Classes trade in books for Kindles

Rhydian Talbot/Staff Writer

A select few classrooms and the high school’s library have welcomed the arrival of the Amazon Kindle into their systems.

The Kindle, an e-book reader developed by Amazon, allows users to browse through, purchase, and download a variety of text-based documents, like magazines, newspapers, textbooks and e-books.

Weighing in at a mere 10.2 ounces, Kindles allow readers to transport an entire library of up to 3,500 books with ease, and its non-glare screen incorporates the use of electronic ink, making it crisp and visible to read in any lighting conditions.

When first considering the incorporation of e-book readers into the school system, comparisons were drawn between Amazon’s Kindle and it’s rival, the Nook by Barnes and Noble.

Librarian Kim Traw expressed support for the Kindle, praising it’s versatility in sharing novels.

“When you purchase one title on the Kindle, it can be shared with six other devices, whereas the Nook only lets you put it on just the one.

You can get free books on Amazon, especially the classics that aren’t on copyright,” Traw said.

The library currently has five Kindles in circulation.

The devices are open to any interested student for checkout, and they offer a convenient way to access novels that aren’t currently available on the library’s shelves.

“We use them mostly for students who want to read a particular book but all the copies are checked out.

We can do it right then — just hand them the Kindle and check the book out. It’s a high-demand feature,” Traw said.

English teacher Matt Klemesrud is incorporating Kindle technology directly into the classroom.

The e-book readers were introduced into the curriculum after English department head Judy Timmins proposed the idea last spring in efforts to launch a pilot program aimed to help students improve their reading.

Two of the three major literary pieces the curriculum covers have been downloaded on Kindles and will be in use throughout the semester.

The convenience of toting around a multi-novel device extends past simply reading in the classroom.

With Internet capability, users can gain web access to sites like Google and dictionary.com.

Another function allows users to move the cursor over a particular word to view its definition, allowing for an easy expansion of language for vocabulary-shy students.

Klemesrud also supports the Kindle’s ability to connect students and their ideas.

“You can highlight passages and leave notations for others in your group to read, so it’s like an active-community reading that your traditional text would not have,” Klemesrud said.

Teachers and students alike are continuing to learn from the new devices and their abilities.

General kinks associated with learning new technology are still being worked out, like the physical function of the device itself.

“If you tear a page in a book, you can still read it, but if you break a screen on the Kindle, it’s done,” Traw said.

Also taken into account is the Kindle’s monetary benefits, comparing the cost of an electronic device as opposed to purchasing physical copies of a novel.

Though still juggling with the Kindle’s place and effectiveness in the library, Traw remains optimistic that they’ll be beneficial in the long run.

“For the first year they’re not going to be cost effective, but down the line, they will be.

We’re still learning.”

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