Thursday, 10 June 2010

E-Readers and the Device versus the books

This is not particularly about information literacy!
But e-readers are still very topical and if we want to encourage our users to use them to read text books then the Educause 7 Things you should know about E-Readers is a must read.
In the "where is it going" section it says :
"The introduction of the iPad might signal another tangent for e-readers...these trends could result in an all-purpose device capable of containing all of a student's texts and course materials, providing notification of campus emergencies or weather alerts, and allowing access to academic applications such as backchannel tools or remote lectures."

The Device versus the Books on Campus Technology tells of 3 instututions in the USA which have trialled e-book readers.

Reading for learning is not the same activity as reading for pleasure, and so the question must be asked: Do these devices designed for the consumer book market match up against the rigors of academic reading?

Campus Technology recently spoke with three universities that conducted e-reader pilots on their campuses to address that question. Northwest Missouri State University tested the Sony Reader PRS-505 during the 2008-2009 school year, while Princeton University (NJ) and Arizona State University are participating in a pilot of the Kindle DX with five other universities over the course of the 2009-2010 school year.

This is the student comment which sticks with me :

“This is the future, but we’re not quite there yet.”

So, what is the ideal e-reader for students? Northwest Missouri’s Rickman sees the assimilation of e-readers into the academic setting as a merger process, with notebook computers becoming friendlier for reading books and textbooks while e-readers incorporate more of a computer’s capabilities—and he thinks Apple’s iPad will be the device that sets off this process. “The iPad is the beginning of this merger,” Rickman states. “It will be interesting to see what the feedback is. If it doesn’t provide that interface to the rest of the arch—the course syllabus, the course management system, the online library—then I think most students will continue using their notebook computers as e-readers.”

Pic is of the Queen's Drawing Room on the yacht Britannia which is docked at Leith. Rather a surreal choice for this post because I can't imagine the Queen with an e-reader...

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