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Unit 1: Module 7



About this course

What are eReaders?

How does Electronic Ink work?

Compairing eReaders

About this course

This self-study course has been developed by Load2Learn, a service providing accessible curriculum textbooks and images to support dyslexic, partially sighted or blind learners who have difficulty reading standard print.

It is part of the “Creating and using accessible curriculum resources self-study course” available on Load2Learn. Licenced under Creative Commons.

What are eReaders?

An e-book reader, also called an e-book device or e-reader, is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital e-books and periodicals.

Any device that can display text on a screen may act as an e-book reader, but specialised e-book reader designs may optimise portability, readability (especially in sunlight), and battery life for this purpose. A single e-book reader is capable of holding the digital equivalent of hundreds of printed texts.

Examples of eReaders:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Barnes and Noble NOOK
  • Sony PRS
  • Kobo
  • E-book reader application on a Tablet such as an Apple iPad or  Samsung Galaxy Tab.

How does Electronic Ink work?

Electronic Ink (E Ink) is a paperlike display used primarily in eBook readers. E Ink displays are especially popular due to their resemblance to printed paper. Besides being considered by many as easier on the eyes, E Ink also boasts lower power consumption, particularly when compared to traditional backlit liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. These advantages, along with adoption by major eReader manufacturers such as Amazon and Sony, have caused E Ink to dominate the e-book reader display market.

E Ink technology works by using tiny microcapsules that are suspended in liquid placed within a film-like layer. The microcapsules, which are about the same width as human hair, contain both positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles.

Applying a negative electrical field causes the white particles to come to the surface. Conversely, applying a positive electrical field causes the black particles to come to the surface. By applying different fields at various parts of a screen, E Ink can produce a text display.

Activity 1

Watch the “” video on YouTube.

Compairing eReaders

eReaders vary in price, size, type of screen, back lighting options, etc, creating a range of e-readers to suit different budgets and requirements.

Activity 2

Watch a couple of the videos on YouTube.

There is also a “Comparison of e-book readers” page on Wikipedia.

Activity 3

Choose two E Ink eReaders and two Tablets that you can gain access to. If you do not have access to them in your organisation, most technology sales outlets will have a selection on display that you can get hands-on experience with.

Have a play and see what they can do.

  • Return to the learners in the case studies, would this technology help meet their needs?
  • Select one of the students from the case studies and think about which ereader or tablet you pick to meet their needs and justify why this is more suitable than the others.
  • What are the main differences between E Ink readers and Tablets? How would this difference affect their learning?

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