Preamble: A couple of days ago, I happened to see an old friend, Dr. Priscilla Leggett. We were both on the same committee and were waiting for “the others” to arrive. She shared with me some of the “fun stuff” that she and her grad students had been doing with technology, Web 2.0, etc. She mentioned that she had written a grant for a Kindle project, and then had written an article regarding the project. *I googled for “Priscilla Leggett Kindle” this morning and found the following article she had written:
Priscilla Manarino-Leggett – Fayetteville State University
Hearing what she had been doing with technology was refreshing and even exciting to me. You see, I rarely get any feedback regarding what instructors are doing with technology and their students. When I hear that someone has actually put it to use, it sort of “vindicates” my interest and efforts regarding Web 2.0 technology in education.
Some friends of mine received a 6″ Kindle Reader for Christmas. I got to play with it a little and here are some thoughts:
First, I was surprised that the device was so small, but later I found that there is also a 9.7″ version of the Kindle called a “Kindle DX”. The 6″ version has an extremely long battery life (perhaps 10 days, if you cut off the WIFI when not in use). There is a WIFI only and a WIFI+3G version.
The Kindle comes with a recharging cable that can be plugged into a wall socket, or separated from the wall socket connector so that you can plug it into a USB socket. The cable can also be connected via USB so that MP3 files can be downloaded to a Music folder on the Kindle.
My friends’ Kindle included the free 3G access, which means they are basically connected anywhere there is cell access. I was able to download War and Peace, the free version in about a minute, and the Vicar of Wakefield in much less time.
Another surprise was that the Kindle device included a web browser. I connected to my WordPress sites and viewed them, including their jpg & png images. The browser does not support Flash or video.
Oh, the Kindle is great for reading text, but be aware that it is a “black & white” device. No viewing of color images or graphs, etc. You can set the Kindle to read to you. It does this very well, although not perfectly. *I did not find out how to use voice commands for the device. I’m pretty sure that eventually, you will be able to add audio comments in addition to text comments.
The 6″ WIFI Kindle is currently about $139, plus shipping & handling, and the WIFI+3G device arrives at about $205 total. If you are an avid reader, and need copious amounts of info without colorful multimedia, then the 6″ Kindle WIFI+3G is easily competitive to other devices costing $400+.
So, it might be an interesting project to provide the WIFI only, 6″ Kindle for English majors.
Amazon.com provides thousands of free titles, and many of their current tomes are sold at a greatly reduced amount compared to a printed volume.
I downloaded the “Kindle for PC” software and quickly downloaded War and Peace to my laptop. This got me to thinking about how to publish for the Kindle.
If you think you might be serious about ebook publishing, then you can download the free Calibre Ebook Management software. This software can be used to create and convert ebooks in various formats (not just for Kindle).
If you are interested in creating an Open Source Textbook (OST), then perhaps, you might want to create it in a Kindle format (AZW). The Kindle for PC software will display the MOBI format also.
Free ebooks by MobiPocket http://www.mobipocket.com/freebooks/default.aspx
NOTE: My friends already had an Amazon.com account, so connecting the 6″ Kindle for 3G access went quickly.