We live in an age where we can’t ignore the presence of technology around us. Over the last ten years, eBooks in classrooms have become an indispensable part of the education system. Educational institutes are introducing eLearning to improve students’ overall learning experience. Blackboards have been replaced with virtual whiteboards, projectors have made a permanent place for themselves in classrooms, and printed books are increasingly being replaced with eBooks.
While students are familiar with technology and have happily accepted this new change in the education system, what about the teachers? Are they comfortable using eBooks in classrooms to teach their pupils? After all, it is they who teach this younger tech-savvy lot. But looking at the growing rate of educational institutes introducing eBooks in schools and universities, we can say that the teaching faculty does believe that eBooks in classrooms have made a positive impact on the teaching and learning process.
Here are some reasons why teachers prefer eBooks in classrooms:
1. Easy to Explain Concepts with the Help of Visual Aids:
Teachers find it convenient to explain and demonstrate concepts with the help of visual aids that eBooks offer, such as videos and graphic illustrations. It becomes easier for a teacher to explain concepts after the student has gone through an entire video. For example, students can watch a detailed video of how the solar system works, while the teacher is simultaneously providing descriptions of the same. True, there are projectors to show the same thing. But holding an eBook and going through the chapter adds a personal touch to the learning process. Each student holding an eBook can go through the lessons at their own pace. They can rewind and pause to discuss further about the topic.
Digital images can be magnified, enabling the users to zoom and view all the details clearly. For instance, an image of an eye. The teacher and student can have a detailed view of the eye, which is not possible with a printed image on paper. In an eBook, the content can be embedded with external hyperlinks, click and reveal buttons etc. eBook thus facilitates an interactive session, where every student is involved in the learning process. Also, the retention rates are much higher if the courses are delivered on an interactive platform.
2. Gamification Makes Learning Interesting:
Classroom is a place where students learn new things and at the same time they are competing with their peers to score the highest marks in all subjects. With eBooks being embedded with gamification, teachers are able to use these techniques to motivate students to do better in class. It helps the teachers to gauge how well the students fare in their tests and accordingly encourage them to do well the next time by creating a competitive environment.
Whenever a student scores the highest marks in an assignment, the teacher could give out a token of recognition. This goes a long way in increasing the student’s confidence and encourages him to study and do well in future tests and assignments. Gamification gives rise to healthy competition in the classroom.
3. Increases Engagement in Classroom:
eBooks have a lot of interactive elements where students and teachers can make annotations, highlight text etc. Students can bookmark pages and search for words in the course module or look up words in a dictionary, helping them engage with their course materials. Teachers can also provide them with reference links so that students can go to the relevant links and read additional reference material without having to search on the internet.
Teachers usually try to cultivate a reading habit among students by assigning reference books and the students may or may not read them with interest. But since eBooks are more engaging than your regular books, with more illustrations and interactivities, students are more likely to read them. And this time, their study material is not limited to a classroom, they can carry it wherever they want and go through the contents.
4. Helps Monitor Classroom Activities:
Teachers can assign projects and homework to the entire classroom at once. When students submit their assignments, the teacher can immediately view their answers and give them feedback. Such quick response helps students to learn and retain the information.
With the help of user analytics, teachers can see the progress of each student. The number of chapters read, the number of assignments completed, or exercises attempted, names of students who have gone through the chapters etc. It can also show how many students are currently reading which chapter. It gives a detailed view of each student’s performance and reading history, allowing teachers to monitor everyone’s activities in class.
5. Provide Updated Content:
In case the teacher feels like some content needs to be changed or updated, they no longer have to wait for the end of the academic year for a new book to be published. Contents in the eBook can be updated easily and shared with everyone. That’s one benefit that cloud storage offers. Since all the content is stored on the cloud, there’s no risk of loss of data. Teachers can have all time access to the cloud content and can add or update contents of the course module as required.
6. Helps Students to Learn Faster:
When teachers use eBooks in classrooms, students tend to pay more attention. Because they’ve got additional content other than just text material, such as videos, audio files, and animations. These interactive additions to their course books help them learn faster. Their world of knowledge comes alive with rich images and interactivities, helping them understand the concepts clearly. With students taking more interest in their learning material, teachers can explore the chapters in depth, providing a compelling learning experience.
7. Easy to Pass Over to Next Batch of Students:
Some educational institutes opt to loan eBooks to students for each academic year. After the year ends, they can lend it to the next batch of students. This is resourceful planning, which would not have been possible with paper books. By the end of the academic year paper books could end up damaged or torn, with papers coming off due to daily usage. It suffers a lot of wear and tear throughout the year. It may or may not be fit for reuse. But with a little bit of care and maintenance, eBooks can be kept in a good condition. And the institute can loan it to the next batch of students. By the end of the year, you can ask your students to clear the eBooks of all the markings and annotations made by them, so that the next batch can start afresh.
8. Share and Collaborate:
eBooks in classrooms enable teachers to promote collaboration and communication among students by allowing them to share content with their peers. Students belong to the social media generation where content is constantly being uploaded, shared, liked and commented on. eBook enables them to do the same on their learning platform. Teachers can set up an online forum for discussions and can become a part of these discussions and resolve their queries. Interaction in the classroom and virtual world leads to debates and discussions which are helpful for a student’s overall learning. Interacting with the faculty members outside the classroom environment also helps build a good rapport between the student and the teacher.
As of now, there are no major statistics to show whether teachers are equally enthusiastic about using eBooks in the classroom instead of traditional books. But, if you consider the advantages that it offers to students and teachers, it indicates that teachers can do a better job at imparting knowledge and help in a student’s development process with the help of eBooks. Although some people are concerned about whether students will fully be able to concentrate on their lessons as you are providing them with a hand-held device with an internet connection. They could check out other stuff on the internet- games, social media etc. Now we don’t want that, do we? The only way to counter this problem is by keeping the classes interactive so that they are paying attention to what is being taught and are actively participating in the lessons. Before implementing eBooks in classrooms, educational institutes must first ensure that the teachers are well-trained on how to use an eBook, only then can they put it to effective use in a classroom.