Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teching or Teaching

When Dr Burton asked who wanted to post about Ebooks in education I jumped at the chance. I have mixed feelings about electronic format books. In fact, earlier this month I posted about the incredible book block that left me awe-struck. I was so inspired by this exhibit because there is something about physical books that stirs emotion, whether that emotion be for the book itself, how they came to own that book, a significant event that happened while they were reading it, holding it or looking at it. That same emotion isn’t present when the book is read and archived on an iPad, Nook, Ebook or Kindle.

However, I am torn. As I was researching the use of Ebooks in education I came across a site that directs you to over 90 online libraries that offer over a thousand free books! Free! This means that with the use of just one computer or other electronic reading format, each classroom could have their very own library for free. This opens up a whole new world to under-funded public schools all over the world. There is now technology available to give first graders access to the classic fairy tales and high school students a copy of Julius Caesar. I cannot deny that this is amazing.

I did a quick search on ERIC, and found that Stuart Smith, a published author, wrote a paper that I strongly agree with. His claim is that without proper use of technology in education, it will be a disadvantage to the student rather than an advantage. Substituting a computer program for a traditional lesson is not educating. There is no stopping technology, and as I previously explained, there shouldn’t be, because with it students can have access to hundreds of books, but teachers must be properly trained on how to use technology in education. Technology must be used to assist the teacher and enhance the lesson, not be the lesson. There will never be a single class of students that when given a high-tech lesson will all consume it. Each student is an individual who has a learning style unique to themselves, and just because technology can enhance education, does not mean that always will. Therefore, teachers must be doubly aware of students and how they are reacting to technology in classrooms.


  1. Carlie,

    This is awesome! Thanks for this post. As I searched academic articles on the same subject, I only noticed the positive reactions to eBooks in education. I'm glad you were able to find someone who is a bit more skeptical, because it's good to get different angles on the same idea.

  2. I agree. For me, part of adapting to the digital age is discovering the technology is only a new tool to accomplish an age-old goal. The benefits technology can bring to education are enormous, but they will only come if the technology is properly integrated into the learning structure instead of presented as a cool gimmick in schools.