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Yes, Homer on your iPads, Please!

September 20, 2010

I am turning in a grant application today – a grant for funds to purchase a pool of Kindle e-book readers on behalf of the digital library I work in, to be used in classes experimenting with digital reading, writing, and researching using e-book readers.  Our pilot class is in the English department, but I’m hoping to interest some Classics faculty in the project if it gets funded.  So the recent buzz-generating Chronicle of Higher Ed article about the e-book reader “discouragement” (not a ban!) at St. John’s College in Annapolis has kept popping up while I’ve been writing.

Here’s what I sent to  my work list-serv when someone circulated the article:

Just for the record, y’all, Digital Classics is a large and growing field, and the massive and esteemed collection of digital texts of ancient Greek (Thesaurus Linguae Gracae; http://www.tlg.uci.edu/ which has core texts available to the public and a full collection to which UGA Classics subscribes) was begun in 1972!!  And you can read it on your iPad.

If our grant is funded, I plan to be embedded in the upper-level English class that’s the pilot (Environmental Literature – should be interesting!) to experience and observe how (if!) reading a text – and we’ll be sampling novels, essays, and poetry as well as criticism – differs when an e-book reader is the medium.  We’ll also look to see if the classroom dynamic changes when all the course texts are available on a single device everyone brings to class, allowing easier consultation and cross-referencing.  I’ll also be working to get all course readings available either through reserves, through free online text for out-of-copyright works (while consulting with the faculty member to choose appropriate editions) or by linking students to texts for sale.   (And why aren’t we asking for iPads?  Because while they are way cool, they also cost more than three times what the new Kindles do, and for literature, I don’t see much benefit to their added capabilities, i.e. color, easier video, etc.)

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One comment

  1. Don’t do it. Kindle gives no way to reference anything you read; lots of books are available on it, but having bought that expensive book on Ottoman history, you cannot even follow a reference to the book you bought at 80% of the paper price. It’s an expensive con.



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