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Will the Kindle Change Education?

An article in the most recent issue of Scholastic Administrator asks that question.

The short answer is no. At least not that particular device.

Certainly highly portable, connected devices are making their way into the classroom, somewhat slowly since most are smuggled in by way of student pockets and backpack.

And, hopefully, they will be one of the catalysts that will force schools to alter their teacher-as-giver-of-knowledge approach to education.

However, the big problem with the Kindle being that device is the way it’s built around a “business model” rather than an educational one, namely the one-way model of the current publishing industry: we print, you buy.

For the most part, placing content on the device is controlled by the publishers, complete with DRM to “protect” their files. Users cannot excerpt or edit the material, and forget about loaning, giving, or selling a file to someone else.

I know it’s become much simpler to put text and pdf files on the Kindle but that’s not enough for a unit that’s supposed to change education.

The devices that will truly change education will be those that make it easy to access information from anywhere at any time, combined with a wealth of open source materials that can be used and modified by anyone, student or teacher.

Devices that make it seamless to work with more than text – audio, video, interactive graphics, access to learning communities – anything that can be used to understand, clarify, revise and build on the knowledge available.

Maybe the Kindle is a step in the right direction (I’m not convinced it is) but the writer of this article is far more optimistic about Amazon’s digital reader than he should be.

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3 Comments

  1. Kimberly

    My problem with the Kindle is that is painful for those of us with dyslexia can find it literally painful to read. When they start making e-readers that allow us to change the font including color, style, and size it will be much more useful.

  2. I think it’s a step, but not the solution. I bought the first gen Kindle to evaluate it, and it wasn’t ready for school use. It was too flimsy.

    I think something in its form factor, however, would be a winner. Sturdy, good battery life, and a seamless way to suck-down content that we’ve approved. Of course, I might be dreaming on the last part.

  3. Cary Harrod

    Hmmmm…

    The devices that will truly change education will be those that make it easy to access information from anywhere at any time, combined with a wealth of open source materials that can be used and modified by anyone, student or teacher.

    Devices that make it seamless to work with more than text – audio, video, interactive graphics, access to learning communities – anything that can be used to understand, clarify, revise and build on the knowledge available.

    What about the Apple Tablet everyone keeps whispering about?
    http://gizmodo.com/5335942/an-insider-on-the-apple-tablet

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