Who is Smik?

Monday, 7 February 2011

e-books in classrooms

I'm looking for a bit of feedback with this post.

There have been a number of newspaper articles now about schools, particularly in the USA, taking delivery of e-book readers, in the main Kindles. But I haven't seen much in the way of post-adoption reporting.

Here are just a couple of the articles:

In September 2010 ClearWater High School in Tampa Bay distributed 2,100 Kindles (spending roughly $600K) to students and teachers.

Nashua High School in Arkansas is using 200 Kindles in English classes in hopes that it’ll be possible to use them in other subject-areas as a replacement for paper textbooks. article.

So far, the adoption of Kindles or any other e-reader in Australian classrooms seems to be minimal.
But I could be wrong. Maybe I am just listening to the wrong grapevines.

What I'd like from you, if you come across this post, is some more evidence of usage (anywhere).
In particular I'd like to hear about some post-adoption reports, that help me answer questions like these.

  • how are the teachers using the e-books & e-readers in the classroom?
  • what devices have they decided to use? Did they have to change their original plan?
  • Is the pedagogy different? What stumbling blocks have there been?
  • Is it working out cheaper for the school to use e-books?
  • specific details - are the e-books they are using supplied by a publisher? What are the terms and conditions? How are they distributed? Do they expire after the academic year?

I came across an article today related to a proposal by the Florida State Board of Education to transfer over to digital textbooks by 2014.
The writer gives many good points supporting the move:

  • they will replace heavy books
  • And e-books will make it less expensive than ever before; many of the classics on reading lists, for example, can be downloaded for free.
  • In addition, e-books have the potential for other broad, interactive uses in the classroom.
  • Most important, students gain access to books they never would have before.
  • Finally, being electronic, and therefore intriguing, young people might become more interested in reading, and learning.

But, the writer says, there are some questions that need to be answered:

  • how will the students acquire the books, and who will pay
  • will using e-books affect the way text books are chosen
  • will the system of state-wide (in Florida) use of the same texts still continue?
  • will teachers be given the freedom to choose their own e-texts

The writer concludes:

The transition will be an expensive one, but well worth the investment and effort as long as we do our homework and base our decisions on thoughtful research as opposed to over-excitement.

What do you think?

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