Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Digital Tools for Integrating Current Events and Non-fiction Reading
Featured text sets can be searched by grade level and reading standard, and be marked as favorites. Each article even includes a brief comprehension quiz. Wow!
Teachers can easily sign up for Newsela account and follow the basic steps to get started with a classroom account in the Quickstart Guide for Teachers.
News-O-Matic. Offered as an iOS app, and online at www.press4kids.com, News-O-Matic publishes five news stories every day covering US and international news, sports, arts, sciences, and more, all completely ad-free. The "home" version of the app is free; the new education version is $9.99 ($4.99 through the volume purchase program).
Launched in June 2013 and geared for students in grades 2 up to early junior high school, the app interface is incredibly well designed, with high-quality graphics and easy navigation. Each news story includes a side bar with an interesting fact, author information, a highlight tool, videos, slideshows, and my favorite feature, "Go There," which launches a map highlighting the location of the news story, distance (measured in traditional and creative standards) and interesting facts. Every story has an audio feature, read aloud by an actual human voice, and most are translated into Spanish, also with audio support. According to the News-O-Matic folks I met at MassCUE, plans are underway to add French languages support. The quality of the app and the paid subscription (which includes additional tools for classroom use) is so impressive, I had to ask them, "How do you do it?" The answer: they haven't gotten much sleep. No surprise...News-O-Matic is clearly the product of hard work and unbounded zeal for journalism.