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Update: The Classroom Kindle Project

Stock-Kindlefavicon No new Kindles this week (despite some rumors!), but here’s a quick update on The Classroom Kindle Project:

1. I’ve created a Kindle Agreement for use with students. People ask me, “Do you let your students take the Kindles home?” My answer is, “Of course! That’s the whole point.”

A few concerns follow: (1) What if students purchase books on their own? (2) What if students damage or lose their Kindle? (3) What if students use the Kindle inappropriately?

I haven’t had any problems yet, but the Kindle Agreement makes things a little more official. It’s also a great checklist to remind me of what to cover during my how-to-use-the-Kindle tutorial.

2. The Kindle e-book library has grown to 110 titles. In their English 12 class, students are participating in a classics unit, in which they’re reading a classic of their choice. This unit has increased interest in the Kindle because of the difficulty of the books. The Kindle’s built-in dictionary and text-to-speech features are coming in handy.

Some highlights: Rio is reading Dante’s Inferno; Elisa is reading 1984; Jadz is reading Edgar Allen Poe; Princess is reading Emma (and loving text-to-speech); Francisco is reading Lord of the Flies; and Liz is reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

It’s wonderful to see them reading challenging texts. The traditional way of teaching novels — where the teacher assigns a book, and the students, in general, don’t read it — doesn’t always work. I’m happy to report that I’m seeing a lot more reading because there is a lot more choice.

3. The students are talking about the Kindles. I encourage my students to show off their Kindles to their friends. This has caused some pretty neat conversations. One of my most popular questions is, “Does it have a touch screen?” (Touch capability is becoming standard for this iPad generation.) Here are some other things they’re saying:

  • “That’s sick!”
  • “What are you reading on that?”
  • From a jealous naysayer: “Why can’t you just pick up a book?”
  • “I’m almost finished with Hunger Games!”
  • “I want one!”
Overall, I continue to be very happy with The Classroom Kindle Project. It’s slow going, but I’m appreciative of the progress we’ve made and of the donors whose generous contributions have gotten us this far. In the next week or so, I hope to post some images and videos to demonstrate the impact that this project is having. Thank you again for your support! favicon

5 comments

  1. Mark Isero

    Thank you, Laura and John. Part of the reason this project is working is that it’s not “official” and “mandatory.” It’s all about rediscovering that reading is, actually, sort of fun. 🙂

  2. John at TestSoup

    I couldn’t agree more. Allowing students to make the choice themselves can be a very powerful motivator. And I really think you’re doing something important here. I read this morning that 58% of Americans never read a book after the graduate school. That, in the parlance of our times, sucks!

Please share your brilliant insights!