Friday, November 7, 2014

Carolyn Foote's IL2014 eBooks...Wow or Meh???

 Official Presentation Title: Ebooks: What can we learn from student data?

Carolyn Foote is a library hero. If anybody can launch a successful program with ebooks, she is a prime candidate. She is librarian at Westlake High School in the Eanes ISD, Austin TX. This school has plentiful technology, and teachers and students are techno savvy. It is a one to one iPad school, having first issued them to teachers and some teachers back in 2010. That the library would roll out eBooks was a given. The likelihood that students will eagerly adopt eBooks as a favorite way to enjoy their iPads seems a no brainer. In actuality though, their enthusiasm is less than one might predict. Last year she took a look at numbers and discovered that out of a student body of 2300, only 93 students were repeat users of eBooks. So maybe they should try promoting them or at least letting people know about them? Done and done. Carolyn rattled off a list of ways they had been spreading the word: announcements, posters, QR codes, online postings, reminders in bathrooms (!) and other means. Still, student enthusiasm was, well, meh. Recently she polled students using a variety of means in an effort to understand their lackluster interest. She used rolling boards made for her by the shop teacher, stickynotes on windows next to question options, as well as PollDaddy.  The first group she polled was this year’s senior class. Next she will poll freshmen, and is interested to see if their opinions are different since they have had iPads since junior high. Carolyn compared her library to a petri dish in which she is trying to learn from her students. One thing she learned through polling is that the ability to enlarge text with an eBook means very little to students. Also, if a student really likes a book and feels a personal connection with it, he or she is going to want the print copy.  Additionally, students are more likely to use eBooks for reference when doing research than to use for reading fiction.

One thing that impressed me about this presentation was that Carolyn was willing to stand up and present about the fact that implementation of eBooks at her school, seemingly a likely candidate for student adoption, turned out to be disappointing. Now she wants to figure out what is next. She does not want to spend a lot more money on a resource that is less popular than expected. In case you don’t already follow Caroline, she blogs as Technolibrary.

PS She introduced her presentation with a great video that you can find here:
I’m looking forward to watching more of this young lady’s videos at
You’re welcome.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to me how this played out. Age being a factor for me I am sure - the ability to enlarge text is extremely important. I primarily read fiction on my kindle (old school non-backlit screen) because I read at night when my eyes are tired of looking at a computer screen. For reference I prefer print because it seems easier to move back and forth (and highlight). I do use a larger samsung galaxy for reference and magazines. I find the "other" things you can do on a tablet distracting. It is far too easy to take a study break and play bejeweled for an hour. I wonder how this fits with the student data.