I read this post this morning and thought about students being forced to use Amazon’s new Kindle DX. While I don’t shy away from eBooks and think the Kindle DX is a step in the right direction for textbooks and newspapers, I really think this is a bad move, for one major reason. That is usability.
It’s true that the screen is bigger and as a dedicated reading device the Kindle is pretty good. But reading texts for school is a TOTALLY different type of reading and the Kindle is only going to slow students down and tick them off.
I mean have you ever tried to cross reference something between two separate works on a Kindle? It’s the worst. The device is just not made for easy navigation. Even if you have the forsite to use the bookmark feature and know exactly where the info you need is (remember no page numbers) and you are only using two books for your work, it could take you almost a full minute to close a book, navigate to the other book, find reference, make a note and navigate back and load original text. Killer!
That little flip-flop between titles would take seconds with two books open side-by-side on a desk. The Kindle is just not built with usability in mind. It’s built to deliver books and ease eye-strain. So until they fix the navigation and allow multiple texts to be loaded into the RAM all at once, I’m afraid it’s going to be slow going.
I’m all for saving the environment and spreading the eBook love, but not at the expense of time and productivity.
2 thoughts on “Poor Kindle-Laden Students”
Your general point here about the weakness at switching between documents on the Kindle is an excellent one. But nobody at Princeton is being “forced” to use a Kindle DX. And if I know the college-age mindset at all, I suspect the university will have the opposite problem — finding enough free DXs to meet the student requests.
You are correct, that most college-age folks will take anything free… especially if it’s a $489 KDX.
And you are correct again, that no one is being “forced”, but the 50-60 students per program are being hand picked AND must still pay for half the cost of each textbook on the Kindle DX AND must give the device back at the end of their studies.
So, it will allow the students to save some cash, but it won’t have the impact that many are thinking.