Amazon Chooses Darden as First Business School to Use the Kindle

Posted by: Alison Damast on May 6, 2009

You might have heard word yesterday that a select number of universities had been selected to participate in Amazon’s new Kindle school initiative. What you probably didn’t know is that one of those universities is a top business school.

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is the first business school in the country that will be using Amazon’s new Kindle DX, an electronic book reader, in the classroom. The business school is one of five schools selected to participate in Amazon’s Kindle pilot education project, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced May 6th at a press conference in New York City introducing the device. Other schools participating in the Kindle project include: Princeton University, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University and Oregon’s Reed College.

Darden plans to have students use the Kindle DX to access case studies and textbooks required for classes, said Robert Carraway, Darden’s Associate Dean for MBA Programs,

“We expect considerable interest from our students in terms of pilot program participation,” said Carraway, speaking in New York City today after the project was announced. “Having the case studies and textbooks required for classes on the Kindle DX will be a wonderful benefit to students.”

The new DX device is the latest incarnation of the Kindle e-book reader, which was first introduced in 2007. The Kindle DX has features that make it more suitable for academia, like a larger screen and broader access to academic material.

At Darden, the device will be distributed to a group of students in the school’s full-time MBA program and another group in its MBA for Executives program, The cost of the kindles will be paid for by Amazon and Darden, the school said. Students will use the Kindle DX to access casebooks, text studies and take notes for a two-semester pilot period, the school said.

“The sky is the limit in terms of the positive outcomes this project can produce,” said Darden’s Dean Bob Bruner, in a press release. “It has the potential to have a great impact on technology, environmental sustainability, student and school savings, teaching, and learning.”

Students participating in the pilot program will receive training from the school on how to use the Kindle DX for the classroom. They will learn how to take notes and highlight, access the built-in dictionary, use auto-rotation tool and connect the device to wireless networks and their cell phones, the school said.

The school will be hiring a “neutral, third-party” to conduct research and surveys on the effectiveness of the Kindle DX device in the classroom, said Michael Koenig, Darden’s director of MBA operations, in the press release. In addition, the school will also simultaneously conduct its own research, he said.

“There will be much to learn in the next academic year,” he said.

Business school students, do you like the idea of using a Kindle in the classroom? Do you think this is something that will catch on?

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