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How e-technology is replacing traditional textbooks in classrooms

From paper-backs to e-books, technology has transformed book worms into e-book worms -is this a trend worth sticking to?

Diya Paul

Due to its functional advantages and easy usability, schools and educational institutions may replace conventional carriers of knowledge, like textbooks, with e-readers and e-books, in the future.

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Wikipedia defines an e-book as “a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.” An e-book reader is any device which can be used to read these e-books.

The most popular e-book readers, which have taken the market by storm and are close rivals, are the Nook, from Barnes and Nobles, and the Kindle, from Amazon.  These devices use a novel  approach to safe reading called ‘ink technology’, which allows your reading experience to be as comfortable as reading a printed page, with perks such as electronic bookmarks (think of bookmarks that don’t drop out) and adjustable font sizes (touch and expand!) The amazing fact of using e-readers is that you have instantaneous access to millions of books online, with access to some of the world’s largest lending libraries and bookstores, and a number of free publications and editions - you just have to download and read them according to your convenience!
It’s true that a Kindle or Nook is definitely more expensive than the much-loved paperback, but the growing number of advantages seem set to outweigh the difficulties. E-books are generally cheaper than their printed counterparts and with the help of an e-reader you can download as per your requirement and access all your books at one repository. You can always create a backup bookshelf online or transfer your collection to your personal computer, by just transferring files from your e-reader – this provides you with a great storage option. The latest Kindle and Nook are sleek, well-indexed with luminosity capabilities, with backlighting facility that makes it possible for you to read even at night with the bedroom’s lights switched off. Even more importantly, it’s portable – imagine carrying an entire library in your pocket.  You like a particular quote or passage and haven’t bookmarked the e-page – don’t worry because since an e-book is a digital text file, you can easily search for what you need, and in the process save a lot of time. If you do not know the meaning of a word, you can directly Google or refer an online dictionary while remaining on the page.
It is also possible to lend/share your e-books, depending on whether it is free or on publisher rights – For example: Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle application present in your Kindle helps you to share your e-books as determined by the publisher or rights holder.  By using an e-book reader, you are contributing to the ‘Go Green’ movement by opting for an environmental friendly version of what are actually books made from dead trees.
With their interactivity and ease of use, the future may witness an increase in the scope and usage of e-readers, especially in the field of education, with students using them in place of conventional notebooks. For now, educational institutions with high infrastructure, such as in the USA and the UK ,have already started lending Kindles in their libraries.
No more lugging around those heavy books or the possibility of forgetting to bring your study material to class. Kindle offers a text-to-speech audio application, which helps students with reading disabilities, vision problems and language barriers - “Research is saying audio books promote [reading] fluency,” says Chastity Pick, a computer lab teacher from Fairbury, Illinois: “Kindle’s audio function could be invaluable for special-needs students - those who need to hear as much as see.”
With their growing acceptance, e-readers and e-books seem set to become a popular option
for schools. While they may not entirely replace the print medium, e-books are fast catching up as a useful supplement, to the learning and, in general, the reading process.
On a humourous note, don’t try swatting a fly with a Kindle or Nook!
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