As the last days of summer sublimely trickle away, a good portion of the population returns to the classroom. But first, those students must do that back to school shopping. New clothes, some unsharpened pencils, Binders, and notebooks. But this year, for an increasing number of students, something new is on the list: ereaders and tablets.
Rise of the Digital
Looking to cut down on the cost of textbooks, some parents have invested in ereaders. Some school districts have even taken the large step of buying ereaders for their entire student body, looking to spare themselves from buying textbooks that will either get lost or become outdated. But are school districts taking full advantage of this new technology? It was only two decades ago that we were wondering about the efficacy of computers in the classroom. Forbes has put together a list of four reasons why distributing tablets in classrooms can stumble. The reasons include theft, no new curriculum to go with the new technology, no available wi-fi, and glitchy products.
Ebooks in the classroom
Here’s a list of ideas of how educators and authors can help make tablets and ereaders a vital part of the classroom and help the technology mature past its bumpy introduction.
Ereaders for more than assigned reading
Allow students to explore different books and media — a school’s library doesn’t have to become obsolete just because the school has gone digital. Libraries can be a place where students can borrow ebooks from sites like Overdrive, or other companies that let you borrow books. School libraries can also be a place where a school employee can train students on how to use their new technology in diverse ways.
Classroom reading beyond the normal
Educators should look for quality eBooks that might not have a wide circulation or are by local authors.
Self-published books, especially ones for younger audiences are of high quality can offer the opportunity for the class to meet and interact with the author. Think of a young adult author getting to meet, read to, and work with an entire fifth grade class that just read their book on their tablets. Suddenly, this book you produced yourself is now in the classroom.
The Medium Matters
When writing for students, think about the medium. Anticipate that students will look for an interactive experience, one which might include something that enhances their reading, like games, equations, or puzzles. That makes the questions at the end of the chapter seem a lot less boring.
Create your own content
If you’re an educator, publish your own ebook! It allows you to take full advantage of the technology while tailoring your students’ learning to your curriculum. If it’s successful, other teachers might use your book.
What ideas do you have to increase ereader success in schools? As an author, educator, parent, or student, how would you use an ereader?