THE MAGIC OF EBOOKS IN EDUCATION
• Learning A-Z • Little Fox • Benchmark Education • Mathseeds
In today's world, most educational resources are digital - and available online! With the advent of tablets and mobile devices (Smartphones, Kindles, Nooks, Androids, iPads, Surface) and the prevalence of computers in schools, it was only a matter of time before the electronic book, aka eBook (which is capable of storing hundreds of titles at once, like a library on the go) would overshadow the printed book.
Over the past decade, research from many quarters of the globe - the Netherlands, Israel, Australia, the United States - has shown that there are features and affordances within dynamic digital storybooks that can do more to advance children's learning than static print books. In one study, for example, eBooks led to improved phonemic awareness and print-concept awareness among preschoolers, especially those with learning disabilities.
There is magic in an eBook: Text highlighting is now commonplace in educational eBooks used in elementary schools - each letter, word, or sentence can be highlighted while a digital narrator speaks. Children can click on words or sentences to hear them repeated, and for some words, a callout is invoked which offers actionable choices; and with audio recordings, one can hear pronunciations and definitions; and much more.
The basic building block for eBooks is the language of the Web (HTML), and the standard used is a self-contained set of files called ePub. A true eBook can present correctly formatted text and images, no matter the size of the device's screen, so that text will flow properly and images will resize (content is reflowable!) - when one screen is full, it will flow to the next.
In this issue, we are pleased to showcase some 2018 BESSIES winners (online publications) that incorporate this exciting technology:
LEARNING A-Z [Learning A-Z] provides digital resource tools in their eBooks which support literacy and learning, and are designed to help students read closely and focus on the essential understandings of a text. Of special note: (1) There are tools for note-taking, drawing, highlighting, and stamping; and students can annotate as they read, thus developing active reading practices for better comprehension. Individual word audio playback supports phonics and fluency development. (2) Raz-Plus offers a standards-aligned blended learning platform that combines teacher-led whole-class and small-group instruction with over 50,000 technology-enabled resources and 3,000 developmentally-appropriate leveled books for personalized reading practice. All resources are accessible online and available in printable, projectable, and digital formats. (3) Raz-Kids provides a library of differentiated books at 29 levels of difficulty. (4) Science A-Z's K-6 curriculum blends science and literacy, delivering thousands of resources in Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, Engineering, and Process Science. Engaging experiments, hands-on activities, and other collaborative learning opportunities allow students to think and act like scientists. An eJournal gives students a place to explore new words and expand their vocabulary through writing, and vocabulary cards provide additional information and context about key vocabulary words in a text. Digital and mobile access means that students get the personalized reading practice they need anytime, anywhere. And with easy-to-use online controls, teachers can quickly manage and track their students' reading progress in a matter of minutes.
MATHSEEDS [Blake eLearning] - Mathseeds, an online math program for children ages 3-9, utilizes eBooks at the end of lessons to reinforce concepts learned. See full review...
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