It’s now official. Parents are asking me if they can buy their kids Kindles, Nooks, etc. so students can do their reading and their post-it note responses electronically! On the one hand, I love it. I am so happy this day is finally here.

Four years ago, I discovered the Kindle. I showed an Amazon promotional video to students and they were stunned. I asked them to write on the questions, “How would school be different if every student had a Kindle?” They wrote thoughtfully about the effects this invention could have on student’s organization and motivation. Although it was a plausible scenario, it presented as a futuristic dream. It amazed me that year after year I could recycle the assignment and still it was a pie-in-the-sky vision.

Last year one or two students read books on their iPod touches. I found it easier to review post-its because you can view all “notes” at once without having to flip through the pages searching for the notes. You can still refer back to the page the student is commenting on to better understand the student’s thinking. The students who did this were such voracious readers I didn’t worry that they’d be on the internet. I passed by their tables a few times to check and never had an issue.

Now that e-readers are becoming more available and commonplace, I couldn’t be happier about it. I do have to figure out what changes I will need to make to accommodate them in the classroom. Clearly, e-readers that have internet and games on them such as iPads and the new Nooks pose new opportunities for distractions. There may also be organizational changes to the structures around reading I use, which I designed over the years with real paper books.

Perhaps the changes will make new fertile territory for student writing (no longer a fanciful exercise), I could truly use students’ advice on how to make e-readers work in my program!


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