Ebooks and Audio Books

RF_ebooks_audiobooksI’m participating in the 20-day Blogging Challenge from Jennifer Brower over at Where Books and Technology Meet. She has posted 20 days of blogging challenges for librarians. I’m modifying and responding to one prompt each week. I needed differentiation for this one!

Challenge: Your library and Ebooks and Audiobooks: Have you jumped on board? How have you promoted and marketed you online selection to your students and staff?

I do not have an Ebooks in my library yet. I think we’re almost ready for them. There has been a lot of experimenting with different platforms in my district and I’m about sold on one or two options. But frankly, the budget has been so tight and I’ve been trying to fill in some holes that were in the collection I inherited that I’ve been busy buying books for the kids. At this point, with my budget, I see Ebooks as mostly for instruction. I plan to purchase science and social studies topics with unlimited simultaneous access. I can make a great impact with Ebooks in nonfiction than I can in fiction.

Instead, for the students, I rely on free sources. I have a section of the homepage on my library catalog with links to We Give Books, TumbleBooks, Storyline Online, and other sources such as these that provide students with ebooks online. I feel that at this point this a good compromise.

In the world of audiobooks I am ready for something new. Many schools, including mine, are still using CD and cassette players with a round of headphones for listening centers. I think we’re to the point where we need to take listening centers digital. I have experimented with using iPods in library listening centers and this has worked very well. Keeping them charged is the trickiest thing because they don’t plug in to a power source all the time. Worrying about theft occupied about 30 minutes of my time, but I have that figured out as well. To take these listening centers beyond the library and into the classroom though requires some more thought. I’m working on a plan to propose to my principal with the hope that we can secure the funding to roll out new listening centers to a few grade levels at a time.

My plan is to purchase mp3 players for each classroom and create a library of digital audio books. My two stumbling blocks are these: Should we go for multiple copies at a station so several students are all listening to the same book or individual stations where each student has their own book? And, how do I work out a system of ‘exchanging’ the books so that we can take the files on and off the teachers mp3 players in the most effective way? Should I store the files on one computer and require that teachers come and plug in their devices to upload? Should I be doing it? I worry that digital files can be so easily multiplied and that teachers may not be as diligent as I am in following user agreements and copyright law.

I do know that I definitely want to follow a one book-one device routine and it works great in my listening centers. The days of students accidentally recording over a cassette or struggling to rewind to the right part of the track are over.

What do you think? Have you thought about taking your listening centers digital? What do you plan to do?


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