Monday, May 30, 2011

eBooks and Education

The significant presence of eBooks in education is manifested simply but profoundly in this one experience: Upon beginning to Google "eBooks," the phrase "eBooks in education" appeared as a suggested search before I made it any farther than "eBoo." Clearly, this is a major industry, or, at least, there is a major push for the use of eBooks in education.

The Dr. Scavanaugh education technology webpage says that "it is now possible to have a library in every classroom or even in your pocket." Consider the import of such a capability! Just three years ago, as a senior in high school, I was in classrooms with insufficient textbooks; in some classes I couldn't even take my books home to study. In English class the classroom's several bulky copies of Webster's Dictionary sat in a shelf in the front of the room, available to two or three students at a time, and only if they were willing to make the walk. eBooks, stored on portable devices that are growing increasingly less expensive, can provide stores of knowledge that were previously inaccessible to money-strapped public schools.

There are scholarly sources that discuss the use of eBooks in secondary education, as well. In her article, "eBooks--Ready for School Libraries?" Marjorie Pappas discusses the advantages and limitations to eBooks in education, citing copyright laws as a major hindering force at this time. The advantages, of course, include greater accessibility and greater portability.

The renowned Christine Weber, suggests that eBooks might be used especially with gifted and advanced readers to provide great interaction with the text and a more personalized learning process ("Promoting Reading: Using eBooks with Gifted and Advanced Readers").

The vast majority of scholarly sources I found through the ERIC database regarding eBooks and education indicate that using eBooks in the classroom would be beneficial. Of course, it isn't easy to reform the way education has been handled for hundreds of years (with print resources), but eBooks provide many advantages that can't just be ignored.

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