Epic! lets educators create a free virtual classroom with up to thirty students. They can then access any of the 15,000 eBooks that are available on the app (via PC, laptop, tablet or phone) and teachers can monitor what is being read and by whom.
Families have to pay if they want access to the site at home, though it’s unclear to me how Epic! can tell where students are when they are reading. Perhaps it’s based on the time of day it’s being used?
Regardless, it’s another good resource that students and teachers can use for either independent or classwide reading.
It’s super simple — every week students just have to leave a comment saying what they found most interesting in The Times that week and why. Parents can encourage their kids to participate and teachers could do something like what I do – arrange for students to receive extra credit in their following year’s class.
It’s about a new app/browser plugin called Beeline that supposedly makes text easier to read. You can see an example of what it does in the image at the top of this post, and see lots more at its site.
It seems like it has some potential. Some research shows that its more effective cognitively to read off paper than screens, but I wonder if this kind of “text-engineering” (that’s a term I learned during the process of writing my latest book on teaching English Language Learners) might change this equation.
Coincidentally, one of my Education Week columns appearing later this month is on this exact topic of which medium is best for reading comprehension.
Thanks to Donalyn Miller, I’ve learned about a related story – Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck has just begun a book club for kids and adults (the image of him at the top of this post is from his Stanford career).