Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Using Overdrive and How to Download to Kindles

Overdrive is here, Overdrive is here!!!  If you are not familiar with Overdrive, it's a subscription based website that allows users to download eBooks and Audiobooks on to their electronic devices for free.  Most public libraries have Overdrive (including all in our area), and now our school district also has Overdrive available.  I'm so excited to be able to offer Overdrive to both students and staff as a way to access books from the school library 24 hours a day!

You can download eBooks and Audiobooks onto your: computer, android phone, iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle, Any Device with the free Kindle App, Nook, Sony eReader, etc.  List of compatible ebook readers.

Most adults may not enjoy reading books on their phone, but we have to remember our students are from a very digital generation.  As an experiment, one teacher allowed her students to bring in any device that had the Kindle App loaded on to it (which was a surprisingly large percentage of students).  The students were then allowed to download books to their devices from Overdrive.  I went up to help, and the students were so excited about being able to read on their own devices. One student who normally did not like to read, was quietly sitting in the corner reading off of his iPod Touch.

The Menasha Overdrive site is located here: http://mjsd.lib.overdrive.com
Student's can use their student ID number to check out materials.  Staff will be receiving (if you do not have it already) a letter with your id Number (or you may ask any library papaprofessional) in their mailbox soon.

Further Overdrive Instructions for Our District are Located Here. (only works if logged into your district gmail account)
How to Download Kindle Books from Overdrive

How to Read Early Grade Disney Books Instantly
Overdrive Pro's:
  • Easy to download to Kindle or any device with Kindle App
  • Easy to download and read K-3 Disney books online (if you have the subscription, which Menasha does)
  • Instant access to books.
  • Access to school library 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • Students can read books on their own devices.
  • If you have the Adobe Digital Editions software loaded on your school computer (we do not) it works great with a Smartboard for class reading.
  • Link right from Overdrive to free public domain books.
  • Links for visually impaired students.
Overdrive Con's
  • Must download Overdrive Media Console software in order to download books to devices other then Kindle or Early Grade Disney Books.
  • Overdrive Media Console not loaded on our school computers (yet)
  • Must have Adobe Digital Editions software in order to read PDF books on computer (which is not loaded on school computers (yet)).
For additional videos and help with Overdrive check this website (you will need to be logged into your school gmail account).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Photo Peach

Photo Peach, "A Fresh Presentation" Very little effort needed but big results.
This can be introduced to the students as a tool they may use to create a project. Photo Peach allows you to add your own music, your own pictures (any jpeg), and upload from Youtube. Not only can you create a slide show with photos and music, you can also organize your slide show further by adding comments, and setting the speed. Photo Peach also has a quite large catalog of music to choose from. Watch the quick 1 - 2 - 3 step video and make your own Photo Peach Presentation!


Thursday, November 10, 2011


Charts.hohli allows students to quickly and efficiently create many different types of charts. It is very easy to use, free, does not require a log in and is very customizable. If you have students who need to display data it is defiantly worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PDF Forms - Go the Paperless Route

Here is a video showing you how to take a document that you created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and change it into a form that allows for the viewer to type in text fields you place on the form, re-save and email it back to you.

*For those using only Google Docs - Once you have created this form, you can upload it back into Google Docs, but do not convert it over to the Google Document format. If you do that, you lose the feature of filling in the form. Sharing the form in it's original PDF format allows the user to get the PDF form from you and then they download it to be able to fill in the fields. You could also just attach the PDF form to an email and send it out.

Google Docs works great for collaborating, but if you want just one student's answer and work at a time, this allows you to go a paperless route.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Google Voice

Several times a year I have the opportunity to deliver a technology grad class. One of the assignments the teachers are asked to do, is to become an expert of a web tool. They were also asked to introduce it to the class. Well last year Lynn Sessler introduced Google Voice. I was very intrigued with the concept of using Google Voice as an assessment tool. As explained by Lynn, “I needed to find a way for students to use their second language of Japanese.” Lynn would have her student call her Google Voice number and leave messages using their second language. Quick, easy, readily available when you are ready and the messages easily saves in a file. I can see this tool being used in all subjects. Follow the video below and set up your own Google Voice today.

Setting when your phones should ring You can set your phones to ring only during certain times or days of the week. To set a phone's ring schedule, follow these steps:
1. Sign in to Google Voice.
2. Click the gear icon at the top of the page.
3. Click Voice settings.
4. Select the Phones tab.
5. Click the Edit button under the phone for which you want to set a ring schedule.
6. Click the Show advanced settings link.
7. In the Ring Schedule section, select your option using the radio buttons. To make sure a phone doesn't ring at a specific time of the day, select Use custom schedule and enter your time range.
8. Click Save at the bottom of the page.