E-Readers in the Classroom: Easier or Eeeek!

The chicken or the egg. Nature versus nurture. Obviously, there are some debates which have been around for years, still have not been settled, and will most likely continue stirring up squalls for many years to come. And sure, other controversies arise, there’s a big hype around them, and then they are settled with the dust of the controversies before them.

Well, get excited people, because it’s here: a new controversy is waiting to be settled, and we are in prime time for talking, as the E-Readers in the classroom debate has hit hype status.

It’s obviously a difficult debate, one that will be labelled at the tippy-top of the technology controversies list for the next several years to come. But just the same, we all must start to question as teachers: should we begin to use E-Readers in the classroom or not?

As teachers, we must be careful not to be blinded by the glitz and glam of technology, and actually look to potential benefits as well as downfalls of new products before we incorporate them into our lessons! As such, I’ve compiled a quick list of advantages and disadvantages for teachers to consider before making a hasty decision:

Aye to the E-Reader:

1. Technological format may appeal to otherwise hesitant readers.

2. Less expensive in the long run than traditional textbooks.

3. Lightens the load for students’ backpacks.

Nay to New Reader:

1. Student responsibility for expensive techno gear is brought into question.

2. Highlighting and referring to the text is not so handy.

3. Students today say that, when it comes to studying, no matter what they still prefer putting away all technology and reaching for the good ole paper stuff.

These lists seem to beg the questions: Will E-Readers be economical, efficient, and serve a clearly more beneficial purpose than normal texts? If so, the answer is simple. All schools should be implementing the use of E-Readers in the classroom now! Today! There’s not a minute to lose! However, we all know with such controversies, the answer is not so simple. There are many questions and many answers, and to each answer yet another question may be posed. Trying to solve this quizzical controversy at the beginning is overly ambitious in my opinion.

You want my advice? Wait it out a bit. Perhaps E-Readers will lose some of their glitches, have compelling research to back them up, maybe even gain some superpowers. I have a feeling this controversy will be around a while. Until (and if) it is solved, I don’t think it shall do any harm to continue carrying our trusted text-based friends.

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