Amazon has launched KDP Edu

Amazon’s new Kindle Textbook Creator Beta helps you convert PDFs of your textbooks, course notes, study guides and other educational content that includes complex visual information like charts, graphs and equations into Kindle books. Books created through Kindle Textbook Creator take advantage of features that enhance a student’s learning experience such as dictionary look-up, notebook, highlighting and flashcards. Plus, preview your book across all supported devices.”

Highlighting is a technique of very dubious worth, on a par with hucksterisms such as ‘preferred learning styles’. A recent survey in Scientific American, of what has been robustly proven to work, stated of underlining and highlighting…

In controlled studies, highlighting has failed to help U.S. Air Force basic trainees, children and remedial students, as well as typical undergraduates. Underlining was ineffective regardless of text length and topic, whether it was aerodynamics, ancient Greek schools or Tanzania. In fact, it may actually hurt performance on some higher-level tasks.”

Flashcards are probably bad for English language learning at the infant/junior level, where actual active use of the language and reading of whole books is to be preferred. But cards do seem to be useful for undergraduates when used as quick prompts, enabling the recall and ‘sharpening up’ of key ideas encountered in recent reading or listening.