This is my first post for my first blog. I have some interesting projects happening in my library this year so I've decided to take the plunge.
One of the projects I am most excited about is our e-reading trial. A couple of weeks ago an article called e-Books engage me was posted on the SLANZA listserv. It is about an Australian research study that gave reluctant readers in Year 5 and Year 6 e-books and found that "boys are more interested in reading fiction when it involves the use of technology". It also suggests that "emerging tools such as e-readers can have a place in changing the behaviour of reluctant reader to becoming engaged leisure readers".
I forwarded the article to my principal, Brian, and asked if we could buy four Kindles. I suggested that we conduct an e-reading trial with our target students (boys and girls) in Year 4 and Year 5. Brian was very interested in the trial and asked me to price the Kindles.
The key point to note here is that we are not looking to lend e-books to students with e-readers, instead we will be providing e-readers to promote reading at school.
At this point I have to confess that I wasn't sure I would get the green light for the project and hadn't done a lot of research about different e-readers and e-books. The reason I had asked to buy Kindles specifically was because they were mentioned in the Australian study (along with iPod touches, which we already have in the school).
Thanks again to the SLANZA listserv I was aware of a fabulous wiki called NZeRT, the New Zealand eReader and eBook Taskforce. I also had a look at information from the National Library.
Angela Soutar's checklist on the NZERT site (item 5) includes this article - Amazon Alters Rules for Kindles in School Libraries. Basically while home users can share up to six Kindles on one account, and therefore buy one book and share it over six Kindles, libraries have to have separate accounts for each Kindle and therefore would have to buy separate books for each Kindle. I approached Dick Smith to get a quote for four Kindles and at the same time they confirmed for me that the same rules apply in New Zealand.
When I forwarded the quote through to Brian I added the following thoughts about the Kindle:
- It is only used for reading so there are no distractions with other apps on the device
- It is lightweight
- The battery lasts about a month before it needs recharging
- It has a larger screen size than the iPod touch
- Illustrations are in black and white
- It uses a proprietary format so we can only download books from Amazon (however they are cheap and have a good range)
- For the price you could almost get an ipod touch and be able to use more apps and view books in colour
- You need to open a separate account for each of the Kindles
When Brian asked what I would recommend I chose to conduct the trial using our iPod touches. I didn't discount the Kindles altogether (or any other brand of dedicated e-reader), but felt that it was worth seeing whether the students did need a bigger screen and no distractions from other apps before spending money.
Where to Next
I will be meeting with our Deputy Principal and Assistant Principal to come up with a plan about which students to target first and how we can reach as many as possible using the iPod touches available. I also need to research the best places to purchase e-books from and learn how to download them onto the school's iPod touches. I will keep you updated. If you have any advice or suggestions please let me know.