Monday, June 16, 2008

Kindle update...

The Kindle is a interesting device! Having 10 hours at a time (twice!) on the bus to and from Washington, DC, to put it through its paces, really gave me time to learn how to use it well.

The screen is easy on the eyes although I still have to remember I need an external light source to read it. The bus seat lights worked just fine as did reading it in the bright sunlight outside.

The "experimental" browser takes some getting used to, but once I started using the mobile versions of sites, like I do on my Windows Mobile phone, I could do just about anything I needed to do. I even posted to Twitter!

I listened to an audiobook for some of the time, and that worked well, too. I practice marking things up, creating clippings that could be searched later, and read some of my own content I had put on the device.

The battery life was really long, but I don't know how long, since I was busy taking care of chaperoning duties in-between! I did shut the wireless off while listening or reading, and I know that extends the battery life, too.

We have just purchased two Kindles for our high school library as a pilot, and I found out a couple of things. First, you can have up to 6 Kindles tied to one Amazon account, and, if you buy a single title, you are allowed to put it on all 6 of them.

Secondly, since any user of the Kindle can purchase a new title from the Kindle store from the Kindle itself, we did not know how we were going to control students from purchasing books on a whim. We are solving the problem by putting a gift certificate on the Amazon account with no other method of payment on the account. The teachers will spend the gift certificate funds to purchase a bunch of titles, so there will be no payment method available to purchase new titles by the users. We will just load the books up with the purchased titles.

(Update to clarify the above paragraph: As we do in the real library, suggestions for purchases submitted by students will be considered for the Kindle as they are for print titles in the library. I was not suggesting that the educators would control the content purchased for the Kindle. I was suggesting that, for a district that does not have a credit card and needs to carefully control spending due to limited resources, the gift certificate option would allow a designated amount of money to be spent on titles suggested by staff or students at the school.)

I will have the Kindle at NECC with me if anyone is interested in trying it out...just ask me when you see me!