How to Use Kindle e-Readers in the Classroom
Interview with Will DeLamater of EduKindle.Com
If the word “kindle” means “to light” or “to start a fire” then the Kindle e-reader has certainly lived up to its name. All across the U.S., teachers are burning to bring Kindles into their classrooms. We’re currently running a contest so one teacher can do just that, giving away a class set of eight Kindles in exchange for your best lesson plans. To get a better read on why the Kindle is a popular classroom tool, Educator Studio recently talked to Will DeLamater, creator of EduKindle.com, a website dedicated to e-reader education.
Educator Studio: Tell us a little about your background in education.
Will DeLamater: I started out as a high school English teacher many years ago and later became a school principal. In all, I probably taught for 20 years.
ES: Why is the Kindle an optimal education tool?
WD: Kids need reading volume to become better readers, and the Kindle provides unparalleled access to text. A great example of the importance of access is the World Reader program, which brings texts to readers in the African countryside. If you can get stuff to read there that is up to date and interesting to students, then you can access text anywhere!
ES: Which of Kindle’s features do your students enjoy most?
WD: One thing that teachers report is that students uniformly bump up the font size for the reading that they do on the Kindle. Kind of makes you wonder how many kids would have come into reading more easily over the years if they had been able to make the text easier to read.
ES: What are some surprising ways you have used the Kindle to engage students?
WD: The text-to-speech function is an attention grabber, and the ability to share passages with one another using the social sharing functions of the Kindle give text a whole new relevance for students.
ES: What is your favorite thing about using the Kindle in the classroom?
WD: Any experience that involves technology has an authenticity for students that we older folks may not experience. Kids are curious, they are gadget lovers, and they enjoy exploring all the functionality of the tools that teachers give them. All this makes the Kindle an object of interest for kids.
ES: What advice can you give to educators who are new to the Kindle?
WD: Don’t be discouraged about the limitations of the Kindle versus traditional print media. It is much harder to jump around the text during class on a Kindle, and the standards for text citation are still being worked out. Lean on the ability of the Kindle to support volume reading and access for students and allow some of your traditional expectations about books to fade into the background. Challenge the kids to find ways to cite text and consult favorite passages. They will amaze you with their workarounds and solutions.