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Cleveland Schools Issue Nook Tablets to Students

Students at Washington Park Environmental Studies Academy and Mound K-8 School in Cleveland, OH will be starting classes with a Barnes and Noble Nook Color tablet tucked in their backpacks. School district representatives said the tablets are a good way for the district to save on textbook costs while also teaching students the technological resourcefulness necessary to keep up in the twenty first century workplace.

In addition to issuing the tablets to 6-8th grade students at Mound and all students at Washington Park, which serves students in 9-12 grade, faculty and staff at both schools will have access to Nooks. The tablets will come pre-loaded with educational material from Bookshelf Project partner Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as a built in dictionary, encyclopedia, outside book assignments, and hundreds of educational videos created by both the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and third parties. The tablets also allow students to take and share notes. The built in Wi-Fi will enable students to download additional educational resources as well as use the Internet to research school topics.

The Bookshelf Project seeks to spark a passion for technology among young people in urban areas. Providing every child a tablet is designed to equalize the level of technology in the learning environment while ensuring every child also has access to high quality educational materials. In addition to being an affordable alternative to classroom computers paired with traditional textbooks, the Nook was chosen with the goal of keeping educational technology as relevant and appealing to students as possible.

In the classroom, the project offers teachers access to a broad spectrum of textbooks as well as outside book assignments and lesson plans from fellow teachers. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is providing professional development and training to help teachers prepare to teach a classrooms full of students with Nooks. The Bookshelf Project will give also give both teachers and administrators additional options for professional development.

"As we close the achievement and technology gap, we welcome and fully expect students will engage in an active technology-based collaboration with their teachers," said Steven Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, in a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt press release. "As a result, all students will become globally competitive readers, writers, and achievers."

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Chris-Rachael Oseland is a writer, consultant, and speaker soon to be based in Austin, TX.