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ebook readers

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by ClareL83, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Hi
    I've been asked to look into using ebooks in classrooms and so am just wondering what people's thoughts on them are. I think they'd be a great addition but don't know about the cost? Also, would the kids be able to access the ebooks we have on their home devices?
    I've tried looking at existing threads but they seem to be a little old / out of date.
  2. Hi
    I've been asked to look into using ebooks in classrooms and so am just wondering what people's thoughts on them are. I think they'd be a great addition but don't know about the cost? Also, would the kids be able to access the ebooks we have on their home devices?
    I've tried looking at existing threads but they seem to be a little old / out of date.
  3. I have limited knowledge on this, so may be mistaken, but you you should expect to pay £90 for a Kindle (or £70 for the WH Smith equivalent). You should expect to have huge issues with DRM and copyright, as the book retailers are set up to sell single copies to home users, not licenses in the way that happens with software. Because of that I wouldn't expect the students to be able to get access at home either simply or legally.

    I may be wrong, but with current licensing and DRM restrictions I can see things being very tricky.

    I know that some textbooks are now being sold like software (i.e. you get a download link and a number of licenses or a site license), but certainly for novels, etc. that isn't likely to happen.
  4. Questions - how can you control what gets put on them and what is removed and by whom? If you had a class set of e.g. Kindles, can you have admin rights over the device like you can with a computer on the network? With Kindles, you can't. This means you cannot control what gets put on them, how they are used e.g. for browsing the Internet (even though it's not much good for that). If things go pear-shaped, who is responsible?
    With this kind of question, you can read and listen for years and go around in cirlces. Given how cheap ereaders are, I would suggest you buy a few and then try them out and see what happens for yourself. Get some of your trusted pupils to use them. You'll learn a lot by doing this.
  5. While this is something that needs to be considered, and you need to 'have a policy' for it, I wouldn't be massively concerned about pupils wanted to read extra books on an eReader. I'd probably be quite pleased.

    One thing that hasn't been stated is what the purpose is - are we talking about replacing text books generically, promoting reading, for use in English Literature? The purpose is quite important and will affect the decisions significantly, although the 'buy a few and give it a go' approach is one that I subscribe to whole-heartedly.
  6. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    There is a great deal of free **** available for e-readers. Stuff that would never be sold in a high street book shop!

    As seem so common in school ICT.. The decision to buy a bit of technology is made first and then someone has to come up with an idea about what to use it for!
    I own a Kindle. I find it's a great alternative to carrying round a load of books but it's essentially for the "printed word". It does not "do" graphics well - ebooks are essentially limited websites; text is in html and any graphics or maths forumulas have to be provided as linked jpegs or gifs, etc..
    They're really not a lot of use as school textbooks.
  7. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    I have a kindle (or did have before wifey knicked it) it is great for what it does.
    Would I want them in school for students to use? Not really for the issues above.
    You can prevent them accessing the school wireless so downloading inappropriate books is not a major issue and dealt with by current policies (I would hope)
  8. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    I think this is early technology and thus should be treated cautiously.
    Rather like with digital cameras, I have a couple on my desk that used to be great, now your average phone does a better job.

  9. My own preference is the Kobo - because it does not have as many DRM shackles as Kindle.
    However, e-books are not very good at letting people share books with their friends, which imho is unethical. If I buy the thing, I should be able to do whatever I like.
    Hence, I'll be using my Kobo to read downloaded stuff off-line. I'll still be using a real bookshop and a real library for real books.
  10. I have a Soney e-Reader and I did a fair amount of research before I got it and I found:

    The Kindle is cheaper and is more interactive and is nice to be able to download books directly onto it without the need for a computer BUT I didn't like the fact you only could buy from Amazon and I found the books expensive and restictive. I also found that the kindle files didn't work well on an iPad like the do with Sony.
    The Sony e-Reader allows lots of different files, so I have been able to buy whole author collections off EBay for between £1-£4 and have a wider choice of file extensions and places I can buy new books from.
    I can also copy them onto my Books folder on iTunes and read them on my iPhone and iPad. I also liked the fact that no backlight means that I have no glare when I am reading outside.
    In response to seedybirdy, with a Sony e-Reader, as long as you don't give the students access to the original database of books on a computer (which will probably just be on a teacher's computer), they can't do anything with the books on the e-Reader itself other than read them (unlike a Kindle) They cannot access anything wirelessly on a Sony e-Reader so it would solve that problem.
    I haven't tried the new WH Smith phone though so can't comment on that!

  11. Assuming you want to use the e-reader to read books then the answers to your questions are a little unfortunate.
    If you have to buy the book (such as for the Kindle) then you almost certainly will not be able to pass copies on to kids or lend them copies. There is a library agreement for some protected books, but they can only be lent out for three weeks at a time. This means you have to either buy enough copies to have one for each child and be prepared to let them have them for three weeks at a time (they usually cannot be returned early) and if needed lend them again at the end for another three weeks.
    Not only that, but once you lend them, chances are the learners will not be able to read them on any device other than the one they were lent to. If you want to avoid that mess, then you have to buy non-DRM protected books and the reader to go along with it. Usually that means not the Kindle. The snag with this, of course, is that authors sell their books and so are unlikely to make them freely available for you.
    You could use the readers for just the classics such as Moby Dick and so on. The snag there is just that you need them in the right file format for your reader and that might not be the case. Luckily, there is a programme called Calibre that you can get to change the format to a different one in such cases.
    In short, the answer is "Hell yes, they could be useful" but unfortunately the current market is simply not geared for educational use.

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