Archives for category: e-readers

On a recent post I shared a few ideas on the use of e-readers in students’ cell phones. Steven Krashen has discussed the advantages of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) in the improvement of students’ literacy. When students read whatever book they wish at their own pace, during a few minutes everyday over a period of several weeks or months, they seem to benefit more compared to students who read mandatory standarized texts provided by teachers. I do believe that choosing your own reading materials can at least be more pleasant than simply reading for the sake of a passing grade. It can encourage students to become readers for life, and it can be an unvaluable source of general knowledge and vocabulary. On the other hand, I think it is important to practice production skills through fun involving writing processes.

Epub Bud is a free website which allows users to create new e-books, upload any sort of document and convert it into an e-book, and even sell their own texts through Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.  It contains a beautiful section of free books for children (and some for adults as well), many of them created of course by the website users.

I think that conceiving and publishing a book provides students with a set of writing activities which are real and meaningful. There is an excellent example of collaborative writing and epublishing among middle school students who decided to make their book available through itunes. Over the huge number of writing activities at hand, this one stands out because of the feeling of belonging and peer support which it may enhance on students. It is purposeful and students may feel proud of being able to share their creations through the web. As mentioned by Kelly Tenkely, this tool can prove useful to have students share their books with other students, parents, and different schools thus it is highly motivating.

There is this nice idea of using Google Docs to have students collaborate on a story and then convert their work to an e-book using this tool. Personally, I would like to use this tool to have students work in teams in a communicative writing task such as “A Guide to Improve Speaking Skills in a Foreing Language”, publish it online, share it with their peers, and exchange ideas on the subject as a set of follow-up speaking class activities.

Moon+reader is a free Android application which allows users to download e-books, and virtually any type of electronic files in  mobile devices. Essentially, it enhances a cell phone to be used as an e-reader. The use of a cell phone to complement and possibly eventually substitute what I still consider a ground-breaking gadget such as electronic readers, seems to go a step beyond in information management technological development. In my opinion, the introduction of e-readers represented the most important revolution in book conception since the XV Century and the arrival of the first printing machines. While it is true that the use of electronic books encounters a relatively important opposition from traditional book readers who do not seem to get used to the idea of consulting texts in a small screen and turning pages digitally, e-readers seem appealling to an increasing number of ecologically concerned users, and students who desire to enjoy the advantages of having access to a virutally unlimited number of texts from electronic libraries, at their own time convenience. Additionally, most e-books are rather inexpensive, classical texts are available for free as they do not count with authors ‘ copy rights, and students can download powerpoint presentations from their teachers, class notes in pdf format, and even save their own work in their portable devices. Moon+reader offers a wide range of page formating and font types which make reading sessions enjoyful.

The first idea that comes to my mind to be able to use this application in my classroom, is the mandatory fifteen-minute reading period which takes place at schools around noon. I have observed during my practicum that several students sometimes forget to bring their books with them. Carrying a number of books in their cell phones at all times could help avoid this inconvenience.  I would also use this application to be able to share with my students electronic files which they could access at all times. With the additional use of epub bud, which is another great application which I may discuss on a different post, I could have my students create their own digital books and share them with the class through their cell phones, as suggested by Heather Parris. On the other hand, I believe that a cell phone book format may provide students with a  necessary amount of interactivity for students to develop a positive attitude towards school texts and English readings. I would also use a number of websites which offer free electronic short stories and reading worksheets designed for ESL learners at various performance levels.