A study of how University of Washington graduate students integrated an Amazon Kindle DX into their course reading provides the first long-term investigation of e-readers in higher education.
Details on the study:
The researchers interviewed 39 first-year graduate students in the UW’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, 7 women and 32 men, ranging from 21 to 53 years old.
By spring quarter of 2010, seven months into the study, less than 40 percent of the students were regularly doing their academic reading on the Kindle DX. Reasons included the device’s lack of support for taking notes and difficulty in looking up references. (Amazon Corp., which makes the Kindle DX, has since improved some of these features.) Continue reading
Flashback to fall 2009 and the pilot textbook study with the Kindle DX on 4 college campuses. Result…failure due to law suit from the National Federation of the Blind. The device, not accessible. Luckily Amazon learned from this mistake and went back to development, producing their new Kindle with a voice guide that reads all menu options aloud so blind and other print-disabled people can navigate the device menus.
Kudos from the Federation Press Release: “Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We commend Amazon on the unveiling of a new Kindle that blind and print-disabled people can use. In order to compete in today’s digital society, blind and print-disabled people must be able to access the same reading technologies as the sighted. The National Federation of the Blind has long been urging Amazon to make its reading device accessible, and we are pleased that our efforts have come to fruition.”
Some good reads out there in the blogosphere these last few weeks. Many of these are focused on the electronic textbook and/or implications of such. Additional articles include analysis on the library and bookstore of the future and a comical video about digital publishing and DRM.
I attended the Adobe eBook Platform webinar today. Some notes and thoughts are below:
Dave Dickson, Product Manager, was the primary speaker
Publishers want to produce eBooks in a single file format, but consumers want to purchase the eBook in the format of their choice
Adobe’s role – to be an enabler. Publishers author in either pdf or epub, use adobe’s content server 4 (pdf,epub) and deliver in either adobe digital editions or the reader mobile software for multiple devices. Continue reading
Listened in on a Kindle Loan program at the Handheld Librarian conference today. Panelists from university and public libraries discussed their current Kindle loan programs. Some highlights included:
- Each school had between 4 and 8 Kindles for loan, mostly Kindle 1 and 2
- Circulation staff handled the loan/fines and the downloading of titles
- Program started as an ILL service, asking patrons with ILL requests if they were open to using the Kindle/ebook (about 1/2 were willing to during the pilot) Continue reading
From Teleread By David Rothman
6 Lessons One Campus Learned about E-Textbooks is the headline over Jeffrey R. Young’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. But perhaps it should read instead, “E-textbooks not ready for college students yet, at least in many cases.”
Northwestern Missouri State University used the Sony Reader in a pilot study and, according to Young, found that students demanded printed books instead because of navigation problems with E.
Mind you, this wasn’t with the new PRS-700, which lets you use a stylus to move around. So maybe the results would have been different. Continue reading
An abledbody news article last week discusses the new Kindle DX and it’s text-to-speech program that will read a book aloud. According to the abledbody article, the Kindle does not go far enough to provide an accessible player to persons with disabilities. The eBook menus and controls are not audio accessible, limiting access to those with visual disabilities. I’m not certain Kindle had persons with disabilities in mind when they created this new text-to-speech feature since it is not limited to those with disabilities. Kindle will work with Pearson, Cengage Learning, Wiley and 75 other University Presses to provide textbooks on the Kindle this year. Additionally, 3 newspapers have given Amazon the rights to text-to-speech content, NYT, Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Sounds to me like the much broader market, with a potential to listen to books in the car, while walking, doing housework, or any other multitude of activities is what got Amazon tickled pink about text-to-speech. Just in case you didn’t hear, Kindle will begin a text book pilot program with 6 Universities this fall.