching for ways to get more books,and with our 1:1 initiative in the upper grades, this is a great fit!

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  4. I have a "real" kindle and love it. I actually took recommendations from students last year when I was exploring nook or kindle. I haven't used my kindle much for school use; but I see advantages to other things besides books to read. It may be a good place to tell students about for outside reading that is associated with a particular topic. Math doesn't lend itself to much outside reading on topic but maybe with pictures of architecture of cities that kids don't get to explore on own. As I write, it just came to mind a speaker I heard at NCTM talk about using various locations in San Francisco to talk of many math concepts... and they could look at the Guide to San Fran to do a map of the city with slopes, lines, etc.

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  5. My son's elementary school recently sent a letter home saying that they could use ebook readers in the classroom during SSR time. Lot's of restrictions, but the idea at least opens possibilities that students can use them.

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  6. I LOVE this and am grateful for the tutorial. We free read quite a bit in my class and this would broaden my student ability to read books. Some love to read on their phones via the Kindle app-and I love that they could use the app on their netbooks to it as well. I will be doing this with my classes soon. I wonder how long it will take to log on to all their netbooks as myself to install them. Thanks again!!

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  7. Sounds like a good resource for ME! I just got a Kindle and am exploring its capabilities. I think the Kindle app would be great for students in English classes--being able to get to many books that are assigned readings for free sounds awesome. It also looks like many of the books available through ProjectGutenberg are also college level books. Seniors can learn how to access this now and save money later!

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  8. I downloaded the app to see what if might offer, and immediately I saw Aesop's Fables. This of course is excellent for beginning looking at Greco-Roman literature. I'd like to be able to teach the Argonautica to my Latin III students, and I was able to find it for free, which is AWESOME!!!!!!! I've been thinking about a unit on that material for a few months now, and I won't have to spend a penny to get copies of the book! Thanks for sharing this, Gina!

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  9. What a great resource! Not only can students use their technology, but easy access to FREE texts makes this app a winner. As we move closer to text-free courses, apps like this and the Gutenberg Project are vital. I'm already looking for American literature texts to use in our freshman Pre-Academy class next year.

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  10. I have not heard of this app before. It sounds very interesting. I am thinking that if I could get this to download to our dinosaur of computers in our lab that I could have the students do research for Science or Social Studies using this. I am always looking for books that tie into our subject area and this sounds like just the place. I could see finding two books and using them for comparison against each other for reading or writing. If our students had a one to one I think they would really think it would be cool to use this to read instead of a book all the time.

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  11. Wasn't aware of this app - so thanks! I am interested in having students reading more text online as it's a valuable skill for the future. I'd be interested in having students follow along with some classics while listening to the audio on Project Gutenberg. I like the idea of having the audio option for the younger students even if it's a classic that is written above grade level.

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  12. I did not know this app was available, so thank you for sharing! I could use this app in social studies and world cultures. I haven't spent much time looking at what books are available, but the idea of having a place to find primary sources easily is wonderful. Having the ability to focus in on a particular section of a book as it relates to our cultural or historical topics would be very helpful. I agree with Mr. Ellerbrook above -- it's so much easier for students to have all their resources in one place. This app helps make more of that possible.

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  13. After you taught your class how to do this, a student asked me why I didn't have our current book on Kindle for PC! When I can't send the books home with the students, this is a good way to let them catch up with our reading on their own.

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  14. I love that it keeps the books in the cloud. That would eliminate the problem of I left my book at home, or it is in my locker. I am excited to introduce this to students and see what kind of books they can get for free.

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  15. I think this would be a beneficial link to have on all our students' netbooks. We do silent reading in the mornings as well as during enrichment if all other work is complete. I believe I will start with my homeroom for this, and see how long it takes me to download. I talked to some eighth grade students about this site today, they were not aware of it but many were very interested. As we continue to encourage reading throughout all grade levels, why not integrate technology into it when it is free?! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Unfortunately, this is not something that I could use in my classes, unless I wanted to use it to have students read a text on current music events. I can see how it would be a wonderful tool in a reading classroom. I do like to use my kindle app on my iPad.

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  17. I think it is a great idea to have students install this if for nothing else than to access library books and learn about the public domain books. I think this would be good to share with homeroom teachers so they can let their students know where to find free books! This http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/ provides a search engine for free kindle books. A search of 'chemistry' popped up many nonfiction and fiction titles.

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  18. Great app, thanks for sharing. I love anything that encourages reading for kids. Reading is the key to success.

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  19. I've used the kindle app on the ipad, the actual kindle, and now I've easily downloaded this on my PC! Very easy to use and I just love that you can check out library books and they automatically get returned. My house has saved so much on late fees since we've been using Kindle products! I think this could be used in the classroom for so many uses. Reading is essential to all learning, so this is a great tool. My 6th grade daughter said her teacher did not know how to download the kindle app on the netbooks they have, so I will pass this link along. It was very easy to do! Thanks!

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  20. Most of what we read is accessed freely online. This is a great opportunity to broaden my students' access! Usually I try to find pieces that are no longer under copyright, but this will help me find other things as well. It will also provide me with an outlet for sharing with students, which has been difficult outside of Google Drive.

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  21. I, too, have used the Kindle app on my Ipad, the actual Kindle and my PC. I love the fact that when I "order" a book, I have access to it immediately without waiting for it to arrive in the mail! I also love the way library books check themselves in and out. As a former librarian, that is AWESOME! (I would really enjoy not having to shelve all of those books, either! :) )
    As a curriculum director, I will pass the link along for our teachers to use in their 1:1 initiative and with their interactive whiteboards. All of the students would have access to the book being read in class. If they don't have access to the internet, they can download before the leave from school. Endless possiblities!

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  22. I love this! Wish my kiddos had netbooks so I could give it a try. Hopefully soon!

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