The Kindle DX was recently used in a semester-long pilot study at Princeton University, and it successfully eliminated student paper-usage by 50%. It's possible – the ereader may replace traditional textbooks in the current classroom environment. Students who participated in the study however, were quick to point out that the Kindle could still use some improvement before it can be used as a complete substitute of books and other written resources.
In the test run, 50 students participated to determine if the Kindle DX would effectively reduce paper usage without hurting the classroom experience. The voluntary project was managed by Princeton with the help of Amazon.
The students noted that the ereader's portability was excellent, and they did not have to print or photocopy as many documents as before with the Kindle DX. Students did however, express their frustration with the highlighting and notation functions, saying that is was still easier to perform these tasks on traditional texts.
Participating students enrolled in three pilot classes: Civil society undergraduate course, Diplomacy graduate course, Ancient Rome graduate course. The course texts were loaded into the Kindle DX, and at the end of the trial, survey data was completed to assess the amount of paper used.
In the diplomacy graduate-level course, students using the Kindle DX printed an average of 962 pages in comparison to 1,826 pages printed from students who audited the pilot course. Students in the undergraduate courses printed an average of 762 pages in comparison to 1,373 pages that were printed during the course last year.
The students also noted that they would like to see the following in the DX:
• Improvement in PDF file highlighting;
• Better annotation tools;
• Folders to keep similar readings;
• Improvements on navigation and highlighting between documents.
Students also said that the Kindle DX was good for certain classes, but not for others depending on the content. As for the professors, they said that they would have to change the way they taught the course if the DX were to be used as the main source of text.
Both students and teachers did say that less photocopying and printing was a great benefit, and they enjoyed the ease in searching content, the Kindle's wireless connection and long battery life, the ability to use just one device for the whole course, and the easy- to-read screen courtesy of e-ink technology.
Although, this pilot also presented the ereader drawbacks, the Kindle DX proved success in saving paper. As the ebook reader evolution continues, it may become a consistent tool for the student and teacher. Providing portability, it will also eliminate paper usage.