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No eReader Supports College Students Needs: Study

The University of Washington released the results of a study today which is tracking a select group of gradate student’s study behaviors and integrates the Amazon Kindle DX.

The idea behind the study, which includes six other universities, is to study the long-term role of eReaders in higher education. Students could read both print and eBooks. The study found that the Kindle DX doesn’t quite meet college student’s demands.

Here are some findings from the study:

  • Of the students who continued to use the device, some read near a computer so they could look up references or do other tasks that were easier to do on a computer. Others tucked a sheet of paper into the case so they could write notes.
  • With paper, three quarters of students marked up texts as they read. This included highlighting key passages, underlining, drawing pictures and writing notes in margins.
  • A drawback of the Kindle DX was the difficulty of switching between reading techniques, such as skimming an article’s illustrations or references just before reading the complete text. Students frequently made such switches as they read course material.

Co-author of the study Charlotte Lee, a UW assistant professor of Human Centered Design and Engineering, had this statement:  “Most e-readers were designed for leisure reading – think romance novels on the beach. We found that reading is just a small part of what students are doing. And when we realize how dynamic and complicated a process this is, it kind of redefines what it means to design an e-reader.”

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