For the first time this semester, I read an article that left me with more questions than confirmations. My goal was to research eTexts and their uses in classrooms, because I have recently been making an effort to use them more effectively in my 4th Grade classroom. I always wonder: although my students are part of the Millennial Generation, do they find it easy to read and learn from eTexts? Many adults that I’ve met find eText more difficult to read, and many prefer paper. Just because my students are technology users from birth, doesn’t mean that they learn well reading eTexts.
The article I read was titled: eTexts: The wave of the future? It recapped exactly what I was questioning, but still leaving me wondering and wanting more. The only reason for this being that we, the entire world, are still in the beginning stages of this venture, and will need more time to know how this technology starting at a young age affects our students.
Some valid points were made in the article. Such as, people born from 1980 to the present have different learning styles than previous generations and are able to quickly adapt to technology because they have been doing so from a very young age. Also, eTexts are cheaper and can be more frequently updated than paper books. Digital texts can include hyperlinks that students can click on to enhance the content that they are learning. Students can easily retrieve information from eBooks and highlight and annotate on the texts. Finally, eReaders and even websites with eTexts have read aloud functions that help struggling readers and students with disabilities.
There were also concerns about eTexts listed in the article. For example, eTexts are great at school, but if they don’t have devices or internet access at home, students may not be able to access these great resources. Also, teachers need ongoing training and support to use devices and eTexts in various forms. Finally, there are 5 major publishers that have electronic textbooks, so if a school is using a lesser known publisher, they will not have the ability to use this resource at all.
Like I stated previously, I finished reading this article with more questions than usual. I agree with what the authors stated about our current students being tech savvy and adept adapters, and the ease of highlighting and annotating on the devices. However, I am still left wondering if the different format helps or hurts my students. I also agree with the concern about not being able to use eText at home because of lack of parent education, internet, or devices. Finally, I have heard from other professionals about great eTexts with hyperlinks that take students to websites or videos with more information about the topic they are reading, but I have yet to see one of these texts in action. Where are they, and how to I get them to my class?!
Walker, Karen. "ETexts: The Wave of the Future?" Education Partnerships, Inc.
(2010): 1-10. ERIC. Web. 04 Oct. 2014.