22 October 2011

Literacy in Language Learning: DIY eReader - Importing PDF files and Mp3 files to an iDevice

Users of this module will learn how to upload the PDF and Mp3 files from the “Il était une histoire…” Web site (or any similar site) to their iDevice.  

This posting is a reprint from the AATF WA/AK/BC/AB blog  that I author to share information and announcements with the members of the Washington, Alaska, British Columbia, and Alberta chapter.

I recently presented a session at the WAFLT (Washington Foreign Language Teacher) conference on the pedagogical use of iDevices from Apple in the World Language classroom and will present a similar session at the ACTFL 2011 conference in Denver, Colorado. If you are interested in using an Apple product in your classes, please consult the September 2011 National Bulletin. There you will find my article entitled, “DIY Language Lab – iPod Touch in Language Classes.”  Through this blog, I will be sharing my experiences of a pilot project that I have undertaken using 18 iPod Touches in my French 1-AP classes. I have chosen the iPod Touch as an alternative to a traditional language and computer lab. If you are interested in implementing a similar pilot in your language classes, please contact me! 

Last summer, I learned of a fantastic site for French language learners and teachers from my Twitter PLN. The site is called “Il était une histoire...” 
At first glance, I was excited to find an authentic audio site with text to post to my French class curricular Web site and to my World Language teacher resource site .  Students in my classes are directed to use these sites as part of weekly homework or enrichment activities. They enjoy the option of listening to stories with pictures or videos outside the classroom environment. The site offers poems, fables, stories, and nursery rhymes for language development. It is a well-constructed and easy-to-use site, but unfortunately the audio files cannot be accessed directly on an Apple mobile device. I do not use the Android platform, therefore I do not know if it the files are accessible through these devices.

As we have seen in the past few years, younger learners are accessing the Internet through smart devices rather than computers. The high school students I work with are uncomfortable using computers beyond Facebook and music management. It is important that I provide them with sites that are smartphone-friendly.

Fortunately, I came upon a most important discovery – On the “Il était une histoire...” site, there were downloadable Mp3 audio files and PDF files for nearly each story! I knew that I had found a key to connect my students to French audio and visual input in a simple and interactive fashion through a medium that best suits their digital preferences. There are many sites available in several languages that offer these same options. I am currently collecting a list of these sites. If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments or e-mail me directly.

Users of this module will learn how to upload the PDF and Mp3 files from the “Il était une histoire…” Web site (or any similar site) to their smart device. Users of iTunes and an iDevice are familiar with importing music from CDs or with purchasing apps, music, or movies through the iTunes store. This module will use the same skills needed to import a CD and to download an app from the iTunes store.

Mode d’emploi – User directions for Apple iDevice

The required components of the module:
1.   “Il était une histoire…” Web site.
2. An Apple iTunes account or Android Market account.
a.  iBooks or Stanza App from iTunes. Both are free apps. 
b. PDF reader app (Android)
3. iDevice (iPod/Pad/Phone) or Android phone/Tablet 

Les étapes / Steps to transfer PDF/Mp3 files to
your Apple iDevice. 
After this initial setup of your
device, subsequent downloads will be less involved!

1. Navigate to the “Il était une histoire…Web site. Click on "Contes et légendes" and choose a story. For this demonstration, I have chosen "Blanche Neige."

2.  On the right side of the screen, look for “Les outils”(tools) and click on “Télécharger l’histoire en PDF.” (download the story.)
3. Save the file to your “Documents” folder.  You may wish to make a subfolder labeled “PDF stories” (or name of your choice!) to help you find the file more easily.

Or open the PDF and save it under the “File – Save As” function.

4. Repeat this task for the Mp3 file. Both files may be saved in the same folder.

5. In the iTunes store or directly from the App store on the device, download either Stanza or iBooks (easier to manage). Both apps are free. If you used iTunes, be sure to update your iDevice by connecting it to your computer.

6. In iTunes (on your computer), choose “File – Add File to Library” or Control-O. Choose the PDF file and the Mp3 either separately or together by using “Control/Shift.” iTunes will import these files into your Music and Books libraries.

7. Open the “Books” library to see the PDF file. 

8. Connect your iDevice to the computer and sync. The PDF and the Mp3 files will be transferred to your device.

9. Open the Music icon and the Mp3 file will be listed in the "Songs" file. Press "Play" to start the recording. You may listen to the story and read the PDF at the same time. I would suggest that you open the PDF first and then the audio file. To switch between the two applications, double click the home button on the device and choose the second application (PDF or Music). 

10. Open the iBooks app and you will see the downloaded story.

Update: If you use Dropbox, a computer and mobile (Apple) (Android Market) application that allows users to snyc files across any device, you may choose to upload the PDF file to your Dropbox account and access it directly on your device. This involves fewer steps!

In 10 (hopefully) easy steps, you have harnessed the language tools available for free to the palm of your hand and the lobes of your ears! Please write me with ANY questions. I am here to guide and explain in non-tech language.

I will be using this idea to sync books and any Mp3 recordings that I find online to the 18 iPod Touches that I received through three grants. The students will also receive these instructions by e-mail and through this blog so that they may sync their own devices. After querying my advanced students, I learned that they did not know how to add PDF files to their devices. They now know the process and are impressed that they can download and sync other PDF files that they find online.

I believe that it is essential that we, as educators, instruct students on how to use these powerful devices to extend their knowledge and access the outstanding tools that are available to them online. They have the power of a computer in their pockets. It’s up to us to show them the tools!    

For additional resources, please consult the following sites:

Free Audiobooks in French. No PDF files linked to the site.

For Kindle, Nook, Tablet, Apple, Android users: PDF books / e-pub that are available in the public domain.

Please send me your suggestions for sites with Mp3 and PDF files with languages and I will post them both on this blog and on the AATF Commission on Technology Web site. http://www.frenchteachers.org/technology/

Bon surf!
Catherine Ousselin