Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tar Heel Reader to Create On-line Books

Tar Heel Reader is a simple book creating and sharing website that can be used on computers as well as iPads. I used Tar Heel Reader with a lot of my K-3 classes on computers before our district was blessed with iPads. The site had kind of disappeared from my radar this school year until one of my third grade students emailed me a couple weeks ago during school vacation and asked for a user name and password so that she could create a book on Tar Heel Reader. First thought... I loved the fact that she wanted to create a book during school vacation and second thought... I wondered if Tar Heel Reader is compatible with iPads. So, I responded to my student with the information she requested and asked her to try it out for me on an iPad, but I was too curious to wait so I tried it myself and to my amazement, Tar Heel Reader worked wonderfully on my iPad. I could search pictures, upload my own photos from my gallery, and type my story. Completed stories can be read silently or out loud by using a computer generated voice. Published books can be downloaded as a PowerPoint or an EPUB to be read in iBooks on an iPad. I also noticed that a published book can be opened or saved in other apps like Evernote, Schoology, Edmodo, Google Drive, Showbie and Dropbox. When I opened a completed book in Edmodo the file was uploaded to my backpack. From there it can be attached to an assignment or shared with the class through a post. I am assuming all of the other apps that the Tar Heel book can be opened in will work just as smoothly as it did with Edmodo.

There are many many many possibilities to be discovered with Tar Heel Reader plus the added benefit of projects being stored in the cloud! Students can work on their creations from any device with access to the internet. I used Educreations, Screencast-O-Matic and iMovie to create the short video included in this article. The clip demonstrates some of the Tar Heel Reader features and a student example.