Monday, July 6, 2009

The E-Learner's Guide To Using The Kindle

(Today’s post is written by a guest writer, Thomas Rheinecker, who is a freelance author and writes about education topics, such as how to research online university reviews, accreditation, and more.)

There are many ways to use the Kindle. This modern marvel of engineering is particularly suited to educational uses. Beyond the basic presentation of text, it could be utilized in any learning environment to facilitate learning both on an individual and a group level. As a student, you could take advantage of this device to maximize your own learning if you only take the time to learn how to do just that.

The Future Of Textbooks

Of course, students can get textbooks on the Kindle and then study them that way. Ideally, this would be cheaper in the long run than always purchasing new books for each new class. Over time, the cost of the Kindle is bound to come down too making it even more of a smart financial move for students.

A learning institution could even have a set of Kindles for a class so that all students would have the same access to this teaching tool. Content could be sent directly to each Kindle for review by the student. The usage does not have to stop with the simple textbook content. Teachers could also take this opportunity to disperse other learning materials such as review notes or materials to help students prepare for upcoming classes.

Students And Faculty Working Together

On an individual basis, students can highlight the text in the Kindle and take notes as well. These notes are then stored for retrieval online later. If multiple Kindles are registered to an account then all of them will be able to access notes taken to that account.

In this way a teacher could post notes for the entire class to review along with reading material. This could be especially helpful when students are away from class and are facing challenging reading assignments. The notes could provide the necessary assistance to make these reading efforts fruitful even in the absence of the real life teacher to provide guidance.

In the same way that teachers could supply notes for students, students could work together in their note taking efforts. The applications could be useful for any subject and at a variety of different learning levels. It can even read the text aloud at a speed chosen by the reader and in a male or a female voice.

Who Needs A Dictionary?

On top of the potential for the teacher's notes to be included and for the test to be read aloud by the device, there is another feature that will prove helpful regardless of the text. The Kindle has a built-in dictionary. You have the option of highlighting a word so that it will appear towards the bottom of the screen along with its definition. This helps a reader to continue on with the text with a complete understanding without the need to go get a dictionary.

For those who enjoy learning using the Kindle, there are many different ways to take advantage of this device. Both students and faculty can use this device either as a personal tool or in conjunction with a class to facilitate the learning process. The full potential for this technology will reveal itself in time.

Original image: 'Kindle' http://www.flickr.com/photos/90288178@N00/2345074968 by: Steven Harris

6 comments:

stevekinney said...

It's even more incredible when you think about the possibilities of the Kindle DX which can render full PDF formats. Some colleges and universities are already experimenting with integrating Kindle DX's into their curriculums.

Clix said...

If you have a class set, it's probably a BAD idea to hand out study guides on the Kindle, because there's no way to have all the students take it with them to do any studying outside of class.

Until/unless the Kindle becomes cheaper & more durable and books on Kindle become significantly cheaper, I think you can do more with a cheap laptop.

loonyhiker said...

@stevekinney: I'm glad to see some colleges and universities using technology in their curriculums. It drives me crazy when I hear professors tell me they have no clue how to use technology.

loonyhiker said...

@Clix: I probably won't buy a Kindle until the price comes down. I am too attached to my laptop now but I did see an elderly man on our cruise ship that loved his Kindle.

Meaghan said...

Wow...times sure have changed! Soon paper will be obsolete!

loonyhiker said...

@Meaghan I still think there are people who prefer paper to technology. At least this way more trees are saved. :)