Campuses agree to stop using Kindle DX until functional for the blind

Summary:Three universities testing the Amazon Kindle DX in the classroom have agreed to stop using e-book readers until they are fully functional for blind students.

In a deal stuck with the U.S. Justice Department, three universities testing the Amazon Kindle DX in the classroom have agreed to stop using e-book readers until they are fully functional for blind students.

The original pilot program, announced at the Kindle DX launch event last May and since criticized by some students as an ineffective academic tool, was made with Arizona State, Princeton, Case Western and Pace universities and Reed College.

Legal settlements were made with Pace, Case Western Reserve and Reed. A similar deal was struck with Arizona State University two days ago.

Two organizations representing the visually impaired -- the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind -- had sued after the program was first announced, citing a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Kindle used in the pilot program has a text-to-speech function, but the device's menu does not -- meaning it's not possible for blind students to navigate electronic textbooks.

The agreement takes effect once the upcoming spring semester ends.

The agreement also notably covers other rival e-book readers, including Sony's Reader family and the Barnes & Noble Nook, among others.

"Advancing technology is systematically changing the way universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in prepared remarks. "These agreements underscore the importance of full and equal educational opportunities for everyone."

Editor's Note: The original headline, "Campuses ordered to stop using Kindle DX until functional for the blind," was changed to more accurately reflect the terms of the settlement.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.