TKC 114 John Just

News – 1) Amazon’s update of the Kindle for Android app gives a clue about what the microphone on the Kindle 3 might be used for. 2) Tweets by BiblioVault about a slight change in KindleGen makes Nate the Great wonder if ePub is coming to the Kindle.

Tech Tip – Three ways to do the Twitter from your Kindle: KindleTwit, Mobile Twitter, and Dabr. Tip of the hat to Mike Cane. Click here for Abhi’s Start Page tool.

Interview (starts at 10:58) – John Just, assistant superintendent for management information systems at the Pinellas County Schools, gives an in-depth update five days after 2,200 Kindle 3s were distributed, one for each student at Clearwater High School.  This first-in-the-nation experiment is designed to test the benefits of e-readers for high school students in a big way.  I spoke with John by Skype and phone on September 21, 2010.

Content – Amazon announces the next six titles from its AmazonCrossing imprint of translations into English.

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Comments 4

  1. Mike Gordon wrote:

    Len,

    Regarding the Pinellas County Schools project. I loved the interview, but I came away with a few questions.

    Is there a mechanism to allow the students to buy books off the Kindle store and load them on their school-owned device? If so, what are the mechanics involved in that? Does each of the 2200 Kindles have its own Kindle account? Or, are they registered under one master account for the school but are also allowed to register to a student’s (or their parents’) existing or new Kindle account? Of course, this isn’t something that you could do with a standard retail Kindle, but I’m sure the folks at Amazon could work up a tweak for this. It would give them a foot in the door of 2000 households as students add books for recreational reading and parents buy their own devices after trying their kids’ school-owned ones of a few minutes.

    Also, are these Kindles running stock software, or do they have modifications for a school setting? Does the school have, and how are they handling concerns related to having unregulated 3G access to the Internet in the hands of kids all day long? Sooner or later, some kid is going to pull up a not-safe-for-minors website on one of these and show it around. Or, what about the fact that now the kids can twitter each-other on devices that the school can’t just ban, like cell phones. Does the school need to worry about losing their e-funds grants, which require that their Internet access is filtered, by supplying these devices that hit the Internet directly?

    Posted 25 Sep 2010 at 9:07 am
  2. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Mike, these are great questions that I wish I’d asked John during the interview. I could have talked with him for another half hour and not run out of things to ask him. I will reach out to him by email and see if I can get an answer to post here and mention on the next episode.

    Posted 25 Sep 2010 at 5:55 pm
  3. Jonathan Drake wrote:

    Len

    After listening to both your earlier interview with John Just and this one, I came away highly skeptical of the likely success of replacing high school texts with Kindles, at least as the technology currently stands. While the Kindle may work great as a substitute for a stack of novels for an English class, and while it is great to jump-start the interest of kids who are not otherwise inclined to read, I do not see how a Kindle could possibly effectively replace traditional books in many disciplines where the text is often supplemented by detailed images, in both black and white and color, through maps, charts, and photos, e.g., math, science and history. The Kindle still is not close to matching the printed page for displaying detailed images that are key elements of these disciplines. Not to mention the importance, in many study situations, of being able to quickly flip back and forth to refer to things alluded to earlier in the text. Perhaps I missed something in the discussion as to the extent to which the Kindle would serve as a replacement for the printed text, but the implication was that this was a wholesale change. If the change is as complete as it seems, and if I were the parent of a student in the school, I would be extremely nervous that the school is putting my child at risk. I suspected that there is a significant group of parents, particularly of the high achievers, who are going into panic mode as we speak. I would be interested to hear what some of the skeptics think, and am eager to hear later in the year how successful the program has been.

    Posted 26 Sep 2010 at 6:21 pm
  4. Gadget Wisdom Guru wrote:

    This was my first episode of your podcast, as i have only just purchased a Kindle and it was recommended. I too am interested in how this is managed, namely how you, as he put it “push” books to each individual Kindle.

    Does Amazon have management tools for mass Kindle management? Etc. For emailing documents and such to the Kindle how is this handled for students as there is a cost?

    Posted 29 Sep 2010 at 6:08 pm

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