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Old 09-28-2009, 09:16 AM   #1
sforce
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Kindles yet to woo University users

"Kindles yet to woo University users"

http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/09/28/23918/
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:21 AM   #2
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“I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool,” said Aaron Horvath ’10, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. “It’s clunky, slow and a real pain to operate.”
Wonder if Mr. Horvath is a member of MR

On a more serious side, I would have to agree with most of the critique in the article. I don't think e-readers are mature enough to replace textbooks in education yet. Give them another 10 years to develop and I think it's a whole different ballgame though.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:25 AM   #3
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These responses are pretty much what one would expect - given the DX's current clunky keyboard & minimal/missing PDF support. But I did read in an earlier article a quote from "an Amazon spokesperson" that Amazon intended to use these academic trials to gather information/suggestions for further development of the DX - waiting for feedback from both students & teachers - before developing a second generation DX. I tend to think Amazon is also waiting to see what the competition (esp. Sony & iRex) would come out with for their large screen models.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #4
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A non-touchscreen device can never be a replacement for pen and paper (or books and paper). The need to annotate, highlight, underline, etc, is just too big.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:55 AM   #5
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Part of it is merely the lack of good academic content. I really have yet to run across any that will work with a dedicated device.
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hellmark View Post
Part of it is merely the lack of good academic content. I really have yet to run across any that will work with a dedicated device.
Which may well be due to the inability of most popular eBook formats to faithfully reproduce the necessary complexity of academic textbooks.

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Old 09-28-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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marking up texts

I never understood why some people marked up their text books. Some people it seemed would highlight the entire page, what is the point of highlighting that much!

I never wrote in the margins, and other than throwing in sticky notes to mark pages that I needed to go back to I didn't really do anything other than reading textbooks.

For me as a student I don't think it would be a problem using a ereader with a dictionary lookup feature, bookmarking capabilities and the ability to select the chapter from a content menu. The other item holding ereader back from universities I think is the ability to display pictures, or lack thereof.



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Old 09-28-2009, 12:50 PM   #8
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I've used e-textbooks for about 3 years now, and never with any problem. I used them on my laptop (which did cause some eye strain), but all my highlighting tools where there, and a full keyboard meant I could take notes on the fly or copy/paste into a text file. These wouldn't really hold up well on a Kindle unless I had unlimited highlighting capabilities.

The biggest pro: text searching. Nothing beats it when you need to look up a keyword.
The biggest con: page turns. I still can't get used to not being able to flip back a page or two with ease. Something about my method of studying that just doesn't mesh well with ebooks.

My husband just used my K2 last week when he had to read a management style book (not a textbook) for class and do a write-up about it. He found it particularly easy because he could highlight easily. In this case, there was no real reason to take additional notes, so that wasn't an issue. Since we purchased the book from Amazon, he then logged into my account online and was able to just print out all his highlights on a one-page document that he used for easy reference when writing the paper. He was simply stunned by how much easier this made his work.

EDIT to add: the only reason he had to log onto my Amazon account to print out the notes was because I had taken back my Kindle and he was out of town on business and had some down time. Otherwise he could have just accessed the Clippings file on the device itself. In this instance, buying from Amazon worked to our advantage.

Last edited by queentess; 09-28-2009 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:00 PM   #9
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Which may well be due to the inability of most popular eBook formats to faithfully reproduce the necessary complexity of academic textbooks.
What about using PDF? Most of the ebooks offered at my school bookstore are in obscure formats, when ADEPT PDF's are an option that would very much work. Whether it would look good on the reader is a different question entirely.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:10 PM   #10
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I am glad some of these opinions are getting press. I wouldn't even consider using my Sony for any scholarly work, though I'm not surprised some folks are capable of stomaching it. Perhaps in another generation or five of devices...but certainly not now.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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What about using PDF? Most of the ebooks offered at my school bookstore are in obscure formats, when ADEPT PDF's are an option that would very much work. Whether it would look good on the reader is a different question entirely.
Depending the content, the 6" screen may be too small to properly set the content period.

But yes, PDF's are an option... but if they are not custom-made for the readers' display size(s), they are (rightly) not a viable product for those with eBook reading devices.

Also... for some bizarre Twilight Zone reason, today most publishers who take commercial eBooks seriously use something other than PDFs despite the result looking like ... well ... like what it looks like.

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Old 09-28-2009, 03:35 PM   #12
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I'm still trying to figure out how a student might cram for a test, you know, sprawled out on a bed with three or four or five text books open, flipping madly between them, matching the various annotated/highlighted passages against their notes and thier memory...
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:42 PM   #13
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I'm still trying to figure out how a student might cram for a test, you know, sprawled out on a bed with three or four or five text books open, flipping madly between them, matching the various annotated/highlighted passages against their notes and thier memory...
In a more dignified manner, if vastly less effectively. Should be good practice though for taking that "F" in dignity!



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Old 09-28-2009, 04:08 PM   #14
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I'm still trying to figure out how a student might cram for a test, you know, sprawled out on a bed with three or four or five text books open, flipping madly between them, matching the various annotated/highlighted passages against their notes and thier memory...
This is where I found ebooks to be quite a bit superior to regular textbooks. If you take notes as you read (which I didn't do) or highlight within the ebook relevant passages (which I do), then you'll have no problem. I never highlighted as I read with regular textbooks, but the ease is there with ebooks (plus I don't feel dirty for marking in the text...) If the prof warns about something on the test and you've never heard the word before, it's easy to do a keyword search and read about it.
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:12 PM   #15
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This is where I found ebooks to be quite a bit superior to regular textbooks. If you take notes as you read (which I didn't do) or highlight within the ebook relevant passages (which I do), then you'll have no problem. I never highlighted as I read with regular textbooks, but the ease is there with ebooks (plus I don't feel dirty for marking in the text...) If the prof warns about something on the test and you've never heard the word before, it's easy to do a keyword search and read about it.
Admittedly my device does not have the magic abilities of yours. All I can do is bookmark... :-/ So good points for those with an eBook device that supports user annotations.

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