Like some of the previous posters I also do not own an ereader although I find more and more of my reading is being from my computer and I think I would really benefit from an ereader as I would be able to do more of my research and reading while on-route without having a bunch of papers or books that get more and more worn out each time I retrieve them from and return them to my briefcase. I suppose the biggest reason I do not own an ereader is the cost. Though they are not overly expensive still outside the reach of a full-time student whose paychecks are devoted to other more important expenses.

As far as traveling and ereaders I can definitely see the benefits of all one’s literary pleasures loaded into one compact, mobile device.  I do think that there are places that I would not bring an ereader and feel better about the idea of laying on or near the beach with a good old fashioned book, one I can fall asleep with over my face (this might look slightly funny with an ereader).

I do think that in the future I will likely purchase an ereader or use one that is built into another tablet device (iPad or other). My greatest worry would be in regards to note taking while reading. I am often scribling down thoughts and reflections into the margins of my articles and books. While I cam aware that this is also possible on many ereaders I am not sure I could make the shift from scribling notes in the margins to typing them on a touch-screen keyboard for the same reasons I still take hand notes in class as opposed to typing things on my laptop. But who knows? Perhaps after a short-time I could be convinced.

With regards to education I think with any learning technology, learning and educating will not simply be transformed by the simple presence of a new device and the same will hold true for ebooks and ereaders. The pedogogical changes educators are making to effectively incorporate the device into learning will be the most important determining the outcomes of these devices in the education, particularly in a classroom setting. An ebook can be just as ineffective as a normal book if not embedded in sound teaching.
I think the market for these still exists primarly in content consumption and entertainment with some overlap into the arenas of mobile, self-directed learning, most of which I would argue, is informal (not organized). Amazon’s Kindle and other ereaders, while offering access to a plethora of media (music, movies, ebooks, digal magazines, etc.) are still based on the one-way concept of information consumption and unless this is incorporated into a model that allows students to use the information being consumed, can we still say they are learning with this device?

Despite the above I do however see some of their benefits. In higher education with regards to digital textbooks and the keeping costs down and as I recognized above a good way to organize a large personal research library of articles in PDFs. Recently for another course project I spoke with the Vancouver Public Library Outreach Services department and learned about their ereader pilot project for the visually impaired. Ereaders also serve in aiding those with visual disabilities since the text can be manipulated making it more readable. Ebooks also have very attractive features for interaction and engagment of the material as was shown in the video about “The Last Dragonslayer” and the ability to connect to SMARTboards may be a promising way to attract attention but I tread caustiously in equating student engagement and increased attentiveness with overall improvement in literacy and learning.

Posted in: Week 06: eBooks