When e-readers begin infiltrating a middle school English class, how should the teacher respond? Ariel Sacks reflects on the impact e-readers are making on her work flow and calls on publishers to consult teachers for future device software.

I wrote recently that this is the year e-readers are actually becoming a part of my classroom. I don’t have a class set of iPads or anything but more than a few students have their own Kindles, Nooks, HTC tablets, or Kindle apps on their phones. I’ve begun letting students read in class on these devices and it feels surprisingly natural and normal.

The wonderful thing about the e-readers is that students can write their post-it note responses using the note function on the e-reader program. There is then a way for me to view all the notes at once. Normally I have students pass in their actual book and I read through the notes flipping actual pages. The e-readers makes this a bit simpler. I can also turn back to the page of text to which the response refers easily to better understand the student’s thinking.

Two students have books on their phones. I was worried about letting them pull out their phones for this but I had a serious conversation with them about the importance that they use the phone for exactly what they said they would—and it hasn’t been a problem. They understand I’m giving them a freedom, a privilege, and haven’t abused it.

The only thing missing is a way for students to simply email me their notes through the e-reader. Soon I think we’ll probably be reading as a class on electronic devices. Software developers? Want to talk to a teacher about functions that would be helpful for classroom use of e-readers? I’m right here!


[Image credit: betwixttween.wordpress.com]

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