More thoughts on e-Books

This week I have done a lot of thinking about eBooks, have talked to a few people on Twitter and enjoyed a really good discussion on the subject at EdTechRoundup.

Lots of things were said about the pros and cons of various device;

  • Doug Belshaw [I think] said that when £20 phones from ASDA are stable platforms for eBooks then they are truly ready to be embedded.
  • Tony Sheppard wondered why a single-use device like an eBook reader would be preferable to a multi-function device.
  • Several people have mentioned that various new eBook readers are due out early next year, which should cause prices to drop significantly.

And a long discussion about the pros and cons of using electronic textbooks was very interesting (blog posts by Donald Clark and John McMillen were pointed out to me, and the comments in Donald’s post in particular made for very worthwhile reading).

But having gotten a bit confuddled and started waffling, Nick Dennis gave me perhaps the most sound advice of the evening: “I think the principle we need to think about is what are you trying to achieve? Then ask will the PDAs help?”

I had certainly taken the initial idea and thought “What can I do with this”, rather than the other way around. Tail wagging the dog would be the apporpriate phrase I think.

And what I want to do is to get students reading. Simple as that. How? Buy 2-4 devices, select students from my form group,  load the devices up with free books and stories for a start. Possibly show students how to take online text and package it up in a format suitable for reading and definitely discuss acceptable use (e.g. must bring it on certain days, must look after it, no porn, not to be used in other lessons [as per school policy]).

I would need to decide on a policy regarding installing additional applications, clear the project with SMT (am reasonably hopeful on that one), decide who gets the devices (Reluctant readers? Control group? Random selection?) and also decide on some method of measuring the success of the project.

So lots still to think about, but I feel like I’m making progress – at least in my own mind.

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One thought on “More thoughts on e-Books

  1. Great post Mark. It is great to see teachers exploring the possibilities of e-books for encouraging children to read more. When games/internet/media so readily available for kids it can be hard to get them reading. Depending on the age group you are talking about we could make our multi-media books available to you for your trial. No special device needed just a PC. They are aimed at young/emerging readers, feature read along to the text as the words highlight, or click on unfamiliar words to hear them spoken, as well as animated illustrations. There is also a comprehension quiz at the end of each book & auto-turning pages. Just let me know if I can help.

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