The University of Washington was one of seven schools who participated in pilot studies of the Kindle DX eReader in higher education. The study was carried out by UW technology researchers in order to determine how well the eReader fits into academic reading. The results weren’t outstanding, but many remain optimistic.
The study followed 39 graduate students, who were given a Kindle DX at the beginning of autumn quarter 2009. By spring quarter 2010, less than 40 percent of the students were using the device on a regular basis.
But why? “There is no eReader that supports what we found these students doing,” says Alex Thayer, a UW doctoral student, “It remains to be seen how to design one.”
Some of the challenges encountered with the Kindle include difficulty switching between reading techniques such as skimming. Some students kept paper nearby to take notes while others used a separate computer to look up references more easily.
According to Charlotte Lee, a UW Human Centered Design and Engineering professor, “E-readers are not where they need to be in order to support academic reading.” However, she predicts that e-readers will reach that point “sooner than we think.”
Read the full article by Hannah Hickey here.