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TED Books

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App's Reviewer: A native of California, Vivy Chao, Ed.D. is an educator with a background in student affairs who has spent countless hours teaching, mentoring, scribbling over students' resumes, and learning about the psychology of the human communication. She attended the University of Southern California and UCLA, where she received her bachelor's degree at age 20. In addition, she was a previous Miss Fullerton finalist and Miss Taiwan-USA Court Princess, where she received formal training to be a community representative and presenter in over 100 events. She currently is an adjunct faculty member at the California State University, Long Beach and the founder of a newly-launched business dedicated to improving student presentation and body language skills, U-CAN-PRESENT. You can follower Vivy on Twitter @VivooshkaC

Ted Books is a great app designed to engage and provoke debate on a variety of contemporary topics. Following the official Ted Conferences, the app uploads a written version of the talks summarised to fewer than 20,000 words. This means that it will take you much less time to be up-to-date with the talks and topics. Should you wish to go more in-depth into the topics, you can look at the embedded audio, video and social features of each book.  All the talks are subtitled in a variety of languages. This makes for an app that is thought-provoking and stimulating. It can be used in the classroom in order kick-start a discussion or debate or, it can be used as an interesting English or foreign language reading-app.  The quality of the content and the design features make this app a 5 EAS Recommended app.  

Teacher Review

When attending a TEDx event in Orange County, California at the end of 2012, I found myself pleasantly engaged by the speakers and the multitude of experiences they shared.  For those who are unfamiliar with TED, according to the website, it is a “nonprofit devoted to ideas Worth Spreading.  It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.”  Soon after the event I went on Youtube and Netflix to look for more TEDx presentations.  What eventually caught my attention was the TED Read app.  This occurred after discovering that the TED app was not compatible with any system on the iPad below iOS6. 

TED Read is an app for people who are interested in topics that TEDx presentations offer but cannot attend the actual presentations or would rather peruse through the information by reading.  The app itself is conveniently modelled after social media sites where readers have the option to engage in discussions with other readers of the same book or share a link to the story by e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.  Although it is interesting to have conversations with anonymous strangers regarding their thoughts and feelings on a book, this app function does not seem to receive a high number of users.  The book I chose to read, How Did I End Up Here?,only had two comments that were written several months prior.  However, similar to other reading apps and devices, such as the Kindle, readers can adjust font size, navigate to search for a specific page, and utilize the audiobook.  My favorite function of TED Read is the inline extras.  The inline extras serve the same function as links.  When pressed, extra information regarding the topic can be found.  What makes an inline extra even more engaging than a regular link is the pop-up function that can show not only text, but graphs and charts, visuals, and videos.

As an educator, I feel that the TED Read app can be beneficial to students who are pre-teen and above.  Teachers (and homeschooling parents) can formulate their lesson plans around topics of their choice based on the books that the TED Read app offers.  For many e-books the cost is low at USD $1.99, but the discussions, analysis, and problem solving epiphanies that may come out of the lessons that stem from the stories are priceless.  Learning is so much more than just what schools traditionally offer and this app proposes a fantastic opportunity for engaging with wonderful material. 


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From the Developer

TED Books are short original electronic books produced every two weeks by TED Conferences. Like the best TED Talks, they're personal and provocative, and designed to spread great ideas. TED Books are typically under 20,000 words — long enough to unleash a powerful narrative, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.

The success of TED Talks has demonstrated that millions of people around the world are hungry to absorb new thoughts and perspectives. With more demands than ever on people's time, we think many will welcome the chance to absorb a TED Book when a spare hour becomes available.

The TED Books app allows us to embed audio, video, and social features into each book, broadening the depth and detail of each work. These additional multimedia features suit the wide-ranging creative palette of our contributors, many of who use photography, audio, and video in addition to the printed word to fully express their ideas.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh in the summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual $1 million TED Prize. On, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, free. More than 1,000 TED Talks are available, with more added every day. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages.

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