Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sending documents via Whispercast

So.  I just got off the phone with the Amazon business/education customer service.  First off, the customer service was very easy to reach.  I entered my phone number online through Whispercast and then my phone got a call and within 2 minutes I was speaking to a customer service representative.  The rep was very helpful.

The only platform that can view documents sent via Whispercast are actual Kindles.  The app and the cloud reader will not display documents.  I asked why, and got the answer I was expecting: if you are going to send a document to be viewed on a laptop, why not just email it or share it via Google Drive.  Good point, but I just liked the seemless ability to send a bunch of stuff at once, rather than separate email attachments, etc.  But, we are switching to Haiku course management next year, and I can just upload any documents there.  This is totally fine, it just requires log on, download and open.  I was hoping that you could just open the Kindle app and there it would all be.  I guess that would just be another program to deal with, which would complicate things a little.

Okay.  So, Whispercast could be used to send a course syllabus or an article to actual Kindles but not any other devices.  Perhaps links on Haiku are just as easy.  Would students like to receive these documents on their Kindles?  Must try it out on my test group and ask them.

That leaves sending and managing texts.  If you have more widespread, or complete, use of Kindles, then this would really great.  In my head, I am imagining that an independent school, could just include the price of books in the tuition, and then just purchase all the books centrally and send them via Whispercast to all the students' Kindles.  This could also just be partial.  Any students who want to just sign up, pay the school for the price of the books and then in the fall the books appear on their Kindle.

What you lose is the ability to buy a second hand or cheaper copy of the book.  Also, what happens if a student leaves the school.  Physical books can be returned.  E-books, to my knowledge can't be returned.

This exploration continues!


  1. Thank you for doing this exploration! Your questions are similar to mine. I like many things about Whispercast, but part of me thinks that Amazon is either trying to protect itself from publishers or hoping to make additional money in the education market.

    As far as sending documents (that aren't books/longer texts) directly to Kindle, it'll be interesting to see what your students say. Mine like to keep their Kindles filled with books rather than with my handouts.

    Thank you again!

  2. I agree about the limitations. I don't know how useful Whispercast will be with a school like mine where students all have their own devices. I am not sure if it offers anything that is particularly new or helpful. If anything, I wish that Whispercast allowed me to create a social community of the readers who are signed up--so they might only see each others' highlights, be able to communicate and share notes. Maybe that is on the horizon?