Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Exciting News from Bookshare: Updated 12/2/2016

I read through the newsletter from Bookshare every time they send it out.  This month's newsletter had some very exciting information!  Bookshare now makes their books available in an EPUB format allowing Apple users to read books using iBooks.  

This is exciting news for me because we are a district full of Apple products.  We have iMacs and MacBooks.  We also have a large number of iPads.

I have not had time to test out the process since I read the article (it is on my agenda for this week), but I have shared it with some of my co-workers (and it is going to be my school newsletter article this month).  Bookshare has done a great write-up already on how to download the books and load them into iBooks for both MacOS and iOS.

I am including a few links below, sending you directly to the Bookshare website.  The site contains everything you would need to know about Bookshare.  I am including links to a few locations to get you started. 

Is Bookshare for me?

Who Qualifies?

What does it cost?

and lastly,

Can I open a book in iBooks?

Update: (12/2/2016)

I was able to test the process provided by Bookshare this week.  

The above tutorial titled, Can I open a book in iBooks?, is a good write up but when I tried to download a book I noticed a couple of key items that are not included.

  • You must use Safari to download the books
  • Books still have to be assigned to Members by Sponsors (unless they have an individual account in addition to their organizational account)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Summarize Text

Summarizing is the restating of the main ideas of the text in as few words as possible. Some students could understand the content if it was presented in simpler vocabulary.  Other students need less to read in order to complete the assignments in the same amount of time as their peers.  Summarizing the text is a way to help both types of students complete the same grade level assignments as their classmates

The links below take you to free sites where you can paste an article, text or essay into the box to get a summary.  You can also summarize PDF documents or online articles and webpages by uploading a file or pasting a URL.  The sites below all offer different options in terms of selecting word, sentence or document length as well as text difficulty.





Wikipedia also has a summarize type option.  It has a language option called Simple English.  This language option changes the reading level of some Wikipedia articles.  Compare these two versions on Molecules:
Simple English

Matter is a Google Extension that summarizes text. 
Matter highlights the important text in a passage.  It allows you to read the important parts of an article without removing or changing any of the actual text within the article.

Summarizing text can benefit our students in so many ways.  Please explore the options I have provided for you and see which one(s) are best for you and your students. Consider teaching your students to do the summarizing for themselves, as a way to become more independent in their learning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

5 Ways to Utilize iPad Backgrounds & Lockscreens - Guest Blogger

As the availability of technology in a classroom grows, so does the need for good organization and classroom management techniques.  

During a research session I came across a great blog post that I am sharing with you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Audacity is a free audio editor and recorder. It is an open sourced, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. 

Why am I telling you about an audio recorder?  How could this possibly be an AT / UDL Tip?

As an audio recorder, Audacity has multiple classroom uses.  

- It can be used to record a report to be used in Blabberize.  
- It can be used to record long tracks of audio that students can use for practicing reading fluency.  Teachers can in turn have multiple students reading into different machines and then track their reading later, allowing more students to practice at one time.  
- It can also be used as a way for students to express what they know without having to generate handwritten or typed text. 

All of these options make Audacity a great tool for the classroom.

Audacity can be downloaded for both Windows and Mac machines.  The website
 offers a great features list and online manual.

Please share your uses for Audacity in the comments section for others to see.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Are you looking for a fun new way for your students to present a report to the class? Do you have a student that is shy and struggles with oral reports? Are you looking for a different way to give directions to your class, maybe for when there is a substitute? I have just the thing for you. Turn a photo into a talking report with Blabberize.

Blabberize is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1. Upload a picture

2. select the mouth on the picture and 

3. record the sound.