In the first instance I’m using the Kindles with my year 11 class. My year 11s being generally trustworthy, and also extremely flattered to be given the chance to try the Kindles first, I gave them two hours to play with little intervention from me, although I stayed logged into the Manage My Kindle page of Amazon so that I could keep an eye on what they were doing.
Several things became apparent very quickly.
Firstly, kids are far more inquisitive and quick to figure things out than I am.
Secondly, perhaps the 3G was not such a good idea after all: almost straight away, they were in the Kindle store, shopping for free books. I am grateful that there is no payment facility attached to the Amazon account, or I’m afraid we would have bought a lot of books.
Thirdly, I have never seen students as excited about reading before.
Here are some things my inquisitive year 11s were able to discover:
– you can get onto Facebook but it’s really slow
– you can read and you can listen
– you can choose the voice for narration, either male or female
– you can change the speed at which it reads to you
– there are lots of free books available
– it’s easier to read than a computer screen
– you can change the name of the device from the device (and also, I now understand, the email address; though thankfully none of them tried that).
Last week Tim Dalton wrote an excellent post on using Kindles in a school library, which confirmed some other things that I had gleaned from our trial session: namely, that you can distribute a book to only six devices per Amazon account. This appears to apply to even free books, as I tried to send the Communist Manifesto to all the Kindles but it did not work.
I think the way we’re going to get round this is to set up five Amazon accounts and have six Kindles registered to each one. When it comes to paying for books (something I have not yet really thought about, since I will initially be writing my own Kindle editions of our revision guides), I’d be happy to pay for the books several times over but this facility does not appear to be available, though perhaps I just need to look a bit more carefully.