5. Academic vocabulary. Because eBooks are interactive, not only can students look up the definition of the word, but in some advanced settings, they can look up its synonyms, antonyms, root origin, and other examples in an internet search. There is also a read-aloud function that allows students to hear how the word is pronounced, which can help with fluency and reading skills.
Not only does this help students better understand the text, but teachers can save time in comprehension remediation.
6. Computer-based testing. According to Tunisia Pullins, instructional consultant for Rourke Educational Media, states that are part of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will need to help students transition from paper-and-pencil testing to computer-based testing as part of Common Core assessments.
“Reading text online or in a digital format actually does take practice sometimes,” said Pullins. “By being able to read eBooks either on a device or on a computer screen and analyzing the text quickly, students can have a better handle on computer-based testing.”
But eBooks won’t just help in aligning curriculum to Common Core, said Harvey, since eBooks can also help teachers with instructional practice.
“Teachers using open source eBooks or creating their own eBooks can make it as interactive as they want and can cross many disciplines at once,” said Harvey. “They can also pull up eBook content on smartboards, assign students to create their own eBook creation project to gain much-needed computer skills combined with room for creativity, and much more.”
Harvey also suggested that as teachers learn how to navigate eBook quality, they should teach their students how to do the same.
“Finding legitimate sources of online and digital content is a new frontier for everyone, not just students,” he explained. “As you begin to sift through what’s good content and what’s not, try to think of how you’re doing this and make it a teachable moment. It’s critical thinking skills for everyone!”
Moving forward, Pullins and Harvey noted that there are still many considerations when implementing eBooks for student learning, especially whether or not the non-linear learning style—skipping to links and videos before finishing the whole text—will be a challenge for students and how this will affect comprehension.