So Many eBooks, So Little Time

February 15, 2016

I am an avid reader and have had a Kindle for many years now.  I love the idea that I can take my entire bookshelf (actually entire room of bookshelves) everywhere I go.  It is particularly convenient when I am on vacation or waiting for dance or soccer practice to get over.

But how can eBooks be used in education?  Are they a good choice for use in the classroom?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to using them?  How can they help students learn and teachers teach?  And what are eBooks anyway?

Let’s start with the easiest question.  eBooks are electronic copies of books that can be read on computers, tablets, phones, and eReaders.  I believe they are good for using in the classroom.  Studies have shown a large increase in the number of eBooks being read.  Students are already using devices such as computers, tablets, and phones.  It is an easy step to give them access to eBooks.  It has also been shown that students read more when using eBooks.  In addition to that, teachers are able to track their students’ progress when using HTML5 eBooks.  According to this article, teachers can view reading progress, reading speed, and even see where students seems to be struggling.

Some advantages to using eBooks include offering advantages to students who struggle with learning disabilities.  Imagine a student with dyslexia being able to access audio to read along with.  eBooks also allow teachers the opportunity to reach out to many different learning styles.  You can read more about this here.

I’m sad to say there are some disadvantages to using eBooks in the classroom as well.  This article points out several issues, including the fact that there are many different eBook formats.  It also mentions access to technology, which is always a concern.  My children attend a rural school and many students do not have access to computers or the internet outside of school.  Finally, there is great concern about increasing screen time, which is already at an all time high.

I’m still sold on eBooks, for personal use as well as in the classroom.  I think our students need to be exposed to as much technology as possible to prepare them for the world outside of school.  I am sure it would be easier to use this technology with older students, but I plan to have eBooks available to my elementary students as well.

Incidentally, I love my Kindle so much, I have thousands of eBooks.  I haven’t read them all yet, but I am slowly working my way through them.

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2 Responses to “So Many eBooks, So Little Time”

  1.   David Wees said:

    Thank you for linking to my article.

    I want add a category of problem, which may be the most important one for the problems with ebooks, which is that there is some reasonably well constructed experiments which show that students read ebooks slower and learn less from ebooks than from traditional books although I don’t know how much of the research pinpoints why this is true.

    The formative assessment nature possible with an ebook seems like it could be helpful for teachers but they’d have to be wary of reading too much into the data, given that they don’t have equivalent experience and data with monitoring how students are reading print resources.

    David

  2.   ds said:

    David,

    Thank you so much for responding! I am a student and this is a blog for my Technology in the Classroom class. I honestly did not know much about ebooks in the classroom until I researched it for this class. As an avid Kindle user, I find I read a lot, but I can also see how using ebooks could be distracting for students. I do not enjoy reading textbooks on my Kindle, but use it mainly for personal reading.

    Thanks!
    Dawna

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