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Kindle Choices: Are You Using E-ink Kindles or Kindle Fires, and Why

With so many devices on the market for use at school, it would be helpful to know what people are doing in terms of e-ink or touch media like the Fire or iPad. Or maybe your school had adopted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. What say you?

BTW, if you click "Follow this discussion" you will receive updates as others comment or reply to your post.

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Is there any way to speak to you on the telephone?  I have been away from using Kindles for years and I have no idea where to start!  My phone number is 814-676-2771 x1600

We still have ~40 Kindle Fires (1st gen), but they have only been lightly used of late.  Amazon's Whispercast management is so monumentally clunky that the teachers find it discouraging.

Thanks so much for the follow up comment JH. It seemed at the time (and was evident in your comments at the time) that Amazon really felt the need to move beyond the work-arounds that grew out of schools applying a system developed for single consumers to group consumption in a school setting. But Whispercast ended up being not quite the "frictionless" system that schools need. If your Kindle Fires are fading in usefulness, what devices or reading methodology is taking their place?

We are a small school, and I have been using basic Kindles for ebook use.  I am in Thailand, so I don't have access to the educational management system, I just have an individual account and put individual books on individual Kindles as and when they are required.  It works really well for us - so much so that I have just bought 4 new ones to expand our stock.  I like the basic devices because there is less to go wrong, they are cheaper to buy and replace, and they are ONLY for reading.

Four years ago we purchased 8 Kindle Paperwhites, 2 Kindle Keyboards, and 24 Kindle 4s through two grants.  The checkouts of the Kindles has dropped dramatically in the last two years as more of our students use their own devices, including smartphones, to check out our ebooks on the Kindle app.  About twice a year English teachers do a project where we load a certain book, usually a classic, onto all the Kindles and students then check them out. When we set up the Kindles originally, I set up six different Amazon accounts because at that time you could have 6 devices on one account.  We only purchase ebooks through our OverDrive account unless it is a free classic.  At checkout, students have made their choice from the digital library and we go in and load the choices to a Kindle which they pick up later.  I had to add parental locks to the devices after a student loaded a free erotic story from Amazon.  This creates extra steps for checkout but at least we are confident that the devices cannot be misused.  The Kindles are popular with Special Ed students who can use the increased font size and dictionary.  They are also a popular choice for athletes who have a long bus ride to take for a competition.  Other students like being able to check out multiple books in a series on one device and the Kindles are checked out more over long breaks such as holiday breaks.  We don't restrict the number of checkouts per student so this lets them get several books for over a vacation time. I'm interested in hearing how others promote their use as it is sad to have them here unused.  

Beth, thanks so much for your post. Do the students who check out books for the Kindle app on their own devices do that through the Overdrive interface? Also, Mary Ann Stewart and I were discussing Overdrive and the cost--is it still prohibitively expensive for most schools?


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