Saturday, May 7, 2011

E-Readers Aren’t Ready for School Yet

College students will likely continue to watch the development of e-readers from the sidelines because the devices simply aren’t yet suited for use on campus. That’s the conclusion of a blogger for the Seattle Times, who looks at the findings from a pilot study using Amazon’s Kindle DX at the University of Washington.

After seven months of use, fewer than 40% of the computer sciences and engineering graduate students taking part in the study used the device for homework. They found the Kindle DX to be poor for note-taking, and said skimming text and looking up references were difficult.

While those are all problems that could be fixed with future upgrades, the study also suggests the digital text disrupts a learning technique called cognitive mapping, which allows readers to use physical cues, such as the location of words on the page, to help retain and recall information.

A possible solution may be found in tablet computers such as the iPad, because the Apple device is able to bolster conventional text and images with interactive and multimedia content, according to Fast Company.

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