Friday, July 16, 2010

Kindle Textbooks

Although not directly related to any of my coursework, I'm currently using a newer technology (innovation anyone?) that I want to talk about. Tada! The Kindle (feel free to ohh and ahh, I'll wait.)

I got my textbook on Kindle. Thank goodness I borrowed the Kindle, because as it turns out, this new technology is not for me! Beyond the fact that I find myself missing the feel and smell (yes, I said smell) of a real book, I'm also having trouble just using the Kindle. Obviously it is easy enough to use in term of reading, but I'm toatlly lost about what the heck those location numbers mean. Is it a paragraph number? When I'm sitting in class next week and the professor says "turn to page 65", what do I? I looked online and was given this equation for figuring out what page you are on:

"Current location divided by the number of location multiplied by the total number of pages in the book" (taken from the Kindle Discussion page on Amazon:

Pardon? So when the teacher says "Turn to page 65" I need to tap my neighbor on the shoulder, ask him politely how many pages the book has, get out the calculator and get to work determining what location number I need to be on. It seems a bit cumbersome to me.

Some other things I'm struggling with are jumping around in the book when I need to look back to recheck something. With my nice paperbook textbook, I simply fan the pages and look for my highlighting, or sticky notes (old school, right? I love a good sticky note) or note in the margin. It's fair to mention here that I LOVE taking notes, typing notes not so much, but actually getting the old five-star out and writing notes. So as I read my Kindle-book I'm taking notes (lots of notes), but if I want to double check my note I have to scroll around the book trying to remember where it was I saw something. Hate it. Absolutely hate it.

That's not to say the Kindle doesn't have it's place and it's advantages. The size of the thing is fantastic. I can tuck right in my purse, but I'm also in the habit of carrying around hardback books in there and occassionally a laptop, so size has never been a big concern for me. I also think that for reading a novel the Kindle might be wonderful. The idea that you can carry multiple books in the palm of your hand is great, although the perk of being able to purchase books from that same device might also be a curse.

It will be interesting to see how devices like the Kindle are integrated into the school community and how students, teachers and even publishing companies react. One place to look is a High School in Clearwater, FL which will, starting this fall, be losing the textbooks and going all Kindle. ( This could revolutionize how kids learn, and I certainly applaud the initiative. To give students the resources to learn in a way that is stimulating, effective and efficient is amazing. I'm pretty sure the fact that I love the idea of new technology, while at the same time refusing to use it, means I've somehow become a part of the older generation. It's kind of a terrifying thought!

For me, for now, I'm looking forward to ordering whatever books are assigned while I'm at SU. My sticky notes are waiting.

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