Monday, October 4, 2010

Kindles in the Classroom

I had a brainwave this morning :)

What if all textbooks in high school, college, and university were replaced with eBooks on eBook readers like the Kindle?

Just to be clear: No, I don't have an affiliation with them, I don't even own one, but I'm not going to list each make and model of ebook reader every time I mention it either.

Think about it: the huge stack of textbooks replaced with a Kindle. That would save quite a few young backs (and I'm not kidding around).

I think the hardest thing about implementing this would be getting the textbook companies on board. Once we do that, the rest is simple: I'm thinking that high school students (parents) would maybe pay a deposit and borrow the eBook reader from the school, while post-secondary students should mostly buy their own Kindles, but being able to 'rent' them from the bookstore also would be a good idea.

School boards would buy licences for many textbooks like they buy the multiple copies of the physical books now, and upload them to the eBook readers. Post-secondary students would buy the eBooks for a much reduced price (I'm thinking a $150 textbook should go for $50 as an ebook) and they can return them for half their money back at the end of the semester if they wish.

I just feel sorry for the girl I saw the other day crossing the street while I was stopped behind her bus. She had a small frame, but her backpack was stuffed full and at least 3 times as 'thick' as she was. It's sad. There are a lot of back problems in young people. And these are the years that they are developing their spines.

Imagine it: all a student would need in their bags would be a binder for notes and a Kindle. (And a lunch.)

What do YOU think? Is this feasible? Would you like it in your class? Do you know of any school or boards already doing this? Anyone got a textbook company's ear??

Feel free to share this post, let's see if we can save some spines!!

Have a great week, and as always, feel free to comment here and/or email me at



OBX Sports Locker said...

I use to wonder when the schools were going to start sending the text books home on CD. Keep that mammoth volume at school but still have Junior's reading available at home. Never happened. Then I wondered about why they were never made available online as PDFs. But with both the publisher had no way to control their material being copied, I mean sure, you could xerox an entire text book, but what's the point, but copying a CD for someone(s) or sharing a PDF is all too easy.

But with eBooks, the licensing and distribution models are already there, so I think it's safe to say it's going to happen ... it's just hard to put a time frame to it, but at some point an eReader will be $19.95, thin as a piece of paper (ok, construction paper) and virtually indestructible. And sometime between today and that day, it will happen.

Should it be happening now? Heck yea. It's only because people get entrenched in the current system that it takes so long to get the boat turned around even though everyone realizes it should be going in a different direction. I hope someone at the text book publishing houses is working on putting things together to make this happen because they are probably the only thing from making some School Board somewhere take a shot at it right now, then it will be a matter of everyone else wanting to keep up with their neighbors.

Cindy said...

I hate reading on screen. I prefer textbooks and novels that I'm reading to be on paper.

I like the feeling of the book in my hands...

Mind you, I collect vintage textbooks, like from the late 1800's and early 1900's. :)

Valerie McInall said...

Cindy, while I too am a paper fan and prefer a physical book to a computer screen, I also remember how heavy my backpack was in high school and university.

I think kids these days could handle the ebook readers just fine. They can get "real books" for their pleasure reading, but especially Math and Science texts they're SO heavy! And then there's the volume of books you have to take with you... :D

Jeri Dansky said...

There's a school in Scotland where every child is given an iPad. Frasier Spiers blogs about The iPad Project, and I find it fascinatin.

Anonymous said...

There's a university just north of me that encourages professors to write their own course content, supplemented with e-edition-available books, so all the texts can be both low-cost (free in the case of professor-written texts) and digitally available. They also require all students to have a lap-top; with current e-readers and the linked-in keyboards available, this could work well.

I don't know that textbook publishers will jump on board, because of the high profits they make on printed editions.

But, it's a GREAT plan for cash-strapped districts with teachers willing to write their own curriculum and use freely available on-line resources (IF the kids can be trained to take care of the technology... and I'd suggest base-line models that don't have web-access, actually.)