The long awaited Google eBookstore is now open (about 4 days after me buying an Amazon Kindle of course). To access the store, simply visit http://books.google.com/ebooks.
Google’s bookstore is a bit different than other similar stores such as Apple’s iBooks or the Amazon Kindle store. Basically, you choose the device you want to read the book on (iPhone, iPad, Sony eReader, internet, etc…) and then you can view the book in that format. Upon first glance, there is an excellent selection of books available and the prices are very reasonable. It’s still early to tell how accessibility will work out, but in my limited testing of a sample book, it was not accessible with a text reader. However, there are almost always work arounds (such as Read&Write Gold’s screenshot reader), but that may be more trouble than what it’s worth. I’m sure there will be much more to come on this topic as it progresses.
If you can’t tell from the name of this blog, I’m big on Universal Design for Learning. The first principle of UDL is Multiple Means of Representation. We have known for some time now that stand and deliver lecture is the primary way content is delivered in Middle and High Schools. If we are lucky, many times this is mixed with PowerPoint or the occasional video. Well, recently a literacy consultant told me to check out Flocabulary and let’s just say I am impressed.
Flocabulary uses very high quality hip-hop music to explain concepts. Hip-Hop music is popular among students, and it is very cool to see how engaged they become with the content when it is presented in this fashion. In addition to the music, the lyrics are available in print and there are other activities and workbooks that accompany each song.
So if you haven’t already, check out Flocabulary.com today. Many of the resources are free, but there is a paid option as well.