eBooks have been an ongoing experiment in higher education since the first Kindle was released. There have been previous attempts to replace bulky textbooks with Kindle DXs and iPads, but nothing has really stuck. However, two school districts are giving ebooks another shot, one using NOOKs and the other iPads. I am incredibly jealous of the iPad school, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out why!
First up, a school in Pennsylvania is issuing kids NOOKs loaded with their summer reading titles. I’m guessing these are probably NOOK WiFIs, but it’s a great idea. Kids don’t have to run to the bookstore or carry a stack of books on vacation, and parents can check their reading progress. Plus the NOOK has some great highlighting and note-taking abilities, which will make completing assignments and discussing the work in school even easier. This is a really smart use of an ebook reader. While a NOOK or Kindle isn’t great for a textbook that requires a constant reference, they’re great for novels. And if this school’s summer reading list is anything like the ones I used to get, there’s probably a number of public domain titles on there, meaning the school could have stocked those NOOKs for cheaper!
Then there are the lucky students of Edison, NJ, who will be using iPads to learn Algebra. Apparently, the program/curriculum is designed by Houghton Mifflin, and the idea is to do a study of whether students respond better using the iPad program or traditional textbooks. I am super jealous, and it’s not because these kids get to use iPads. I am a graduate of Edison High School (now you know who to blame for any and all grammar issues), and the only thing technological in my Algebra class was my teacher’s hearing aid. He turned it OFF when class started and flipped it on after he spent 45 minutes mumbling and drawing equations. Apparently answering questions interrupted his flow. So good for these kids! I just hope the control group doesn’t have my old Algebra teacher…that might skew the results!
I have a few logistical questions on these initiatives, namely whether they’ve invested in Otterboxes or otherwise budgeted for wear and tear. But both of these projects have a lot of promise, and both work off the strengths of the hardware platforms instead of forcing old paradigms onto new technology. If your child’s school is using iPads or eReaders for their curriculum, leave a note in the comment and let us know more about it!