Many schools implementing e-reading devices, whether they are dedicated e-readers like the Kindle or multi-purpose devices like the iPad, have built up cases for buying batches of them, storing them in the library, and then lending them out as class sets.
While you can manage the sharing of them quite well, in reality once the device has to be handed back at the end of the lesson or the day then the following factors come into play.
- no one student takes reponsibility for looking after the device
- if something "happens" to its functionality, then it is easy to shift the blame onto the previous user, and not so easy to work out what has actually happened
- making sure the battery is charged becomes the responsibility of the lending "authority"
- there is a lot of down time - the device sits in the library storage between lessons, overnight, and on weekends.
- there is a lot of intervention that goes into managing them
- nor does their real potential ever get realised, simply because they are used for specific and limited purposes, and the users rarely have time to explore.
- even worse the "class set" scenario assumes that even in use they are shared - one between 2, 3, or even 4 students
Most of what I have written above really applies to the multi-user devices, and when it comes to 6" dedicated e-readers like Kindles or Kobos, then use should not be shared.
That's why I was so glad to read Camilla Elliot's blog post today and her conclusion
that makes me convinced an iPad is NOT a shared device, but a single owner tool.
More blog posts to check about iPads: