Many people in and outside of education have wrestled with ebooks and whether or not they should be in the classroom. Some feel that students need to feel the paper. Others think they should be considered as a "green" replacement for textbooks and novels. As fellow educators how do you feel? do you use them now? how? Do you use Kindles or iPod iTouches, or do you use desktops? If you used them how would you want them to behave? Would there be interactivity? sound? Would you do all your reading from them and be comfortable? Would you want both the paperback book and an ebook? I am thinking of using them but before I make the investment I want to know how others are feel.

Tags: Kindle, e-book, ebooks, handheld, iTouch, intereactive, learning, literacy, literature, reading

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Hi There

Having just come from a workshop on the future of education in the digital age I can tell you that it was exciting and scary at the same time. As far as E books...they are not going away and will become even more prominent in the years ahead.

What you need to do take yourself and your likes out of the picture. See it from a students perspective. The students were raised on reading from a screen, on the ipod, computer, phone, by emailing and now texting. While they know what a book is they prefer the screen. They want the information they need or want delivered to them and an ebook does that...and it can or eventually will be much more interactive. Add on cloud computing and you have a student who can access the information they want, when they want, from wherever they are and with any personal device.

There is an overload of information happening and if a device can help to narrow down the information that I am looking for I will use it.

So ..I am a high school teacher who teaches digital imaging. All my students have blogs where all of their work is uploaded to for viewing and marking. I use web 2.0 for so much and I will be investigating the ebook and how I can use it in my class.

I may not be around when it happens but the school as we know it will be gone...it will have to change...it can't stay the same.Students are not willing to be treated as an airline passenger...upon entering a school they ..."turn off all you electronic devices please, do up your seat belt and stare straight ahead for four years." They are and will become in charge of what they will learn, where they will learn it and from who they will learn it. Yup, they will be able to seek out the best teachers over the internet and take classes with thousands of others using the technology that is here and is coming down the tube.

The question I would be asking myself is..."What do I need to do to be one of the ones they will choose ...so I have a job"...what new tech skills do I need to master so I can facilitate the learning for an individual and what worth do I bring to all of this.

....anyway enough of my rambling....the answer is let them use ebooks and embrace them as a teacher...after all the kids will be using them and if they have to "turn it off" in your class...they might just "turn you off:-))))
Jamie,
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and in doing so in such a thoughtful manner. I am a little discouraged that the post has received little attention. Makes me think that no one is really using ebooks but I guess in reality there are just not seeing the post. I agree with everything you said - thanks for the support.
Katelyn, I love your enthusiasm. I am also glad that you have a professor who is forward thinking enough to incorporate ebooks. I do not have anything yet . Looking into iTouches and their practicality at the elementary level. I actually develop products for teaching and I want to know what technologies teachers are actively using and looking for. Should I spend time creating educational ebooks if the market is really not read for them yet? Or, are they not being used because there is not enough suitable material available for them yet?
Hi There

I really think that a lot of people are in a hibernation stage and have not really awakened to what is taking place. Do I have an ebook yet...no...but I am getting one. As I say to my parents during interviews...go watch the movies your kids are seeing, listen to their music, enter their world. The students are not the enemy...we are the enemy...I will own that ...I am the enemy:-)...I do believe that the "books" you are creating are of incredible value...maybe not just yet...but you will be in a great place when the tipping point is reached...and with exponential change taking place that will likely be soon:-)
Electronic books are a tricky subject. On the one hand, we all know that paper as a medium is disappearing. Newspapers and magazines are having rough times right now; bookstores are not getting the volume of business they used to get.

As teachers, we want to prepare our students for the future but few teachers are taught how to best utilize ebooks. As long as state mandated tests are on paper, there's little to push teachers and districts to move into the 21st century. Additionally, I know a lot of teachers who are technophobes and resistant to learning about this digital fad.

Parents, too, are sometimes resistant to using electronics in the classroom. They fear the costs if their student breaks an expensive piece of equipment. They fear that teachers are teaching games and social networking instead of the fundamentals of education. They fear that adults/parents are going to be left even further behind on understanding their students' work!

Last I heard, Texas had a silly law which stated that schools could use ebooks and notebook computers with downloaded materials only if the district kept hard copies of all texts. The effect of this law was that a local district had warehouses full of textbooks and novels which no one ever used but had to be bought to be in compliance. Instead of saving money, the district spent double.

With the use of ebooks and notebook computers, districts are also being required to hire more technical personnel to fix hardware and keep everything up-to-date. Older districts face even more costs as they seek to update their systems to handle the new loads of electricity and bandwidth.

With ebooks, students take control of their learning. This can be scary to parents, educators, districts, and students. It's harder to standardize when the students are in charge. It's opening up a whole new (scary) world. Are teachers up to the challenge? Are districts?
Is it really a "green" replacement if the materials used to manufacture ebooks are toxic and hazardous to the environment? What about the increase in the use of electricity to run a computer and its components?

At least paper degrades and doesn't become obsolete in less than two years.

All that being said, I use a combination of books and electronics. I have a computer lab classroom for reading improvemennt. I have a dozen computers networked into the district. In addition, the students use Moodle.com, Gaggle.net, and MyAccess.com for class assignments. Students also use classic iPods for oral fluency and listening skills practice. I have slightly over a dozen audiobooks available for students' listening pleasure; audiobooks are available both on CD (with CD players available) and iPod.
I share your concern with what technologies are genuinely appropriate. Before I abandoned the newspaper entirely I used to marvel at their ability to print little booklets of advertizements and TV Guides. Textbooks these days last for such a little time. I wondered why they were not issued in paperback on newsprint. They could be revised annually and the paper from old ones recycled. What do we do instead? spend huge amounts of money on series that we then cling to like grim death. We hold on to history and social studies texts for a decade passed their currency value. Don't get me started on science texts!

I am deep (I mean so deep) into technology now, but I have not lost sight of the efficacy of appropriate technology in the classroom.
Ah, perfect timing. Our library pruchased 26 e-books last year, all selected by science teachers. Now I'm trying to get the teachers to use them! I have a sales rep from the company coming to do a brief in-service and I also have the actual print reference books. My goal is to have the teachers leave the library with a project, homework assignement or lecture in mind that will tap into the e-books!

Some of the benefits:
- Many include an online dictionary which is a powerful feature!
- Source citation
- Bibliography and “see also” are great tools to find additional resources
- Reading level is age appropriate
- Ideal place for starting research
- Allows the teacher to customize information seeking requirements for specific classes
- Allow for simultaneous use
Hi there,
I am a student at St. John Fisher and I am currently working on being a future educator. We are currently learning about applying technologies in the classroom and how we can use an assortment of techonologies in the classroom. I have personally never used ebooks or have heard alot about them. Although I am not a teacher yetI do believe that ebooks would be a great benefit to the classroom. I think I would want both paperback and and an ebook in the classroom. But what I would like to know about is all the benefits of using ebooks and what other techonologies are you currently using the classroom, is there any good ones I should know about as a future educator?
Hi Katherine,

I find this discussion to be very interesting and it provoked me to think about my own feelings concerning the matter. I think that E books would be a benefial addition to the classroom, as it provides students with another opportunity for reading. I think they could be a great tool to hook students interest and encourage them to want to read. Of course there isnt a replacement for the real thing, however it may be a strategic way to engage students and interest them. Students today are exposed to many different form of technology, so the incorporation of ebooks allows them to work with technology in a way that is familiar. I think they are also beneficial because it gives students access to books beyond those that are available in the classroom. :)
Katherine,

Education needs to be blend in with todays reality and prepare kids for their future. Therefore Ebooks should be part of the classroom of course :).
I guess its more a question of money than of necessity.
I personally use both ebooks and regular books in everything that I do. I love PowerPoint books. They are affordable and perfect as read alouds on the smartboard. I have hard copies of all the books that I use so that if an individual student wants to read the book, then he/she can. At times I have the books up on the computer for students to read if they so choose. My kids who are working on fluency can actually record on them and can play it back and hear him or herself reading and can use a rubric to rate how their own reading was. I always teach them using other examples before I have them rate their own readings, but it is a really neat tool.

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