Do kids learn as well on iPads, eBooks?

Compared with traditional textbooks, the iPad and other devices for reading digital books have the potential to save on textbook costs in the long term, provide students with more and better information faster, and lighten the typical college student’s backpack. Yet the track record on campus for eReader devices so far has been bumpy, USA Today reports. Early trials of the Kindle DX, for example, drew complaints from students about clunky highlighting of text and slow refresh rates. Princeton and George Washington universities this spring found the iPad caused network problems. Federal officials in June cautioned colleges to hold off on using eReaders in the classroom unless the technology can accommodate disabled students. Though many of those problems are being or have been addressed, some of the most tech-savvy students aren’t quite ready to endorse the devices for academic use. And some educational psychologists suggest the dizzying array of options and choices offered by the ever-evolving technology might be making it harder to learn, rather than easier. “The challenge for working in the electronic age is that we have so much access to information but we still have the same brain we always had,” says Richard Mayer, psychology professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara. “The problem is not access to information. It is integrating that information and making sense out of it.”

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Princeton students, profs give Kindle mixed grades

One Princeton student surveyed said the Kindle was "difficult to use"
One Princeton student surveyed said the Kindle was "difficult to use."

Princeton University has released findings from its semester-long pilot of’s Kindle DX electronic reader, and the results appear mixed: While students reduced the amount of paper they printed for their classes by nearly 50 percent, some students and professors said they felt restricted by the device.

“e-Readers must be significantly improved to have the same value in a teaching environment as traditional paper texts,” a university press release said.

Students and faculty who were surveyed after the pilot program ended said they appreciated the portability of the Kindle DX, and the fact that it greatly reduced the printing and photocopying they did for their courses. But they said they missed the ability to highlight text directly, take notes, and flip back and forth through pages of their textbook easily.…Read More

Can Apple’s tablet spark a textbook revolution?

Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.
Educators expect the Apple tablet screen to be much larger than the iPhone display.

Can the release of Apple’s eReader tablet do for textbooks what the iPod did for music: combine an online store for purchasing books with sleek hardware that holds every text a student needs?

That’s the question many educators are asking as anticipation of Apple’s new tablet mounts.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is widely expected to unveil his company’s eReader Jan. 27 in San Francisco, and industry insiders expect the product to have a large touch screen that is smaller than a laptop screen but larger than an iPhone.…Read More