Thursday, September 29, 2011

#Amazon Got To Me - BYOD and #Kindle #ereader @NEISD

Real Steel -

Real Steel reminds me of the game I had where two "robots" boxed in a ring until the head on one of them popped up. Whomever thought of making a "real life" movie out of it with Hugh Jackman (e.g. Wolverine in X-Men) is going to cash into hopes and dreams of old men everywhere who'll take a trip down memory lane. Amazon may be doing the same thing, playing underdog to Apple's iPad, with it's new wave of Kindles. Who doesn't love an underdog, and Apple is the new Microsoft, right?

When I woke up this morning (09/28/2011) to wait for the air-conditioner guy to show up and do annual maintenance, as well as attend a funeral, I had no idea that I'd finish the day off as an Amazon Kindle owner. It just wasn't on my horizon... Buying Amazon simply goes against the grain.

Here are my top 3 reasons why I don't like Amazon Kindles:
  • Digital Rights Managements (DRM)
  • Tough to manage easily in K-12 environment
  • Fail to use the standard ePub format
Like many others, I simply didn't want to have to invest in a device that would lock me into their product. Fortunately, you CAN load nonDRM mobi formatted books--after converting them with Calibre--onto the Kindle...that means you get a nice device that you can load your own or free content on.

You could say that Amazon's low-price knocked me out, popped my head off. When I came to, I'd placed an order for the least expensive of the devices. I'd planned to invest in a new Nook for myself, but for the same price, I could get two Kindles. Who could pass that deal up?

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I saw the Amazon Kindle's for $79, the perfectly priced gift for my kids, who are avid readers and consumers of content. Why not get them each a Kindle and see how it goes? After all, $79 each is a small investment when you consider they both carry 20 pounds in books everywhere they go. And, it's a way to get them into ebooks and clean out their rooms, infested with those perniciously ubiquitous paper tomes...Harry Potter alone would liberate half a shelf.

So, I indulged in an impulse purchase. By the time they read this blog entry tomorrow afternoon (I'm up late purging my guilt with this blog entry), the Kindles will be charged and in their hands. And, I'll have the opportunity to document their reading habits.

Others are asking a question about whether the new Amazon Kindles, especially the Fire, will resolve the tablet question for schools. Is the $199 price point low enough to supersede the iPad? This perspective (Audrey Watters, Hack Education) below is one I agree with: 

In some ways, all this concern over what tablets schools should/could/might buy is moot. I tend to think that the future of computing devices will be BYOD — Bring Your Own Device. It’ll be that way for businesses. It’ll be that way for schools. Do you have an iPad? Awesome. Bring it to class. Do you have a Chromebook? Woohoo. Do you have a Kindle Fire? Whoopee.  Bring your laptop.  Bring your tablet.  Bring your cellphone.

But if that’s the case, then schools are going to have to look for digital content that is available across platform. That could mean looking for DRM-free resources, or at least for resources that aren’t restricted to one particular platform or file format. That could mean turning to Web apps over native apps.
I encouraged my son to try out the Aluratek eReader I'd picked up some time ago (and I still like it). His only complaint was, "I can take this to school. They won't let me."
"Why?" I challenged. "It doesn't have WiFi, you can't play games on it, and you don't have to carry around those hardback Harry Potter books." Of course, he didn't know.

BYOD is coming. It's inevitability is stronger than traditional 1 to 1 in a tough economy. If your school isn't embracing cloud storage, course management systems, some kind of place to gather online, it's clear that what remains of schools will be an outlet for your local big name content providers (e.g. Apple iTunes, Amazon). 

Our schools are battlefields and there's little hope of stopping these giants. Will our children be the casualties of the perpetual boxing match between commercial giants? Will they be crushed underfoot, impoverished in a mad dash for financial success?

I can guarantee you one thing...I'll be challenging the "No eReaders in school" policy first thing in his school next week. As a parent, I hope you do, too.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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