Thursday, September 04, 2008

No More Pencils, No More Books

Anyone paying for college textbooks will look at an advertisement for an e-book reader and wonder when the technology will be put to a really good use.

Thanks to a pilot program initiated by Gill & MacMillan, a small group of lucky students at Caritas College in Ballyfermot have lightened the load in their backpacks. No more books for eighteen girls at this secondary school in County Dublin. Nor pencils, for that matter. They're carrying around the iLiad e-book, developed by iRex Technologies.

All of their schoolbooks are loaded into the reader, along with fifty works of fiction that will see them through coursework in literature. The device also serves as a pad to take notes, reducing the scrawls and scribbles of the young ladies into bits and bytes. Should one of them spend the day writing "Mrs. Justin Timberlake" or "Mrs. Jonas Brother" in the margins, there'll be no need to worry about that pesky kid brother finding the evidence. Like any other computer-type device, the notes can be erased or kept if desired.

So there goes the excuse about forgetting the maths textbook at home. Everything is on one compact device, easier to remember, all the necessities in one convenient location.

Will this modern technology ever catch on with the university bookstore? Or will e-book versions of the ever-changing textbooks cost just as much as the hard copy, on top of the expense of buying the e-book reader?

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