Teachers have been facing an uphill battle getting students to pay attention ever since mobile devices came into the classroom. Smartphones, iPads, eBooks and other handheld electronics are distracting, noisy and disruptive. But with a recent announcement from Amazon, these same device might be an investment educational systems want to make. Amazon announcened this week that it will offer its Whispercast technology to schools and business as a way to share information over a vast network.
The free service lets users buy and distribute content wirelessly over a network of Kindle devices. For example, a teacher can assign a text book and instead of having to acquire one for each individual student, a wireless version could be sent to a Kindle. One class, one book. The same can also be said for assignments, essays and educational applications.
At first glance, this seems like a huge expense for school districts that are already feeling the pinch of tight budgets. But this isn't about buying a device for every kid, as Apple proposed with a similar idea, as Gizmodo points out. It's about capitalizing on the fact that most kids already have a tablet device or a Kindle and even if they don't, the price of one Kindle ranges from $79 to $199. That makes it more more affordable than putting an iPad into the hands of an school age child.
Amazon has a larger library of text and a bigger name in the book industry than Apple or Android.
It's definitely not the final word on the road to digital that education is going, but it is a huge step in the right direction. Plus, think how much lighter your kid's back pack will be without all of those books in there.
Credit: Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune