For most of us (well the BBCs i.e. Born Before Computers) or Digital Immigrants (born before ICTs were widely used), the use of eBooks was not commonplace. We grew up using print based books or hard copy books. The language of Kindle Books or books in ePub formats is not the language that those born before the 80s were familiar with. But now these terms are common place. Most youths regarded as digital natives (born in times of widespread use of technology) have used eBooks before on mobile devices and laptops. Such use in educational settings hasn’t grown though.
A number of reasons could be given for the lack of wide use of eBooks (electronic Books) in schools and higher educational institutions. One of the reasons could be the lack of confidence of teachers using technology. The other could be the familiarity of hard copy books which the teacher grew up with. How many times have we heard teachers or headteachers say: We don’t have enough textbooks and yet the teacher has Internet access on their mobile device or in their computer lab (for schools who re privileged to have computers with Internet access)?
Lack of confidence could be addressed by the teachers being exposed to the use of technology in teaching and learning. Where the teacher is allowed to “play” with technology, they become confident and are able to wisely use the vast Internet educational resources and open educational resources (OERs) available for educators. In the past week, I have downloaded over ten (10) eBooks (most of them free) from the Internet, Google Books and from the Amazon Kindle Store. The teacher has thus available to them and his or her learners far more eBooks than they would have time to read or use. Granted issues of bandwidth, Internet cost access and erratic power supply(with growing load-shedding :-) ). But where there is a will there is a way. If you are reading this article online on a blog, it just shows you the potential that technology has for teaching and learning.
What are your thoughts?