On Blog Kindle, blogger “matthew” ponders whether the Kindle would be good for classroom use in early education (first through fifth or sixth grade). It would mean students wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting their books, and it could avoid vandalism such as notes scribbled in margins.
Of course, it does have its drawbacks—most notably, students’ tendency to break things, intentionally or accidentally. Though Amazon does have a good return and repair policy, it is unclear whether it could stand up to the rigors of grade school use.
More important would be the issue of efficacy. While the Kindle is great for sequential reading, its limited navigational options and slow refresh rate can be a pain for referring to scattered parts of a book. On top of that, until color screens come into fashion in the eReading world there will always be some question of whether enough is being done to hold student attention. There is a reason that most textbooks for children are thoroughly illustrated and brightly colored.
I suspect that the “ooh, neat toy with buttons to push!” factor of gadgets would mitigate the lack of color to at least some extent, but that’s something that would have to be seen in action to be sure.
After weighing the pros and cons, matthew suggests that the issue should probably be decided through trials, to see how well they work in the classroom; the one comment the post has gotten so far agrees. I think that could be right, but in a few years some of the drawbacks might be considerably more (pardon the pun) academic—if prices keep coming down, sooner or later e-ink readers will be cheap enough not too worry too much about kids possibly tearing up.