Kindles in the ClassicsDecember 14, 2010
I found out last week that a grant proposal I wrote was approved. A team consisting of me, a fellow librarian, and an English professor applied for a Learning Technology Grant from the Center for Teaching and Learning at UGA. Here’s the abstract:
As students shift to reading texts on screens, faculty and librarians must prepare to support their digital reading, writing, and research. This project proposes the purchase of a set of e-book readers, Amazon’s Kindle 2.0, to be used as an integral part of the classroom experience; students will receive Kindles for use during the semester to read all of their class texts. They will be surveyed regarding their experience using the e-reader, and the instructor will explore how the device changes pedagogy. After the pilot is complete, the Kindles may be used by other classes or circulated to UGA students.
I am going to be embedded in the class, a 4000-level class in Environmental Literature (Thoreau to Annie Dillard, essentially), which should be a lot of fun in its own right. Once I get my hands on a Kindle, I will be developing online resources for the students in the class that cover how to acquire the class texts (including scholarly articles) and also how to find free or low-cost e-books on any subject, including leisure reading. I am excited to explore the annotation features the Kindle provides, and to see how the experience of reading changes on a Kindle. I am very curious to see what the students’ attitudes are!
I’m also thinking about what’s next for the Kindles. Could they be used in a Classics class? I don’t know much about availability of Classical texts or scholarly works in Classics on the Kindles, and I don’t think there is currently the kind of built-in dictionary for ancient languages that the Kindle has for English. Have any Classics publishers considered special formatting for e-books that would allow direct access to endnotes or a lexicon? Has much been done with computerized language learning in Latin or Greek? I’ll be trying to talk to faculty to find out, but if anyone can comment with experiences or links to articles on e-books in Classics or digital language learning, I’d be very interested!