Kindles yet to woo Princeton users

When Priceton University announced its Kindle eBook reader pilot program last May, administrators seemed cautiously optimistic that the devices would be sustainable and serve as a valuable academic tool. But less than two weeks after 50 students received the free Kindle DX eReaders, many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices, reports the Daily Princetonian. "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." Horvath said that using the Kindle has required completely changing the way he completes his coursework. "Much of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes, and other marks representing the importance of certain passages–not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs," he explained. "All these things have been lost, and if not lost they’re too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the ‘features’ have been rendered useless." Wilson School professor Stan Katz, who teaches Horvath’s class, said one of his main concerns is whether students can do close reading of the texts with the new device. "I require a very close reading of texts. I encourage students to mark up texts, and … I expect them to underline and to highlight texts," Katz explained. "The question is whether you can do them as effectively with a Kindle as with paper."

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