As Kindles and Nooks are becoming more popular, teachers face the challenges of allowing students to use these modern conveniences while ensuring they stay on task with their electronic devices.
But this might become more difficult as new apps for the iPhone or iPad offer paid subscriptions to e-books, including a new app by Oyster, which allows subscribers to access more than 200,000 books for a monthly fee of less than $10.
Philip Gura, a UNC English professor, said he allows students to use devices in class to access books and materials, but he is careful to monitor them and make sure the students stay on task.
“What you worry about are those people sitting below the middle in the back rows that have their machines up, and you can’t really tell what they are looking at,” Gura said.
“It does sometimes act as a distraction when you are wondering, ‘Is that person with me?,’ particularly if you are talking about something fairly profound and you see a big smile on someone’s face as he is looking at a machine.”
Victoria Ekstrand, a UNC journalism professor, said that part of the key to maintaining order in the classroom is to set ground rules early.
“You have to set the ground rules to that very early in the semester, though, and you have to be really diligent about enforcing that,” Ekstrand said.
She also said that having such devices sometimes helped further discussion as students can look up additional information online.