Dixie Darr

In Learning Tools on November 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

The Perfect Use for a Kindle

Textbooks.

At the University of Phoenix, we use electronic textbooks almost exclusively, many of them delivered in PDF format. Although they save the students quite a bit of money, most of them would prefer to buy an actual book. They’re portable, easy to read, and familiar.

I admit that I usually find a used copy of the textbook online and buy it, so I won’t have to rely solely on the electronic version. Because I teach the same class many times, it’s worth it to me.

According to my students, all the other colleges they have attended still use books, so UOP is apparently ahead of the curve in the use of ebooks. As we were discussing the relative merits of paper versus digital formats, it occurred to me that the Kindle could solve most of the issues. It’s small, lightweight, and portable like a book. It creates a library of books for students to access at will and is available wherever they go, without computer and internet access. The small page-sized screen and adjustable font size is easier on the eyes than a computer monitor.

Of course, the lower cost of Kindle books would be a major attraction in these days of skyrocketing education costs.

If Jeff Bezos isn’t pursuing this market, he needs to get crackin’. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Engadget also touts the potential of Kindle as a textbook substitute. A few top universities—Yale, Oxford, Berkeley and Princeton—are beginning to offer textbooks on Kindle.

Rumors abound that a student version of the reader with a larger screen is due out after the first of the year.

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