This year one class at Fremont High School had the opportunity to be a part of a pilot program in Weber School District involving the use of Kindles.
The benefits of the Kindle are many. Its features include the definition finder, an Internet browser, access to any public domain books and annotation tools. The school district wanted to see how well this device functioned in a classroom setting so one junior AP language class received a Kindle Keyboard 3G for each student for the whole year.
On the completion of the year a class-wide survey was taken. These are some of the results.
Daniel Taylor said, "I liked the Kindle because it had a dictionary on it, so it was very easy and quick to get the definition of the words."
This feature is a scroll-over that pops up the definition of the word at the bottom of the page.
Cyle Hopkins cited the Kindle's cost-effectiveness as his favorite part, because he didn't have to purchase all of the books read in class.
"I like being able to carry one Kindle around as opposed to 20 different books," added Shanna Marten.
Not everything is good with the electronic tablet.
"I didn't like the annotation tools," Danielle Corbridge said. "It just seemed tedious and more of a hassle to highlight passages and write notes."
Paige Spackman complained of the difficulties with page-to-page navigation, specifically trouble returning to a page you'd previously read.
"I didn't like having to worry about dropping, breaking or mishandling my Kindle," said Lauren Holley. "It was always sort of a stressor."
The outcome of the survey was close with students taking both sides. Camille Bunderson said that it depended on the reasons the Kindle was being used. If it was for saving the class money on books, she did recommend it, but otherwise she suggested the paper alternative.
"Definitely it's so many things packed into one: We could download and read virtually any text, highlight and annotate it, and then use the Web browser in class or at home to do homework, or visit the teacher's blog. It was great!" said Dallin Krebs.
However, Forest Allen did not agree: "Although I love the idea of new technology in classrooms, this is not it. It's a great device for personal leisurely reading, but it's not for a classroom setting."
So, do Kindles or other tablets or e-readers belong in the classroom? Even though the vote in my class was close, the final recommendation is 52 percent against reuse of this model of the Kindle and 42 percent in favor of using it.
This leaves the Weber School District with a few things to consider. Will Kindles become a part of the classroom?
Katey Campbell is a junior at Fremont High School. Contact her at email@example.com.