Princeton students, profs give Kindle mixed grades
Princeton University has released findings from its semester-long pilot of Amazon.com’s Kindle DX electronic reader, and the results appear mixed: While students reduced the amount of paper they printed for their classes by nearly 50 percent, some students and professors said they felt restricted by the device....
‘e-Readers must be significantly improved to have the same value in a teaching environment as traditional paper texts,’ a university press release said.
Students and faculty who were surveyed after the pilot program ended said they appreciated the portability of the Kindle DX, and the fact that it greatly reduced the printing and photocopying they did for their courses. But they said they missed the ability to highlight text directly, take notes, and flip back and forth through pages of their textbook easily.
About 65 percent of the participants in the Princeton pilot said they would not buy another e-Reader now if theirs was broken. Almost all the participants said they were interested in following the technology to its next stages, however, because they think a device that works well in academia would be worth having.
The things students liked best about the Kindle DX included its battery life, the wireless connection, and the portability of the e-Reader device; the fact that all the course reading was on one device; the ability to search for content; and the readability of the screen, including the fact it could be read in full sunlight.
The top five suggestions that students had for improving the Kindle to make it more applicable for course work were (1) improving the ability to highlight and annotate PDF files; (2) improving the annotation tools; (3) providing a folder structure to keep similar readings together; (4) improving the highlighting function; and (5) improving the navigation within and between documents on the reader—including having more than one document open at the same time for purposes of comparison.