Reading "Debt, Jobs, Diversity" on a Kindle Paperwhite and iPhone

October 8, 2012

Have you downloaded the IHE survey Debt, Jobs, Diversity and Who Gets In: A Survey of Admissions Directors?

Or to ask this in another way, what medium-to-long documents have you downloaded lately?  

PDF files. Word documents. Working papers. Research notes. Analyst reports.

These things are proliferating, many of them are definitely worth reading (like the IHE surveys) and time does not seem to be expanding.

My strategy, up until my recent Kindle Paperwhite purchase, has been to print these reports out, carry them around in my backpack, and then seldom ever manage to actually read them.

Why the printing? Reading on screens is a bad experience. And even if reading on screens were a better experience, I have trouble concentrating on a long document with e-mail or the web a click away.  Paper is portable, and my e-mail is not available on a piece of paper.

Why do the printed copies seldom get read? Do you get to everything that you mean to read? I'm betting that you have stacks of articles and reports on your desk, your nightstand, or your backpack that you have been planning, with the best of intentions to, read.  The problem with these paper printouts is that they seldom rise to the top of the "to do" list. Too many e-mails to read and write, too many meetings, too much to do.

The solution? A Kindle Paperwhite, an iPhone, and the free Kindle Personal Document Service.   

Getting documents on your Kindle or iPhone (of Android or other iOS device) is as easy as e-mailing an attachment. Both *.doc/*.docx and *.pdf files work fine. The document is automatically synced to your Kindle and devices with the Kindle App (free over WiFi). 

The Kindle Paperwhite works well for nighttime reading, as the built in light makes it (finally) possible to read easily without disturbing my sleeping partner. Being able to read easily in bed at night open up minutes for reading that used to not exist.

Having the documents on my iPhone, available through the Kindle app, means that I can read in small snatches. A few minutes here waiting for a kid's practice to end, a few minutes there before a meeting, and the reading minutes add up.  

What proportion of our students own a Kindle or a smart phone or tablet that is Kindle app compatible?  Should we encouraging our students to convert our curricular materials, our articles and chapters, to Kindle format? Would the amount of reading they do increase if they could read in the dark, and read in small chunks?  

Or is our curricular content DRM'd and protected, available perhaps as links but not as unlocked PDF or Word documents?

What would this strategy mean for our students who do not own a Kindle, Android or iOS device? Would we be creating two classes of learners?

What are your medium-to-long document reading strategies?


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