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eTexts in the ClassroomHas anyone used an electronic version of a primary text in the...

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 18, 2010 at 8:49 AM via web

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eTexts in the Classroom

Has anyone used an electronic version of a primary text in the classroom? Or have you had a student who has asked to use his or her Kindle/iPad instead of a paper copy?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 18, 2010 at 9:12 AM (Answer #2)

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This doesn't happen often, but yes!  I have had students request to use their laptops to read copies of books online rather than use the print copies I usually assign.  There have also been occasions when a student is learning disabled and has asked to use either audio versions or electronic versions with the special modifications or programs which help them overcome their particular disabilities (dyslexia, etc.).

I'm all for this since students can bookmark pages easily and add commentary on the e-book much easier than in print books which don't belong to them.  It makes reading more active and more fun.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 18, 2010 at 9:17 AM (Answer #3)

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I think that's a classroom revolution that's still a little ways off.  In wealthier districts and some charter schools I think you could find this, but I still have about half of my students with no internet access at home.  Until the technology becomes more affordable and available to schools, I don't think this will be a widespread phenomenon.

In addition, students have very short attention spans online.  They do not like to read for content any more than they like to read textbooks or articles.  So I think you'll get an occasional request like this from a student, but they will be the exception rather than the rule in the near future.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 9:50 AM (Answer #4)

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If text refers to "textbook," the answer would be no, although there are some new services out there that will make online textbooks available to students who have purchased the "real" book.  Although this may seem odd, it has the advantage of making the book available to students while traveling, "unexpectedly" waiting in the doctor's office, or in other circumstances where the paper text might not be available.

If text refers to any book that is part of the course, I have students reading books on line more and more frequently.  I just bought a Nook, and am surprised about how much I like it, especially the larger font and the ability to take all the books that I am presently reading with me so I can read them anywhere.  It's become my primary vehicle for casual reading, although I still like to "mark up" books that I will be discussing with students.  But it can save a LOT of money, especially for classics which are free through the Google project.

I also downloaded the Nook software for my Android phone, and I find it very easy and comfortable to read ... quite the surprise.

I think these readers are the future especially if the tools we use to read them allow for annotating ... I think some tablets do this already, but they're not in my (financial) future.  :)

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:33 AM (Answer #5)

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When I was a principal, my U.S. History teacher ran a "paperless" classroom. He used links on his SmartBoard to access primary source documents on the internet during lectures. It was an excellent way to share the information with the students via a large-screen presentation. I highly recommend this practice in the classroom.

I have never taught in the classroom with eTexts, but they didn't exist at that time. I'd definitely do it if I returned to the classroom now, and if a student requested to use an iPad or Kindle, absent an idiotic district policy against it (a real possibility, sadly), I'd say "fine."

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 11:26 AM (Answer #6)

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This year for the first time, I have had students whip out their Kindles and such for our study of Othello. But now each has abandoned this format for the more traditional paper copies.  I think they find their passages more quickly in a traditional textbook than in an e-text.  There is something to be said for "page memory" when a reader is looking back to find a passage, knowing that it is on the left or right side, top or bottom of page.  But I expect to see more and more of these electronic readers in the future.  I'm even thinking about getting one myself! 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 12:53 PM (Answer #7)

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I have just started tutoring two kids whose parents have brought them Ipads and are going to be using them to study texts. I must admit, I am not too sure what I think about it, and it is going to be interesting to see how it works. I still feel more comfortable with a real (rather than virtual) book in my hands.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 18, 2010 at 3:19 PM (Answer #8)

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Last year when our state adopted a new English curriculum, we had more parts of our textbooks available to us online. I've used some of those e-excerpts from the text in my classroom, but my students have not shown much interest in electronic versions of whole texts, other than brief ones such as classic short stories.

To be honest, I'm hesitant to become too dependent on technology when it comes to my classroom.  I use my Promethean board and create interactive flipcharts all the time for class, but we've been told that we might not have the funds to buy replacement bulbs for our boards. If that happens, I want to be able to adjust. Similarly, very few of my students have the financial resources to buy Kindles or I-Pads; so I don't know if I'll witness their use in the classroom anytime soon. As Post 3 mentions, I still have students who have never had Internet access at home or who no longer have it because their parents have had to cut costs.

That being said, our school's media center does offer students the ability to check out MP3 file audioversions of books. Students don't even have to have an MP3 player or computer to play the files because the file comes stored on an inexpensive, limited memory MP3 player and headphones. This audio version of the novels that we teach has truly helped many of our audio learners and our special education students because they can listen to the audio versions anywhere, at any time.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted October 18, 2010 at 3:29 PM (Answer #9)

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All of our students here in Korea have laptops and use them daily in class. About half of our books are in the e-format. I use them like I do any paper text, though there are much better graphics, videos, and music and art embedded into the pages for clearer interpretations. There are also short scenes of literary works that follow the stories.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 3:38 PM (Answer #10)

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Using electronic versions of text is also great for students with special needs. I use an online program occasionally with students who have reading difficulties. The text will show up and read to the student and at the same time the text lights up. The program can be modified to meet the needs of many different students, those who excel in reading and those who do not.

Soon, our school may also have Kindles available to students as well.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 5:52 PM (Answer #11)

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All of our students here in Korea have laptops and use them daily in class. About half of our books are in the e-format. I use them like I do any paper text, though there are much better graphics, videos, and music and art embedded into the pages for clearer interpretations. There are also short scenes of literary works that follow the stories.

  There's a great idea in your post.  In addition to text, e-books could contain video clips of famous plays and readings by some of the best professionals.  If they were to do this, there would be a clear difference between media, and a clear reason to think of using e-books.

On the other hand, another post (now invisible to me) pointed out "page memory" --- something I am aware of, but never connected with the e-book discussion.  Thanks for pointing it out.

And for anyone who has resisted e-books and has even slight vision problems, please at least borrow one and give it a try.  I have found it a great help.  In my latest book, each "paper" page was "replaced" by 3 e-book pages.  It has made reading a much better experience for me.

The one drawback I just found is that my provider is now charging outrageous prices for e-books.  Talk about killing the goose ...

 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 21, 2010 at 1:27 PM (Answer #12)

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I'm not totally against e-texts (and I do enjoy my kindle), but there's still something to be said for having a classroom which can all be on the same page--literally--at the same time.  The logistics of having a classroom set of books that don't match (different printings, etc.) is bad enough; unless everyone had the same format in front of them, I'd vote no.  For now.

Lori Steinbach

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 1, 2010 at 9:28 PM (Answer #13)

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I don't have students using e-text in the classroom, but with the love students have for technology, as seen not only with phone and iPods, but also with trips to the library to use computers instead of writing, I believe students would welcome the chance to read from an iPad or Kindle rather than a musty, worn and torn book that has belonged to so many others before reaching him or her.

As noted in another post, the idea that students can transact with the text as they read would make this technology an absolutely essential part of the technological classroom. And if every desk had one, the upfront cost might be high, but there would be no need to buy class sets of books and/or replace them later.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 12, 2011 at 2:47 PM (Answer #14)

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I use etexts in the computer lab.  Since many of the works I teach are available as ebooks, I teach kids how to search the book and copy and paste quotations to use in their writing.  It's a really incredible tool!  I sometimes wish we had ereaders, but there's nothing like a book.

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