Journal article

Reading with new tools: an evaluation of Personal Digital Assistants as tools for reading course materials

Jenny Waycott

Research in Learning Technology | Association for Learning Technology


Lightweight, palmtop devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) can now be used for reading electronic text, opening up their potential as learning tools. This paper reports a study that evaluated the use of PDAs for reading course materials by students on an Open University master's course. The research is grounded in activity theory, which provides a useful framework for examining how the introduction of a new tool changes an existing activity. Student perceptions of the possibilities and constraints of the PDA, as determined by questionnaires and interviews, reveal the impact the new tool had upon reading. The PDA constrained reading with limitations such as the small screen size,..

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