Free stuff worth knowing about

Digital literacy blog — and maybe a free Kindle?

Several teachers we know who are interested in literacy issues, the state of reading in America, and the future of books (and Kindles) are following this smart, newsy blog. Although it’s titled “Kindles for Kids,” it’s not a website dedicated to marketing Amazon’s breakout electronic book reader. The subtitle better describes it: “News and views on Digital Books, the Digital Divide and Teen Literacy.” The blog mixes news about Kindles in education settings with posts on topics like the recent Family Reading Report published by Scholastic and the demise of the Reading First program.

The site is supported by Connect2Books, a non-profit organization, which also sponsors a scholarship program to donate Kindles “to deserving students who are in financially challenging circumstances.” Successful candidates receive a Kindle and a credit for $100 worth of e-books from Amazon’s Kindle store. The program is targeting U.S. students in grades 6-12. Check the website for more information.

Free Kindle or not, Kindles for Kids is worthy addition to your RSS feed or bookmarking system.

Free research from Stanford

Stanford University’s faculty has voted to make all education research emanating from the School of Education free to the public. This step is significant – less than 20% of peer-reviewed education journals offer no-cost access to published research articles. This story in Education Week reports on the decision and also describes the potential threat to the scholarly publishing process of “free.”

By early fall, the education school plans to have a Web site in place where scholarly articles provided by faculty members will be posted and archived in a searchable database. “Publishers, however, would retain the rights to the published version of the articles,” says Ed Week, “which are essentially edited, more-polished versions of the author’s final copy.”

Teacher leadership & education policy

How do teachers become policy advocates? California teacher Anthony Cody, offered free advice on this topic recently in the Spiral Notebook group blog at Edutopiamagazine, where he is a regular contributor. Cody, who also keeps a personal blog, “Living in Dialogue,” at the Teacher Magazine website, has appeared in a PBS documentary and been a co-author of two national reports (here’s one) that present “teacher solutions” to education issues. He suggests that teachers begin by overcoming a common deficit — a lack of familiarity with and engagement in the national education policy debate.