Monday, May 10, 2010

Granted! Technically, I'm Still Reading - Kindles in the School

I won a grant to purchase 12 Kindles for use in our school for the 2010  - 2011 school year.

The reason I went with the Kindle, is it's first and foremost an ereader.  In addition, I love that you can highlight and annotate books as well as add your own documents to the Kindle.  You can search the book you're reading and you can look up words.  It also has basic, built-in internet access.  Students can go to websites for more in-depth study on a variety of topics.  The interface makes it less distracting than a computer while also increasing the time students will spend reading due to the number of materials that can made available as well as the ability to customize the reading experience through text size, words-per-line, and text orientation.

Six Kindles will be designated for library use.  These Kindles will have a few of the more popular titles loaded: The Hunger Games, Twilight, Someone Like You, Leviathan, The Lightning Thief, The Ruins of Gorlan, Blue Bloods,  and The Maze Runner as well as some titles used in the classroom: Don't Feed the Bully, Tangerine, and Letters to a Bullied Girl. Unfortunately some of the titles we use in the classroom are NOT available on the Kindle and we may look for replacement titles to expand access.

Six Kindles will be designated for classroom use.  These Kindles will have the novels teachers use in the classroom as well as a newspaper, magazine, and/or blog subscriptions on a teacher designated Kindle.  They will be checked out for short term teaching units. Students will be able to highlight and annotate passages, like they would normally do, but then we can print out the notes/highlights and it will be easier for students to reference them during classroom discussions.  Once the unit is over, we remove the highlights/notes and we can reuse the book.  Classroom sets can last a lot longer!  We can also add audiobooks and music to the readers.

I'm looking to have teachers take the Kindle 2 home for the summer and practice using it's many features: MP3, audiobooks, annotating, highlighting, and basic internet browsing. The teachers will also load their syllabi, notes, and any study guides for a particular unit on the Kindle.

Weirdly, when I wrote the grant, April 16, The Giver by Lois Lowry was available on Kindle and now it's not!  The two companion novels, The Messenger and Gathering Blue, and many other Lois Lowry books ARE available.  Also, you could put a book on 6 devices but now publishers are limiting it to 5 devices.  Publishers are also increasing the prices of e-books, further pushing schools out of this market. I wish publishers would stop looking at Amazon as the enemy and make more books available on the Kindle because it expands the school library's budget.  I have a small amount of money and space and I could maximize it with Kindles. 

What do you think?  Do you have a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader?  How do you see them being used in schools?  Do you think I should have went for the iPad?


  1. The one problem that I see with using Kindles in school is that they are pretty fragile. I consider myself a careful adult but I had one only 2 months before I dropped it and broke it. I strongly suggest that you get the insurance that will replace it the first time it is dropped and broken. Also good protective cases are a necessity.

  2. Wow! I am not a huge e-reader personally, but I definitely see the value for school libraries. Publishers should be latching on to the multi-copy market, like school libraries. I know I would love to have our class novels on an e-reader!


  3. Kathy - the grant includes cases! I have one on mine and love it. Love that Modern Family episode where the kid sits on the nook...

    Sarah - I hope publishers see this is a great way to get more of their books into schools = both classrooms and libraries. We could customize more by either buying challenging materials or supportive materials and know that it still stretch our dollars.

  4. Congrats, that is so cool! I was just talking to so coworkers the other day about how I think ereaders will become popular in schools for most of the reasons you've mentioned. I hope they work well for the students!


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