Kindle DX Education Review – Kindle DX Trials

Now that reports are trickling in from the different Universities testing out the Kindle DX, lets review how the kindle dx in education initiative is doing.

Kindle DX in Education Review – Princeton University Kindle DX Trial

The eReader Pilot Program at Princeton is funded by a sustainability foundation (the High Meadows Foundation – it provided the major grant), the Princeton University Library, and the Office of Information Technology. The interesting facts are –

  1. Driving factor was the fact that students were printing and/or photocopying course reading materials again and again.
  2. Aims: No sacrifice in classroom experience, convenience, reduce printing and photocopying.
  3. Kindle DX Specific Aims: Explore the unique strengths of the Kindle DX.
  4. 3 Courses in Fall 2009 are part of the program – Civil Society and Public Policy, U.S. Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East, Religion and Magic in Ancient Rome.  
  5. It’s interesting to read Princeton’s next steps after the pilot –

    At the end of the pilot, we will assess what effect, positive or negative, the readers have had both with respect to printing and with respect to the pedagogical goals of the participating faculty and students. That assessment will be made available publicly

  6. The Course Participants were announced on September 23rd and that’s the last news update.

The schools even get their custom Kindle DX covers –

Kindle in Education DX Covers Kindle in Education DX Covers

Kindle DX Pilot at Darden Graduate School of Business

  1. Darden’s Kindle DX Pilot Project Page. 
  2. 62 1st year MBA students (out of 310).
  3. Darden Case Studies and the vast majority of 1st year course material for the 2009-2010 school year will be available.
  4. Aims: Test how Kindle DX can –

    *Enhance teaching and learning in the MBA program
    *Contribute to environmental sustainability by advancing toward a paperless classroom
    *Lead to potential cost savings for schools and students
    *Promote effective applications of technology in higher education

  5. There will be surveys by both an independent party and by Darden.

Darden is very optimistic about the Kindle DX Pilot Program –

“The sky is the limit in terms of the positive outcomes this project can produce,” said Darden’s Dean Bob Bruner. “It has the potential to have a great impact on technology, environmental sustainability, student and school savings, teaching, and learning.

University of Washington Kindle DX Education Review.

You can watch –

  • Kindle DX Pilot Program interview with Prof. Dan Grossman of UW CSE (opens up Media Player); or
  • This video of the Kindle Orientation courtesy TechFlash – [youtube=]

Details on the Kindle DX Pilot –

  1. Official Kindle Education Test Home: UW CSE Kindle Pilot Project.
  2. 40 computer science graduate students and an unspecified number of MBA students are participating.
  3. There’s a project wiki with instructions, links to course materials and more.
  4. Stated Aims: Reducing Textbook Cost, Reducing backpack weight, reducing printing and environmental impact and cost.
  5. Kindle DX Specific Aims: Test Kindle DX’s annotation facilities and assess cooperation with other participating universities.
  6. Courses: 5 in Autumn 2009, 4 in Winter 2010, 4 in Spring 2010.

Its a very well thought out project and there’s a lot of genuine enthusiasm.

A good idea of just how important the Kindle in Education could be is the fact that the University of Washington has 43,000 students. There’s a good chance that at some point in the next 2-5 years most of them switch over to the kindle dx or another electronic textbook reader.

Kindle Education Review – Arizona State University

Government Tech has the scoop on ASU’s Kindle DX pilot project –

  1. 60 students taking a freshman honors course in the Barrett Honors College will get the Kindle DX. 
  2. The courses run for two semesters and the pilot project will include both semesters. 
  3. Aims: Move student’s educational experience closer to their increasingly digital lives, sustainability, seeing how electronic textbooks play out.
  4. Amazon split the costs with the Universities – A Teaching Grant covered the ASU portion. 
  5. ASU’s Kari Barlow will be interviewing students once a semester and ASU has a teacher’s assistant tracking developments.  

Arizona State University just issued a news release and don’t have a dedicated page for the Kindle DX Project yet. It did include a few interesting facts –

The Kindle’s performance will be evaluated against a control group of students that work with traditional paper-based texts.

“I was an early adopter of the Kindle and thought one could mount most of the Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum on it,” says Humphrey (President’s Professor in ASU’s Barrett Honors College).

Case Western Reserve University – Kindle DX Test Review

Case Western only have a single blog entry on the kindle dx project.

  1. 50 or so undergraduates in chemistry. In particular the CHEM 111 course.  
  2. Case Western will study impact of the Kindle DX on the education process itself.
  3. Chemistry Professor Mike Kenney initiated the project, and the post suggests he’s responsible for the whole Kindle DX trial idea.

Tiffany Oliver at UWire has additional details –

  1. Goals: See how students use the kindle dx as a study tool, compare study habit differences between textbooks and etextbooks, see if the kindle dx is a legitimate academic device.  
  2. Focus groups to conduct surveys and questionnaires to see effectiveness and usefulness of the Kindle DX. 

Case Western ought to put up a project home page and let us know how things are progressing.   

Reed College Kindle DX Pilot

  1. Kindle DX Pilot Project Overview Page at Reed University.
  2. 40 students in 3 upper division courses are using the Kindle DX (ongoing Fall 2009 semester). 
  3. Courses are English 301, French 451, and Political Science 422.
  4. Aims are to assess overall prospects of ebook readers, identify specific impacts on teaching, and identify Kindle DX features to add/modify.
  5. Looking to explore – 

    (a) the ability for students to have immediate, searchable access to all their course materials in one, lightweight device;
    (b) a reduction in the total cost of course materials;
    (c) a reduction in the use of paper;
    (d) opportunities for faculty and students to share electronic comments on course materials; and
    (e) integration of e-book technology with other curricular tools such as Moodle (Reed’s open source learning management system).

  6. Participants are providing feedback via online surveys, face to face interviews, and email comments.

Pace University 

  1. Pace University’s Kindle DX Pilot Project Page.
  2. Goals: See if the Kindle DX can be used successfully by faculty and students to replace (and improve on) textbooks.
  3. Approximately 80 undergraduate and graduate students.
  4. 4 course sections – graduate nursing, graduate publishing, undergraduate marketing, and undergraduate biology.
  5. For the included courses all textbooks and case studies will be available. 

They even have a tagline –

It’s time to rekindle your love of reading.

Additional Pilot Projects springing up

In addition to the 7 ‘official’ projects we have additional projects going on –

University of Wisconsin-Madison starts Kindle DX Pilot

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports (found at The CITE) –

  1. A $10,000 pilot program with 20 students testing out the Kindle DX.  
  2. Funded by the UW Library.  
  3. History Professor Jeremy Suri is involved and has included Tolstoy’s War and Peace in his course.

There’s already student feedback –

Pros: Long range money saver, helps focus on studying, just like reading on paper and doesn’t strain the eyes.

Cons: Touchscreen would be helpful, limited note-taking abilities, needs some advancement to be able to completely replace paper and print.

University officials were quick to point out the green aspects and speculate on future eReaders –

“Imagine a world where there is full multimedia interactivity. Say you’re reading about a chemical molecule, and imbedded right in the text could be a 3-D model.”

Oklahoma – Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Kindle Pilot

Computer World has the scoop on pilot projects using iPhones and Kindles at The Francis Tuttle Technology Center –

  1. iPhones and iPod Touches are being evaluated by nursing students.
  2. Kindles are being targeted for a wider variety of students. 
  3. CTO Russ Hester points out that improving the browser would enable integration with Tuttle Center’s learning app (from Blackboard Inc.).  This is confusing because Kindle integration is already supported by Blackboard Inc. – their Press Release said so.
  4. Netbooks are also being considered.  
  5. The vision is to have everyone at the Francis Tuttle Center having a mobile device within 3 years.

What impact will these trials have on the Kindle DX?

A lot of the success of the Kindle DX as a textbook reader depends on what these trials show.

We’re going to end up with one of two scenarios –

  1. Students come back and say that with the addition of Feature X and Feature Y and the addition of Z amount of kindle edition textbooks, the Kindle DX would become a viable textbook replacement.
  2. Students say the Kindle DX is already a valuable addition/replacement, and provide a list of additional desired features.

In either case expect Kindle DX 2 to be built after factoring in a lot of this feedback.

Most of the Universities are conducting their own surveys and have stressed that all results will be shared openly. This means Sony, Plastic Logic, etc. have the option to utilize the data to create their own eReader solution for colleges and schools.

In addition to the 7 official trials and unofficial trials we also have libraries lending kindles (including a lot of college libraries). These library initiatives are also very important as they get student familiar with Kindles and comfortable with reading on an eReader.

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