Students Give eBook Reader Failing Grade

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is conducting an experiment with portable ebook readers and although the study is not completed yet, most of the students would rather not to use the Kindle ereader in the classroom.

These results match up with other Kindle experiments being done elsewhere on college campuses. Students are reporting that they enjoy doing personal reading on the device, but that it simply doesn’t cut the cake when it comes to classroom work.

Students were given a Kindle DX instead of regular textbooks and paper handouts. There are seven schools in total that are taking part in the experiment. At the University of Virginia, the main concern expressed by the students was the fact that the device is too rigid for using in the classrooms where the Socratic method and case-based pedagogy is used, which requires students to be rather nimble.  Students complain that it is not easy and convenient to quickly change pages. Nor is it easy to quickly flip through graphs, charts and documents compared to paper.

A mid-study survey was conducted and when asked if they would recommend the Kindle DX to incoming students,  75 to 80% of the participating students said “no”.  When asked if they would recommend the device for personal reading, 90 to 95%  said “yes”.

What this study is telling us so far is that Amazon has a great electronic device available for people who wish to read their books, magazines and newspapers digitally, but it is not suitable for the typical, busy classroom. It is easy to make marks, comments on the regular textbook, then on the ebook reader device..

Surprising? Not really.  I agree that with the technology we  now have with e-reading devices, that they are indeed great for pleasure reading but are not all that practical for classroom use.  You can certainly flip through a paper book quickly when looking for information, fold the corners of the pages and quickly grab a pencil to make notes. The students simply feel that they are not practical  or all that convenient to use.  So, surely the team over at Amazon will probably be disappointed with the final findings of this experiment and it goes to show that it’s clearly new technology with tons of room for improvement.

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