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At Ewen-Trout Creek, school board mulls student use of high-tech devices

e-reading, writing and arithmetic?

September 7, 2011
By STACEY KUKKONEN , Houghton Mining Gazette

EWEN - To e-read or not to e-read was a hot topic at the Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School Board of Education meeting recently.

While discussing the student handbook at its regular meeting, member Holly Driesenga asked whether students would be able to use e-readers in the school instead of traditional books, a topic that may become hotter as mobile technology grows in popularity.

The E-TC district - like many others in the region - prohibits the use of cell phones during school hours. E-readers represent another form of technology Driesenga said needed to be addressed.

Article Photos

From left, Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School Board of Education members John Pinkerton, Holly Driesenga and Jerry Leaf with Superintendent Paul Healey, discuss the use of e-readers in the school Wednesday. Currently, there is no policy concerning e-readers in the student handbook.

"It's going to come up at some point," she told the board.

Driesenga said there may be times when students will want to use their e-readers in the classroom and the handbook doesn't specifically address e-readers. However, Superintendent Paul Healey said it would be hard to mandate the technology at this point.

"There's a lot of things that can be Kindles," Healey said. "My phone can be a Kindle."

Driesenga said she was asked if personal e-readers would be allowed in the school, knowing cell phones were prohibited. Some of the students, she said, load their e-readers with books that they read in different classes.

"Are they allowed to use them, whether they are a Kindle or a phone?" Driesenga asked.

Healey said the decision should be made by the teacher of each class whether they would allow the use of e-readers. However, he said it is difficult to monitor what the students are actually doing when they use cell phones as e-readers. Healey said it's also hard to judge what a student is reading because it's easy to switch between books quickly and discreetly.

"Can they use it? I don't have a problem with that," Healey said.

E-readers are being used across the country in various school districts, member Kirk Schott said, however, the devices can also be loaded with adult magazine subscriptions, which are easily accessible on the devices.



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