Sites of the Week [Week 18]

20 01 2012

18.1 Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

This site from Purdue appears to provide a wealth of information on many aspects of writing and the writing process. I have linked you to the grade 7-12 resources. However, this site has far more than this. If you teach writing (and most of us do in some way linked to our disciplines), this site has something for you. Here are a few other sections you might want to explore:

  • Writing across the curriculum (covers writing for science)
  • Poetry in writing courses
  • E-mail Etiquette
  • College level writing

18.2 WearaBraille

This is where technology is making a real difference in people’s lives and is one of the most amazing things I have seen in the field of adaptive technology. Watch this short 4-minute movie and you will not be sorry. Dr. Joshua Miele received his Ph.D in Psychoacoustics (who knew there was even such a field) and is a scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.

In this video, you will see Dr. Miele use this wearable Braille system and fully control an iPhone. What I like about this video and project, beyond that great good that is being done, is the way this type of problem is not owned by any one discipline. The research behind this device points toward the connections and synergy that exists between many different disciplines (mathematics, electronics, biology, language, design, physics, anatomy, programming, psychology and more).

For more on Joshua Miele’s work and that of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, check out:

18.3 Consumer Attitudes toward e-Book Reading

Today’s site is more to help everyone keep up with trends. This is a post that shares the latest from a study that looked at consumer attitudes toward the use of e-books for reading. I just flew back from Chicago last night and noticed, for the first time, a large number of individuals reading e-books rather than traditional books. Yes, I did see the collection of movies playing on various devices but the number of Nooks, Kindles, iPads and Sony Readers was noticeably higher than I had ever seen. Enough so that I actually noticed the difference. There are some nice charts from the study included in the post. It is interesting to note that academic reading is still far behind the other categories listed in the study.

18.4 SOPA and PIPA Background Information

Today’s site of the day provides context for the two images shown below (posted earlier this week- follow link above). These resources are a great place to start a discussion about copyright, laws, emerging technology and effects on society. SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA is the Protect IP Act. You can learn more about both of these from the sites below. Start with the video by Clay Shirky then explore the other sites. You can learn more about Clay Shirky at You will hear about this in the news tonight and likely for days to come.

18.5 OverDrive

I share today’s site of the day out of a pure feeling of joy and excitement of a new way (for me) of accessing books and e-books to read and enjoy. While OverDrive is one of many ways you can get media to read and listen to on your iPad, Smartphone, e-reader and/or mp3 players, I have only recently experienced the ease with which I could check out a book or recording from the local public library and immediately start enjoying it through my Android phone.

This week, while driving to work, I have been listening to a fascinating read of Six Great Scientists: Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Marie Curie, Einstein. During this morning’s commute, I learned how Galileo invented the pendulum through the observation of a swinging chandelier during church followed by experimentation with string and a bullet while timing the swing to his pulse. Additionally, he devised a way to slow down falling objects and time accurately with water as a way to explore the rate at which objects fall. In short, he invented a water stopwatch to assist with his observations and measurements. Using an Overdrive App, this amazing audio-book was downloaded to my phone from the Richardson Public Library and is on loan to me for 21 days after which it is automatically checked back in- no late fees.

Here is how you get started.

  1. Go to a public library near you where they have subscribed to the OverDrive service and secure a library card. There are many in the Dallas Metroplex area and across the country. You can find libraries near you by going to the homepage for OverDrive and entering your zip code. Today, there were 37 options when I entered the zip code for Greenhill.
  2. Download the App for your device from the App store/Market etc. Depending on your device, you may have to also install a free application from Adobe or a special application for your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader etc. Look for special instructions for your device.
  3. Download the OverDrive Media Console from the OverDrive site. Install on your computer and follow instructions to activate and authorize your device. This is not necessary if you are running the OverDrive app directly on your iPad, Smartphone or e-reader.
  4. Find your Library on the list through the OverDrive console and/or App and browse your library for books you want to read or hear.
  5. Enjoy

It really is that easy. You can also add additional libraries to increase your selection and availability to books and media.




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