MyNotes - eBooks in Texas High School

Source: e-Reader Sales will Triple
On reviewing this article--below are my take-aways--I'm kind of surprised they went with laptops...for the price of 125 laptops, say at $400 each if they were netbooks, they could have picked up double the amount of WiFi eReaders (e.g. Nook, Kindle, whatever). Of course, a netbook/laptop provides more functionality and raises the question if eReaders are really going to last as a niche market.

What do I think? Well, obviously, yes. . .but not in schools focused on tightly controlling the content, how students use these devices when an adult is in the room but whose eyes aren't glued to the students' laptop screen. When you consider universities that have instituted digital libraries with eReaders, it makes you wonder what reasons K-12 schools have to continue spending precious dollars on laptops ($800-$1000 usually), netbooks ($200-$600) instead of eReaders.

Being in K-12 myself, I can't help but think that maybe these reasons apply:

  1. Schools need to control content, so they are better able to lock down laptops/netbooks running a stock operating system (Mac or Windows).
  2. Schools want more bang for their buck, so 125 netbooks might be better than 275 eReader devices, providing more functionality for internet searching, etc.
In a recent Mac vs PC debate on a Technology Directors list in Texas, the following point was made:
....our most recent laptop purchase was $430 each for full-size Lenovo G555 models which are very fine and sturdy units that compare favorably with the last teacher Dell laptops we paid well over 2x that for.

What are you going to do when your Superintendent asks, What are your budget-friendly plans for creating digital libraries at our campuses?

In the meantime, here are my take-aways:

Lamar High Library Goes High-Tech - Education News Story - KPRC Houston
    • Lamar High Library Goes High-TechBy Rachel McNeillPOSTED: Monday, November 29, 2010
      • Lamar High School Principal James McSwain told KPRC Local 2 that five bookshelves worth of materials that had not been checked out in 10 years were replaced with E-books.
        • Sudents sit and relax with laptops on couches and tables, downloading any one of thousands of book titles online....
        • There are a total of 125 laptops in the library and another 125 available for checkout by teachers for their classes.The laptops were all budgeted for by the school.


        doug0077 said…
        Hi Miguel,

        The choice of laptop models to me is a minor issue. The big picture here is that the library is moving into a relevant and sustainable future.

        My question was about why the librarian had not been weeding all along!

        Unknown said…
        Hi Miguel,

        um, why would an ebook reader such as the Nook or Kindle require lockdown? I'm questioning the entire mentality of "locking down" any computer -- how is that providing a learning experience other than figuring out how to get around the blocking software/hardware. This obsession with control and "security" seems to be turning our schools and society into a police state mentality that I find absurdist in the extreme.

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