May 06, 2009

Case Western Reserve University Students to Pilot Latest Addition to Amazon Family of Wireless Reading Devices

President Barbara R. Snyder joined Amazon.com Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos this morning in New York City to unveil the Kindle DX, an update of the company's wireless reader device that will include textbooks and a broad range of other materials.

Case Western Reserve is one of five campuses nationwide that will pilot the machines this fall. The others are Princeton, Arizona State, Virginia and Reed.

"We believe e-book technology has significant potential to influence the way students approach learning," President Snyder said at the news conference. "To be able to have hundreds of textbook pages available within a single device opens a new world of educational opportunity. We look forward to seeing precisely how our students take advantage of it."

At Case Western Reserve, Kindle DX devices are expected to be distributed to about 50 undergraduates enrolled in the same first-year seminars, chemistry and electrical engineering and computer science courses. At the same time, the university will launch a project to evaluate the impact of the device on the learning experience – that is, does the process of education change as a result of the new technology? Will faculty deliver information in new ways? Will students approach their readings and assignments differently?

Case Western Reserve's engagement in this process emerged in part through a faculty member's interest in using new technology with his students. Last year Chemistry Professor Mike Kenney asked university officials how he might use the Kindle in his Introduction to Chemistry course. The university in turn approached Amazon.com, and the company began to work collaboratively with a number of higher education institutions to inform the development of the Kindle DX.

"We are always interested in new techniques and approaches that make the learning of science compelling and engaging," Professor Kenney said. "I also think that the Kindle itself is just a plain cool device for reading and enabling collaboration."

Jay Marine, director of product development management for Amazon Kindle, will join university staff and faculty during a news conference at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 7 in the university's Thwing Center. The news conference directly precedes the university's second annual symposium, "Collaboration Technology and Engaging the Campus 2009."

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, May 6, 2009 02:59 PM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty, Students, Technology

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