Kids learned to use e-readers quicklyeven though 43 percent of them had never used a computer before. Also, not surprisingly, they were quick to discover “the multimedia aspects of the e-reader, such as music and Internet features.”
Near-zero theft.Only two e-readers (out of 600) were lost in the whole study, partly because “community involvement was encouraged through e-reader pledges, community outreach programs, and support from community leaders.”
Kids got access to way more books.Before the study, primary-school students had access to an average of 3.6 books at home. Junior-high students had access to an average of 8.6 books at home and high-school students access to an average of 11 books. With the e-reader program, kids had access to an average of 107 book.
Primary school students’ test scores improved, but effects on older kids were less clear.The reading scores of primary-school students who received e-readers increased from 12.9 percent to 15.7 percent. But results for older kids were mixed.
Students sought out access to international news. “Amazon data revealed that students were downloading The New York Times, USA Today, and El País etc., demonstrating that students want to access a wide range of reading materials that were previously inaccessible.”
Kindles break too easily.Worldreader had not predicted how many Kindles would break: 243 out of 600, or 40.5 percent.
The program appears cost-effective. Worldreader estimates that “for the years 2014-2018, using a calculation focused strictly on the provisioning of textbooks, the e-reader system would cost only $8.93-$11.40 more per student over a 4 year period [$0.19 to $0.24 per month] than the traditional paper book system.”