The first year of utilizing e-readers in the classroom has been challenging at times. Managing the devices and the content has been time consuming, but these are probably the most important tasks. Through trial and error, research, and consulting with other schools who have implemented e-readers, I have located resources and forms to help keep my e-reader program organized. Read on for four useful tips in keeping your e-reader program organized.
Early in the year, I had trouble knowing which Kindles to charge when. This isn’t a huge deal, but if more than five Kindles needed to be charged, I wouldn’t have enough for my classes. I found that leaving the Wi-Fi on drained the batteries much more quickly. I would often turn the Wi-Fi on to transfer content and would forget to turn it back off. Battery power would also be used more quickly if students used the text-to-speech function. Basically, I found that some Kindles could go a month without charging, but some needed to be charged every two weeks. I decided to create a charge log so I knew when each was charged. This simple organizational tool ensured that I always had enough devices for each of the students in my classroom.
Instead of syncing a district credit card to our Kindles, we used a prepaid American Express card. Keeping a record of which card is being used and what has been purchased is very important when it comes to bookkeeping. Keeping this record also shows administration how much of the prepaid card has been used and that the purchases on the card are books for the devices. I found a gift card form at the Unquiet Librarian, but redesigned it to fit my needs.
Before adding content to the devices, my administrator wanted to approve the books I downloaded. This formality is no different than the one I go through when requisitioning novels to read for the next year. This approval form is another place to record the titles, publishers, and prices of the content that will be put onto the devices. It also serves as authorization to use the prepaid card to purchase the titles.
In some cases, different books will be placed on different devices. Amazon allows each book purchased to be downloaded onto six devices. For each of my accounts, I have a form stating each book that has been downloaded to the device. I also create pdf files of assignments, readings, and other supplements that I place on the devices. These are also recorded on the Kindle account purchases form.
I've blogged a few times this year on our Kindle pilot program so that other teachers can learn from our experiment. "Proposing the Use of E-readers" provides three questions to help you consider using eReaders in your classroom. "Five Lessons I’ve Learned During My Classroom Kindle Pilot" describes the positives and negatives I experienced in implementing E-readers in my classroom.