Wednesday, September 16, 2009

eBook for every child

Nice little paper from the US on the benefits of eBooks in schools. It’s this simple, ideas approach that we need in the UK, not these tedious long-winded reports from quangoland. Real progress is being bogged down by tedious inclusion debates, obsessions with classroom fixtures like Whiteboards and a chronic case of talk, talk,talk and no action.

This well written paper focuses on one piece of technology, explores the benefits, has clear recommendations and sets you thinking.


Texts searchable

Texts interactive/bookmarkable

Texts updatable, paper books are not

Huge numbers of classics can be available for free

Easy to distribute textbooks

Teachers can provide assignments, quizzes etc

Environmentally sound, saves loads of paper/trees

Healthy – less back/shoulder strain

Saves money for student, school and taxpayer

Thanks to Andy Black for this link.


Henrietta said...

Do I just write off e-books because I'm an old f***? Benefits are clear, but could you really read for long periods of time without eyes getting tired and could you get as embedded in a good yarn?

Is it just a case of using the books for different reasons than paper books? What are your thoughts?

Donald Clark said...

People can and do read long texts on eBooks. The reason they'd be better for children in schools is that text books are read episodically, not in long uninterrupted sessions.

For example, my kids are doing A Midsummer Nights Dream but have no hard copy to work from (my school provides not one single text book for the kids to take home). However the screen version allows them to search, highlight and comment on the actual play, as well as write their essays and do research on the web.

Unknown said...

When I started (English) teaching it was quite common to let pupils take books home to read and prepare chapters. As the years have passed it is less so, largely because so many pupils don't bring them back in again. When large numbers do this the lesson becomes unmanageable. It can also be a problem retrieving the books at the end of the term, so dept stock levels decline.

The result is thsat books are read with the class during lessons. The knock on effect is that teachers are more likely to read shorter books or cut chapters out. 'Of Mice and Men' wins out over 'Lord of The Flies' or 'To Kill a Mockingbird' because it takes up less curiculum time to cover it.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to this but nevertheless it is a common problem.

Donald Clark said...

Understand the problem but it has led to little or no home learning, and even if tasks are set at home, they're impossible to complete. Strikes me that the 'admin' issue has had a deleterious effect on real learning. In fact my kids have had little or no homework for years, which has angered me and many parents from the school. It's almost as if the teachers are working to rule. In this respect schools are not producing autonomous learners as learning is only associated with classrooms.

Unknown said...

Of course, with the new Google library (or any library of out of copyright books) the pupils could access the text from home without taking the physical copy with them. Perhpas the precited cuts in budgets will encourage a return to reading the classics!

Ahh,..homework. I see it from both sides: (former)teacher and parent. I despair of some of the rubbish that passes for 'indepenedent' study and I am weary of trying to make my child do HW that is rarely marked. Or is amerked wiht comments that don't suggest how to make progress. And why do some teachers tell me six weeks later, at the end of a module, that hw wasn't handed in?

On the othe hand.. I used to be weary of the constant battle to get homework in off children; resented having to give up my break/lunch/after school over it WHEN totally arbitary decisions were made about how much, how often and what day it was to be set.

I want my children to be independent learners. I also want them to have time to do all the other things I like to see them doign (sports practice, band practice, youth groups, clean out the animal cages/their bedrooms etc. etc. etc).

It would be good for schools and parents and children to have a thoughtful discusson about homework.

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