What is it? The Online Books Page offers over one million legal, free books. There are books of all types including tons of classics, reference books and other books that would be useful in a classroom setting. Many of the books are old enough that the copyright has expired, putting them into the public domain.
How does it work? The site is very basic with an extremely simplistic graphic user interface. Basically, you can search the site in a number of ways – by author, by title or by subject. Once you find a book you are looking for, you can read it through your Web browser.
How hard is it to use? Though the site lacks any bells and whistles (in some ways it looks unfinished), it is very easy to navigate. The biggest problem comes in the sheer volume of information available. With over one million books, it can be hard to find what you want.
How well does it work? The Online Books Page’s goal is to make books available for free and it does that well. It is, however, a bit challenging to read a full title – say one of William Shakespeare’s works – entirely on a Web browser. Some of the books are available in PDF format, which, if you have a little bit of tech savvy, means you can import them into an electronic reading device like the Kindle.
How do I use it in the classroom? Theoretically, students could use the site to read hundreds, if not thousands, of classic titles on their computer screen for free. Since reading in a browser is not entirely comfortable, however, The Online Books Page makes more sense as a research tool. There are countless books available that would be useful across all areas of learning – everything from history to science or math – that students could use as legitimate research. In some ways, the site is a large library that anyone can access for free from any computer with an Internet connection. In that sense, having a library at one’s fingertips would be a positive for any student.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Daniel Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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