Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kindle in the classroom from a student's perspective

I sat down with Ellie last week, who has used her Kindle in my 9th grade English class since the beginning of the year.  As my Kindle pioneer, I wanted to get her perspective on the benefits of using a Kindle to study literature.  (If you want to read about how she used her Kindle to find the frequency of particular words in The Secret Life of Bees in class, follow this link)

Ellie gave me a great insider's view into how useful a Kindle can be for a student.  I appreciated how she talked about using her list of notes and highlights from the app on her laptop as talking points for class discussion. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The new Kindle Paperwhite!

Amazon has unveiled its new Kindle Paperwhite. 

Here are some highlights:

-Still e-ink, but has built in fiber optic lights that allow you to read in dark, but you can turn it down to read in the sunlight.  Awesome feature. 

-Improved browsing of your archive and the store by covers instead of just a list

-Higher pixels and faster response

-It tracks your reading speed and estimates the minutes left until the end of the chapter and the book!

This last one is great for students and for teachers.  A student can see their own reading rate and I can also check and see how quickly they read.  So often I am guessing how many pages they can read in 30-45 minutes for homework, but now we can get actual data!  Perhaps a book is particularly challenging and 20 pages is the right amount, but there may be texts where 40 pages a night is appropriate.  No more guessing!

At $119 (for the wi-fi only), this is very affordable.  I paid $359 for my first Kindle 2!  You can get the Paperwhite with 3G for $179.  My first Kindle had 3G which was great for downloading books anywhere, but wi-fi is so ubiquitous now, that with minimal forethought I can download my books on wi-fi.  I would only recommend the 3G version if you don't have home/work wi fi.  But really, that is probably a rare case.