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The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School



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Ebooks emerge among students

IMG_2547Krzysztof Chwala

Staff Writer

Senior Megan Marfilius first started reading for pleasure in eighth grade. Her newfound love for reading all started with one book: “Twilight.”

During her week-long Thanksgiving break, she managed to read Stephenie Myers’ entire saga, a staggering 2528 pages.

“Once you find that one book that just sucks you in, you’re like, ‘Wow. I like this kind of book.’ So you keep going for that kind of book,” Marfilius said. “Then you find a book that’s sort of like that one, but sort of like something else too, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God. I like this, too.’ So then you start reading those books … It’s so easy to branch off and read what you like.”

After reading the Twilight series, known for its vampire content, Marfilius went on to read ghost books, then “smooshy romances”, thrillers and even the occasional Stephen King horror novel, not to mention the seven times she went back to read the Twilight series.

Marfilius reads for pleasure or for class by two means: the traditional physical book, or the Ebook, the electronic version of a book that can be read on a tablet, phone or computer, which is slowly gaining popularity. According to Pew Research Internet Project, 28 percent of Americans read Ebooks, compared to the 17 percent of 2011.

Nevertheless, Marfilius still enjoys, if not prefers, reading from a physical book.

“I like the feeling of turning a page,” Marfilius said. ”I feel like I get more immersed into a book when I’m physically holding it.”

On the other hand, Marfilius also says there are times when using her Kindle is advantageous over reading from a paper book.

Marfilius says that she likes that her books are accessible on multiple devices, and prefers the weight of her Kindle over lugging around a book, especially because she tends to read more lengthy books.

English teacher Teri Buczinsky also sees Ebooks as beneficial, but in a classroom setting.

The Ebook version of “They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky,” her class’ latest reading assignment, cost $8.54, compared to the $11.27 a paperback costs.

Marfilius also says that if she is to by herself a book, it is more likely for her to purchase an Ebook due to the price factor.

Buczinsky was the first teacher at Prospect to use Subtext, an app that allows for collaborative reading. With the app, she is able to check students’ progress, annotations and discussions.

“If kids were honest they would say, ‘[Subtext] makes everybody more accountable,'” Buczinsky said.

According to BucInsky, one of the greatest benefits that Subtext offers is that it gives students an equal opportunity to voice their views: shyer students reluctant to offer any insight in class have been able to do so through the app.

Although Subtext does have its advantages, Buczinsky said it does not always cooperate.

When her class was reading Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Buczinsky’s app suddenly stopped working. She was not able to see any annotations her students were making. As a result, she found herself going back and forth with the designers of Subtext trying to find a solution.

They were not able to do so by the time her class finished reading the book.

According to freshman Itzel Velazquez, who is in Buczinsky’s first period Honors Written and Oral Communications course, beginning to use Subtext was an intricate process.

Of many features, Velazquez mentions the complexity of making annotations within the app. Different passages she annotates for are color coded, and after making the annotations, she must make them visible to her classmates.

Furthermore, to see the questions that Buczinsky posts throughout the book, students must have an internet connection, and according to Velazquez, it must be a strong connection.

During class, Velazquez has had troubles doing assignments and following links due to  a weak connection. She also loathes that she cannot do homework in the car.

Freshman Maha Abbasi, who is in the same class as Velazquez, finds herself benefitting from using Subtext.

“The teacher is able to check whether or not you did [your homework] without having to turn anything in, you can’t lose any notes, and it’s all on [the iPad],” Abbasi said. “It’s great. It just makes the assignment easier to do.”

Head librarian Christie Sylvester sees one potential problem with the Ebooks: a digital divide. In the early 2000s, not all families had access to computers.Similarly, not all students nowadays have access to a device such as an iPad or Kindle.

Nevertheless, she does see the Ebooks overtaking books in the future, and Prospect’s library evolving to accommodate these changes in preference.

According to Sylvester, the library has evolved in the past to incorporate more computer labs. Now, the library is adapting to the surge of Ebooks with an online database known as Overdrive, available to students.

With Overdrive, students virtually have an entire library collection at their fingertips. (For information on how to use Overdrive, follow the QR code.)

“[Libraries are] a place of knowledge: for gathering knowledge, for seeking knowledge, for getting assistance,” Sylvester said. “People still need assistance, you still need guidance in seeking knowledge, and that will never change. Just the format will change.”


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