Many of us, the digital immigrants that is, cringe at the thought of reading a “book” that doesn’t include pages for us to turn. However as I scrolled through my Facebook feeds Christmas night, I recognized that many have warmed up to the idea of carrying thousands of books in the palm of their hand and Santa had heard their requests.
Thus far Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles Nook have taken the cake when it comes to e-readers. In addition to allowing you to carry around thousands of books in your purse or briefcase, they both includes 3G wireless coverage (Kindle has no fees or contracts) that allow you to download books, magazines, and newspapers while your on the go, not to mention let you read your favorite blog posts as well.
Though Nook has a very colorful, touch screen menu for navigating, the Kindle really pulls a head with a few unique features that are great for the classroom. One of the best features for educational use is that it will read the books aloud to you via its built-in speaker or via a headphone jack, which is perfect for our special education students. Another great feature for use in the classroom is the ability to clip important text to save, jot notes about what your reading, and bookmark (Nook can highlight and bookmark). Kindle also connects you to Wikipedia for a quick answer to any questions you may have as you as you read and allows you to look up any word as you read using the Oxford dictionary. Are you ready to give up your love of turning pages and the thrill of the potential for paper cuts yet?
Clearly the Kindle takes reading to a whole knew level as it allows you to expand your knowledge in a variety ways that aren’t limited to the text of the book you are reading. But the recently released Skiff Reader has been noted for being 2 inches larger, yet thinner, having better image resolution, and a touch screen interface. I am not sold as of yet that this would be the optimal e-reader for the classroom however as it doesn’t mention anything about a read-a-loud feature, Wikipedia or dictionary connections, note taking capabilities. As of yet, I think Skiff Reader along with Nook will need to beef up their features before having a chance at winning the high ground over the Kindle for classroom application.