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Good Practice - Case Study
Shepherd Primary School
School No: 699
Use of Kindle eReaders
The school has achieved the ICT Mark award.
During the spring term 2012 Kindle ebook readers
were introduced into years 4 and 6, with the aim of motivating reluctant readers. Six
devices have been initially purchased.
The Kindle eReader
This device is an ebook reader made by Amazon, which enables the user to purchase, download and read ebooks from the Amazon online store. In addition to reading electronic books, the devices have additional functionality such as the ability to look up words using a built-in dictionary. Words can also be highlighted. The ebook reader has a 6 inch screen and an estimated battery life of up to a month.
The version of the Kindle owned by the school has wifi capability (Kindle 4th Generation) but as there is no way of entering the necessary proxy settings to connect to the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning, wifi access is not used in the school.
Use of the Kindles
The Kindles are used in years 4 and 6 on a daily basis, during guided reading sessions with groups of children who are able, but reluctant readers. In year 4 the children have been reading the Kindle version of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, whilst in year 6 the book The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket has been used. When reading the books, children have been able to use Kindle features such as highlighting words for identifiying words of a particular type. There has been a clear increase in the motivation to read in the pupils using the Kindles, and children who are not currently using them are wanting to. The school also reports instances of parents buying their children Kindles as a result of their use in the classroom.
Because the Kindle has a built-in dictionary it is easy for the children to look up words they are not familiar with. This has lead to them becoming more independent readers and there is a potential for them to be able to access texts at a higher level than they might otherwise read.
Children who use devices needed showing how to use them, so that they can navigate the menus, bookmark pages and highlight words etc.
The Kindles are managed individually by connecting them to a computer with access to the Amazon account from which the ebooks are purchased. Once bought, the book is transferred to each device in turn through a USB cable. This is carried out on an office computer, and the school admin assistant is in charge of the Amazon account.
The school has purchased leather protective cases for each Kindle and they are stored in a plastic crate for easy portability around the school.
Because only a small number of books are being used, management of the devices is an easy task which does not take up too much time.
Due to the success of using the 6 Kindles already owned, the school hope to be able to purchase another 6 to expand on the current use.
They are also hoping to create their own publications for reading on the Kindles. For example, documents created in Word can be converted to PDF, which can be read on the Kindle. In this way, documents such as the school newspaper could be read as an ebook. It is hoped that children will be motivated to write if they know their work is going to be converted into an ebook format.
They are also planning to run a ‘Kindle Club’ to give other children a chance to read books on the devices, and running sessions with parents to come and read with their children.
Whilst there are a number of handheld mobile computing devices available which have multiple functions, colour screens etc. the Kindle is designed for just one purpose, which is reading. Without the potential distraction of other functions, but still with the motivational factor of it being an‘exciting electronic device,’ the Kindles have clearly been effective in motivating reluctant readers.
Of course, we cannot tell at the time of writing whether this motivation will continue once the initial excitement has worn off, although the kindles have now been in use for nearly a whole term.