Upperclassmen English students at Christopher High School have a lighter burden to shoulder these days. Literally.
A gift of approximately 250 brand new Nook Simple Touches – a Barnes & Noble-produced eReader similar to the Kindle – will allow junior and seniors in advanced placement English classes to ditch the paperback and hardbound novels in exchange for a single, sleek tablet that stores up to 1,000 books in electronic form. From now on, the items will be checked out at the beginning of the year to students enrolled in AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature and Composition classes.
CHS English Department Chair Paul Winslow is stoked. Purchasing the Nooks was made possible by a “very generous” donation from garlic mogul Don Christopher, whom Winslow calls “an amazing believer in pushing public education to the next level.”
After teachers came up with the idea to implement Nooks in the classroom, “we brought it to Don Christopher, and he said, ‘I’ll make it happen,’” said Winslow. “That’s putting your money where your mouth is.”
The transition from print to digital text bolsters an ongoing effort to equip CHS students with 21st century learning skills. The Nooks will also allow teachers to dive headfirst into new, interactive methodology of language education.
Cost-savings are another perk. The Nook is the gift that keeps on giving.
“These have completely replaced our novels,” said Winslow. “The really cool thing is all of our handouts can also be done on there. No more photocopies. It’s a huge cost savings.”
For AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature and Composition classes, Winslow said the tablet will replace about 20 paperback novels. Overall, around 60 percent of the books AP English students are required to read can be downloaded free on the Nook, Winslow said. The Nook Simple Touch sells for $99 through Barnes & Noble, weighs under 7.5 ounces and even allows the reader to change the size or front of the text.
To his knowledge, Winslow says the CHS AP English classes are the first in the district to replace print text altogether with digital text.
“I am sure that some people are playing with this technology on a smaller and/or personal scale, but not at the level we are,” he said.