e-Readers lack tools for academic study, IET research suggests

E-book readers such as Kindle are great for novels, but lack tools for academic study. This is the main finding from a literature survey by IET on the use of e-books in Higher Education. The Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at the Open University connects innovation and expertise in learning and teaching and uses this collective power to change the face of education.

The survey showed that student enthusiasm for e-readers quickly waned as they found limitations with annotating and highlighting text, lack of page numbering, and difficulties in printing. The devices did not seem to support the students’ current study practices such as having several documents open on a desk simultaneously, and using sticky notes and bookmarking.

Professor Mike Sharples who heads up the work commented: “This technology is at an early stage. Current e-books are designed for reading novels not study materials. We need to explore the next generation of e-books that will support annotation, multimedia and interactive elements.”

The survey is part of a Pedagogy of eBooks project, led by IET, to examine how next generation e-books could support new forms of teaching, learning and assessment. The work will involve a survey and interviews with OU postgraduate students, followed by Future Technology Workshops to develop new designs and ways of learning with e-books. The project will be seeking the views of OU students and staff on the future of e-books for student learning.

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