September 16, 2019

Standish-Sterling officials investigate putting all textbooks on e-book readers



STANDISH — Standish-Sterling Community Schools is looking toward the future with the implementation of e-book readers and interactive white boards in its schools.

Director of Instructional Services for Standish-Sterling Community Schools Beverly Skinner said the school district is reviewing its technology plan for the next three years.

“We are reviewing how (technology) affects student achievement,” she said. “We are focusing on computer-based learning.”

Skinner said that the district recently purchased 35 Kindle e-book readers with a grant received for technology. She added that the Kindles each cost approximately $139 and can hold thousands of books digitally.

The e-book readers are currently being used by English teacher Andy Madajski and his advanced English classes.

“One feature that the (students) really seem to like is the text-to-speech feature,” Madajski said. “It reads the book out loud to the students while they follow along on the screen. This is especially helpful for those students who are auditory learners or who enjoy reading books on tape.”

He said he is excited about the use of technology in the classroom.

“The basics of reading comprehension and writing well haven't changed, Madajski said. “A good, solid education and knowing how to read and write will serve our students well whether their reading an e-book or a papyrus scroll.”

“Rather than having (students) pass out nine novels and hand them back in, (they) will download them onto their Kindles,” Skinner said.

She said textbooks are currently unavailable, but should be ready sometime next year.

“I contacted the textbook companies. They are a little bit away from being able to download high school and middle school textbooks,” Skinner said. “(The textbook companies) are working on college textbooks. My son is in college and he could have downloaded (his) textbooks, rather than purchase them.”

Skinner said hard copy textbooks cost around $50 to $80. She said downloading should be cheaper.

“I can’t imagine being charged $80 per download,” she said. “There is just not enough information out there yet.”

Superintendent Michael Dodge said the school district would like to see all textbooks available digitally for a number of reasons.

“This is not just about saving money,” Dodge said. “(Students) use this kind of technology. It’s good for the environment; it’s going green.”

Skinner said it is possible for students in third grade to be given e-book readers in the future.

“They are the ones who might need this the most,” she said. “Elementary students carry a lot of books in their backpacks. That can be harmful to them.”

Standish-Sterling Community Schools have also implemented interactive white boards that are being used in a number of classrooms in the district.

“We are trying to help students learn the 21st century way,” Skinner said. “We are advancing as fast as we can.”

She said the use of technology in classrooms are helping students learn and keeping them motivated.

“This technology will get (students) active in learning,” Skinner said.


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