I find this a really interesting question. I don't have a tablet, but I plan to get one someday, and I'm currently thinking that the ability to keep my library on it will be one of the most important features.
Imagine the benefits: the books never wear out; a student doesn't have to debate which books fit in a backpack (or how much weight they want to carry—a very real obstacle to bringing learning home); and educators will be less limited, hopefully, in their choice of texts.
I too have many questions about eBooks: I'm curious if many community members have tablets, and if so, if they like them. Also: Are there other big benefits beside the ones I've named above? And are there any drawbacks to having students use eBooks? (beyond the fact that paper books don't run out of battery life!) I'd love to hear from more members on this topic!
Verizon Thinkfinity Community Manager
I keep wondering who purchases the readers for the students, does the district? If it's the district, then what happens to the transient student? I lose books to the poor little one that gets moved suddenly and though it's frustrating, a book of $20 is not a several hundred dollar reader. Or the book that is in the backpack when the juice box explodes, what about an e-reader? I am trying a "free" subscription to an e-book site and I will see what kind of use the site gets this coming year.
I have a Nook. I just got it for my birthday. I love it. I really believe that it is the future of using books. I think we will see it at the college level first and then it will trickle down. We just adopted new textbooks and I know our textbook will also be available online for our students. I think as people continue to use this technology, the prices will come down. Hopefully, companies will start sponsoring school districts and piloting programs to show that they will work.
I haven't gotten to use a Nook yet, but I agree that it is the wave of the future. Especially the trickle down from college level, like you mentioned. I see it happening in the public school libraries in the reference section. Wouldn't that be lovely?! The printed reference get out dated within a year or 2. I plan on talking with my fellow librarians about a fund for this, so it can attainable within a few years.
Here''s another site with Children's Storybooks Online. Books listed are for young children, older children, and young adults. The books are free online. Some selections include audio.
Hi! I am a high school English teacher and I have had a Kindle for about a year--and I love it! I can annotate my texts and project passages and my notes for the class through Amazon's site and my LCD projector . A recent update allows me to group my books in collections and wherever I go, whatever room I am in, ALL of my Kindle books are with me; the Kindle fits neastly in most purses. Classics in American and world literature are usually available for free,recent titles are usually $9.99 and I can even email my own documents to it to take to meetings or readings. I like the font and that I can enlarge it and not need my "cheaters" . If my Kindle isn't with me, I can pick up a book on my phone where I left off. A lighter book bag, newspapers when I travel--it is wonderful. If anyone recommeds a book, I can download a sample for free in a minute wirelessly wherever I am. If I don't do lots of downloading, the charge lasts about a week.
Now I am not an Amazon employee-- there are a couple of downsides--I can't loan a Kindle edition and poetry doesn't always fit on the page elegantly. I do love print, I do love reading, and I like the ereader option very much. I read from the Kindle in school durin SSR, and kids do find the "read aloud" feature intriguing (although I don't use it) and now that the price has dropped considerably, I can see ereaders of all sorts in HS readers' hands soon, but more likely that they will pick up the application for their phones, if we let them use them. Now that more elementary kids also have cell phones, maybe that will be the way to go --make etexts available on a variety of platforms for kids to avoid the expense of buying and replacing readers. Most ebooks are available for desktop computers also, so if they have computer access at home and school (unless they can afford the portabbility of a reader), kids won't need the actual readers.
I'd be happy to answer any Kindle questions.
In my opinion Libraries must move to more electronic devices to house and share books. I don't think the brand matters but the ability to do key things and flexibility will make the difference and game changer. In 1999 while running a community development corporation I had a kiosk built for eBooks in an affordable housing complex. The idea as you can imagine was ahead of its time but I saw it as critical if we were to gain momentum for kids to be excited about reading again. Don't believe me -- think about how you would feel if all of a sudden libraries said we are going back to the days when information was printed on tablets of stone. No more paper books. We don't want to lose the tradition of writing and reading on stone tablets. Well, some would argue that reluctance to move to more flexible electronic personal devices creates a similar dilemma for Millennium kids.
I'm just now using a nook, and I also love it. With so many reluctant readers in my high school English classes, I would be extremely supportive of having our schools start purchasing devices like these. Students tell me that they read, but they only do it online or via phones. I'd love to change that (wouldn't we all?), but let's face reality. If we're going to reach kids today, we're going to have to try to do it on their terms. Otherwise, the only development we'll see is that bored, glassy stare we all know so well.
As a high school librarian I would love to have a number of readers and then lend the readers out. There are many, many caveats to this. Getting the e-reader back is the first. Some of my teachers are awful about returning books why would I think that they would return the e-reader any faster? Who is responsible for the reader if it is broken or lost?
In Berkeley, California there's a tool lending library that is connected to the public library system, but with stiffer fines and different policies than the book loans. It's an interesting model.
One key part of that model, in addition to variable fines, is that the tool lending library (quite literally a garage that stands next to a local book library branch) is run by people who care for and maintain the tools and instruct people borrowing tools on how to use them. In a best-case scenario, the people lending out ereaders would check it when it came back to ensure it was running properly, and would be able to "fine tune" its performance as necessary (software upgrades, etc.
Great question...one of many to consider.
In searching to find if there were any public eBook lending libraries out there, I came across this article in the Atlantic by David Rothman:
A national information stimulus plan: How iPad-style tablets could help educate millions and trim bureaucracy—not just be techno toys for the D.C. elite
This is an interesting article to read, and as with all technology, out of date. I am researching my personal purchase of an e-reader and Kindle now has audio for reading of books. I also just got an email from Borders and they are offering a new e-reader with more capabilities. I now am back to my old adage about technology: just wait 6 months and there will be something better on the market! What I really liked about the article was using "stimulus" funds to at least pilot it in schools. I shipped it to my tech director to plant a seed. Thanks for sharing!
I just read where another school is planning next year for all the students to use iPads and be a school without books.
Check out the Public Opinion article, "No books will be needed at Chambersburg Area Career Magnet School," that talks about this new Pennsylvania high school that will depend on technology-rich education without the use of any textbooks.
So what do you think of this concept? Do you envision other new schools opening without textbooks, notebooks, and pencils?
I actually have 3 kindles and a 4th about to be added to my account. My husband, a friend of mine and soon my 19yo daughter all share the same kindle account so if anyone of purchases a book, all of the Kindles have access to it.
The other day I uploaded my daughter's college orientation schedule to the Kindle so she could read it where ever she was, not having a printer available to printout the pdf, it worked great.
Monmouth University - where I used to teach Information Technology for many years - recently piloted a move to use Kindles instead of the texts. My section did not do it so I did not have first hand experience but the director of the department did. She issued Kindles to her entire class and gave it a go. The reviews were very mixed. The students did NOT like it. The graphics did not reproduce well (something I've seen in the books I read) and they didn't like not being able to write in the margins. Yes the Kindle does allow for highlighting and notetaking but the students did not feel the features were easy enough to bother with. My director, however, LOVED using the Kindle.
I think, like most new tools in the classrooms, the success of e-readers will depend equally upon the quality of the technology, the way the teacher chooses to integrate them AND the students' willingness to invest in the experience.
I posted a similar response regarding ebooks and libraries but here goes. I am a librarian by profession and frugal at heart. I don't want to purchase a book whether it is in print or in e-format. I'd much rather borrow the book, read it and then return it. My friends that have e-readers have spent hundreds of dollars on books ($10 a book adds up). I've considered purchasing a few readers and piloting lending them out but what happens when a student moves in the middle of the night, leaves it on the school bus or spills food on it? Lots of unanswered questions. That being said, I recognize the allure and staying power of ebooks but where does that leave the student who can't afford to purchase a reader? If all books become digital and a segment of the population can't afford or access books is that akin to burning books. In either case only the elite or chosen ones have access. It's something to think about.
It's a great point—we need to consider the economics of ereaders.
In the same way that books were the domain of the well-to-do before public libraries, ereaders/tablets would need to become accepted as "common property" so students could borrow them from libraries to access the books (and other media) on them free.
What occurs to me as another big obstacle to this is the pace at which technology is changing and improving. There may have been similar changes in the history of books (progressing from hard to softback, fine paper to cheaper stuff) but, in the end, worn paper products can be disposed of more easily than outdated or broken computer parts. Cheers to the hardware developers who consider sustainability as they build ereaders!
I have similar questions. We want to purchase 20 new color nooks but as a current nook owner, I am wondering how we will secure the books with credit cards that seems to be the way to download books without having to go to a computer. What I read at overdrive is that you can download ebooks but you can't do it at school....so who will show our special needs students how to do it?
It's new and its confusing and its exciting, too.
I wish others would join in on this discussion
Signed out to teachers? no way. These are for the students. Same as laptop: again no because laptops can access internet and opendoor and adobe reader all of which are needed to 'borrow' public library and free ebooks. but the Nooks would be given to the students for a semester and they would be responsible for the charging etc. I'm wondering how we would tally what they have read and how well it served them. What would the evaluation process look like. I'm sorry that I'm not posting as articulately as I would want to....I'm waaay behind today. Will try to get back to this either this weekend or Monday
Thanks ever so much for your reply!
Have you seen the the free ebooks for children at Children's Books Forever? They work well on SmartBoards or overhead projectors and can be used as PowerPoint presentations. These ebooks are available in 12 languages.
Kelly Tenkely, a former elementary teacher, has a website http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=4232 where she gives recommendations for using the Children's Books Forever website in the classroom.
Has anyone used this site or have ideas for incorporating these ebooks into your elementary teaching?
Have you seen the ICDL--International Children's Digital Library that hosts thousands of books in 54 languages from more than 60 countries? Visitors are free to browse the library and read books without having to register. If you choose to register, you can save your page while reading a book and create a personal bookshelf. ICDL offers free iPhone and iPad apps for reading books on those devices.
You can browse the ICDL by age group, by genre, by language, by book length, and even by the color of the books' covers. Once you've found a book, you can flip through it page by page or select an individual page from the grid display of the book's contents.
Here's is another great list of sites that supply free ebooks for teachers and students. Check out the list from Free Technology for Teachers included in the blog post by Richard Byrne titled, "11 Places to Find Free eBooks for Yourself and Your Students."
Are you familiar with any of these sites that provide free ebooks? If yes, do you have specific ebooks you would recommend for certain age groups?
With open souce digital textbooks becoming more available, are schools offsetting budget cuts by using digital textbooks?
Dr. Terence W. Cavanaugh, an associate professor at the University of North Florida's College of Education and Human Resources in the Department of Leadership, Counseling, and Instructional Technology, has written an informative guide to Getting to Know a Digital Textbook. He has included activities to help students learn how to use digital textbooks. Also he suggests websites to convert the textbooks into various formats for audible online reading as well as downloadable versions.
What do you think of using digital textbooks in the classroom? If you are using digital textbooks currently, please share with us your experiences and ideas for helping students with this new medium.
In addition to the idea of purchasing eBooks for students, Crystal Gasell raised an interesting question in another post--Have you ever considered publishing student work as an eBook that could be added to a library collection?
She wrote that publishing your own ebook is getting easier. With programs like iBooks Author for Mac and Vook (web-based), anyone can write and publish an ebook- even your students. Recently, I ran across a group of students doing just that. Superstar 7th Graders Publish Their Own eBook to the iBookstore explains how one Florida teacher helped her students publish an interactive field guide called Creatures, Plants and More!
I understand that ebooks are great way to get the younger generation involved in reading. But how do you get all childen invoved. It seems at this point in time, it is more an economic advatage to use e-books. Unfortunately, I work in a school district that is very cash poor! I like the idea of using e-books!
What's your opinion of a decision by schools in Albuquerque to use "techbooks"? See the article in eSchool News "Albuquerque schools embrace ‘techbooks’ instead of textbooks" and share what you think of this idea. Do you think any valuable information is missed by teaching without textbooks?
Yes, you should start to transition. I believe most students are connected to the Internet. Unfortunately, my own kids prefer this method rather than having a book in their hand. I am old school and still like to have a book in my hand, but I am slowly transitioning. New devices like Ipads, Kindles, etc.. will make a huge impact in future schools. Transition slowly, but as some point you will have to make the jump to ebooks. Don't wait and good luck!