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English class goes high-tech

Students in Adam Carney's AP English Language and Composition classes this year have been experimenting with something that has never been done before at New Town High School. Students are using use the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader in class.

"I wanted students to be able to use a computer for class that was always portable," Carney said. "It's cheaper and easier to use in the long-term than textbooks. I knew I was taking a chance, but I've been able to observe it's a big help to student organization and achievement."

Most students say that the Nook has helped them improve academically, as well as assisted them in becoming more organized.

"It's easier to get information and take notes for class on it. You're able to connect and post blogs and comments on Carney's AP English page as well," student Jannah Tucker said .

"On the Nook, you're able to also access Pandora and various game apps. Sometimes I'm able to add my own music onto Pandora and listen to it while I'm in class, because I'm able to focus and do my work much more," added Gabby Holland. "There's no need to have another electronic device out to use the Internet as well, so you don't get in trouble for using electronics during school."

However, two of Carney's students, Hybia McCain and Nirvana Burley, disagreed. They don't feel like the Nook made much of an impact for them for class.

"I just don't feel like it's helped even the slightest bit," McCain said. "I just feel like actual reading helps me more."

"The Nook really has had no impact on my performance. To me, it's just an extra resource with all the tech-savvy tools," Burley said.

Despite all the benefits the Nook brings into the classroom, Carney and the students who were interviewed agreed that there was one major challenge of using the Nook for classes: the Internet.

Carney said that problems with the school's Wi-Fi have been a pain to deal with, but added, "I am continuing to work on these issues, and I hope to have them resolved soon, and at latest by the beginning of next school year."

"Particularly here at school, the Wi-Fi doesn't always work and can be very flaky," Jaelin Cook said. "It can be limiting in terms of accessing the Internet and certain functions on the Nook."

Still, students interviewed from Carney's classes said they recommend the use of the Nook for other classes at New Town High School.

"I would recommend the use of the Nook in other classes here at school, particularly for classes that require a lot of reading, such as social studies and other English classes," Shannon Shelton said. "It could also be a valuable source of adding power-points for various math classes."

Yet not all students who recommended the use of a tablet in other classes recommended the Nook.

"Though I recommend the use of the tablet for other classes, I prefer and recommend the iPad instead, because it has better quality, easier-to-access Internet, and it's easier to use overall," Jalinh Nguyen said.

David Copeland is a senior at New Town High School.

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