BYOT (Bring Your Own Tech): How to Get Started

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Attention Teachers: One Third of American High School Students Own an iPhone. And chances are, most of the kids in your class have a device of one kind or another in their pockets or backpacks. iPhones, smartphones, androids, netbooks, laptops, tablets, iPads, or some variety of e-reader – all that digital power is just waiting to be put to work. What will you do about it? Where will you start?
Here’s an idea
These devices offer an embarrassment of riches for teachers and students alike. So here’s an idea: ease into September by letting your students lead the way.  
Why not ask your students to download a book of their choice? Hundreds of free e-books are available from Amazon.com in a range of categories from children’s fiction to sports to science. There’s something for everyone.
Why try this?
Last week’s post pointed out that students (especially boys) will write more willingly if they can choose their own topic. The same is true about reading, and what they choose may surprise you. That boy who always sits in the back corner? Who knew he was interested in business and financial planning? And the boy who already looks like a banker? He’s reading philosophy. You have no idea how many doors you’ll open.
What you’ll need
·        Everyone will need a device, and almost any device will do (see above).
·        To download a book, everyone will also need an Amazon.com account. (Note that it’s .com and not .ca – even in Canada we get our ebooks from the .com branch of the business.) Get your Amazon.com account by following the instructions in the Your Account tab on the home page.
·        Amazon books are formatted for the Kindle, so unless you’re using a Kindle, you’ll need to download the free Kindle app for your device. You’ll find instructions for how to do that here. Don’t rule out the PC or Mac as a reading device. Research from PEW shows that 42 percent of users read ebooks on a computer.
Where to get free ebooks
  
·        To access free books on Amazon.com: Go to the home page. On the left menu bar, click Books → Kindle Books. In the Sort window in the top right corner, select Sort by Price: low to high. Choose a category or genre from the extensive list on the left.
·        You’ll find a list of free Amazon books on digitalbooktoday.com. Click on Best Free Books, or simply click here.
·        Hundredzeros.comis a website featuring free Kindle ebooks. 

These are just a few of the many ways to build a collection of ebooks. Watch for a future post about how to use the Kindle and Kindle app to enhance reading and learning. You can also read a review of the Kindle Touch from an earlier post here.

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