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Integrating Amazon Kindle at Seton Hall - Notes

Integrating Amazon Kindle at Seton Hall - Notes

Track Session at 2009 EDUCAUSE/NERCOMP Regional Conference.

March 10th, Providence, RI

Speakers: Melissa McDowell and Riad Twal

Slides available at http://connect.educause.edu/Library/Abstract/IntegratingAmazonKindleAS/48346

Seton Hall was an early adopter of an institution-wide laptop program and has continued to provide cutting edge technology – ie, Tablet PCs, “Pirate Island” in Second Life, and technology for mobile devices.  They have just piloted a program using an e-book reader.

They went with Amazon Kindle which is a digital ink device not much different technology than a high tech etch-a-sketch electronic paper display. It’s has wireless functionality, has no backlight and is easy to read outside in the direct sun.  This last item of outdoor reading seemed to be a major hit with users.

 It reads books, newspapers, & blogs.

Seton Hall provided books via Amazon and the process seems to have been a bit tedious but doable because of the small classes and low number of books provided. (3)

  • obtaining accounts for each student on SH funds
  • downloading the books unto the Kindles
  • deregistering the accounts so students couldn’t use SH $ to buy additional books

However, unlike many programs, training was not necessary because the Kindle is very easy to use.

Key points with the Kindle in the pilot

  • Lots of flexibility
  • Lots of issues

They did a mid-semester survey on the ease of navigation & overall ratings.  (results in slide set along with a number of comments from the students)  Essentially 41% were satisfied with the ease of navigation and 45+ % were dissatisfied.  However, overall satisfaction was nearly 64%.   It was noted that there are no page numbers because text size is changeable and one issue is that people like to know what size book they are reading before they begin.

An end-of-semester survey was done on reading attitudes & habits and those results are also in the slide set.  60% said they’d want to use it again in the future.  18.5% said they would not.

Some Advantages

  • Having all text in one location
  • Reading outside in direct sunlight

Some Disadvantages

  • No single file format
  • No DRM solution
  • No Backlight
  • No ‘true’ web browser

Remember the Apple Newton which was before its time.

Next steps

  • Uncertain economy
  • Where is the right fit for it in a laptop ubiquitous environment?
  • Availability of textbooks

Also -

  • New kindle is skinnier
  • Kindle available for iphone – you can only read books not blogs or newspapers.
  • Sony ebook reader and others are becoming available – but you need to have a computer

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