May 06, 2009

Amazon’s Kindle heads to ASU classrooms

Posted: May 06, 2009
man on couch reading kindle device
Beginning in Fall 2009, select ASU students will use Amazon’s wireless reading device, the Kindle DX, instead of traditional printed textbooks. (Amazon.com photo)

Beginning in Fall 2009, selected ASU students will use the Kindle DX, the latest addition to Amazon’s family of wireless reading devices, instead of traditional printed textbooks.

ASU is one of five universities participating with Amazon in its Kindle pilot program. Others include Princeton University, Case Western Reserve University, Reed College, and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

ASU is actively working to find courses of study for which the Kindle is a good alternative to traditional texts. In those areas, Kindle delivered e-books would provide students with a cost savings and provide them with an additional flexible learning tool.

Based on a proposal from Dr. Ted Humphrey, President’s Professor in ASU's Barrett Honors College, a group of students enrolled in this fall's Human Event course will receive their textbooks not as bound books but on a brand new Kindle DX instead.

The Human Event is a two-semester course required of all Barrett students that covers a wide range of material from approximately 50 different sources. The Kindle's performance will be evaluated against a control group of students that work with traditional paper-based texts.

“I was an early adopter of the Kindle and thought one could mount most of the Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum on it,” says Humphrey. “I could not be more excited at being among the first to begin adapting it to classroom use.”

In addition to cutting textbook costs and reducing the weight in students' backpacks, digital textbooks are available for download wirelessly and reduce the amount of paper used to print and distribute textbooks.

"ASU is excited to work with Amazon to explore how the Kindle DX can help the University accelerate the adoption of electronic textbooks," says Adrian Sannier, Vice President and University Technology Officer at ASU. "Electronic texts provide the capabilities that today's students have come to expect -- they are searchable, flexible, easy to annotate, and cost less than traditional texts because they don’t have to be printed and shipped."