Amazon just announced its newest addition to the Kindle platform, Whispercast. Amazon’s webpage for the Whispercast tool explains how this new feature enables large groups of Kindle users like businesses or schools to centrally manage their Kindles. Since I am not a Kindle owner, I was a little bit surprised that Amazon didn’t already provide this capability, it seems so basic. Being able to manipulate hundreds or thousands of Kindles simultaneously could have profound effects on schools. The days of walking a class of students to the library so they can all check out a copy of the novel are over. With internet access in the student’s hands that can be password protected and have controls, (to block facebook, twitter, ect.) students may never need to go to the computer lab for research either. As a former teacher, I am very interested in these types of developments that are clearly aimed at schools. Amazon’s Whispercast webpage features a picture of young students all reading from their Kindle. Last week I inquired as to why these types of features can’t be made cheaper for the classroom, as this is where they can make the biggest differences. Few schools have the funding to purchase a $150 Kindle for every student. The expense of these technologies is likely to create an even larger gap along socioeconomic lines in our nation’s education. The price of these technologies concern me. Having tablets in classrooms brings up other concerns as well. I wonder if standard keyboarding and typing skills will disappear altogether because of touch screens. I’m curious if students will no longer learn out to navigate print encyclopedias, dictionaries, or reference books. School libraries are already suffering. I wonder if they will slowly morph into Kindle recharging centers instead.


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