Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Classroom Kindle with Big Brother Control One-Ups iPad 3

Interesting post: Amazon Just Beat Apple to the Classroom, on Gizmodo. I’ve been following ebooks and textbooks for more than 10 years now, expecting disruption. Textbooks are obsolete. It should have happened years ago. And there’s a lot going on now, but classrooms are still the same.

In this one, post author Brian Barrett starts by quoting himself from a few months back after Apple presented an iPad solution to classroom learning and textbooks. Brian said then:

Let’s be clear; this is indisputably the future. What we saw today is what our classrooms will look like once iPads are far cheaper, once digital textbooks can be handed down as easily as physical ones, once teachers of every subject have several educational material options to choose among. For now though, it’s important to remember that “new” and “different” always come at a premium. One that the vast majority of us can’t afford.

Brian says that’s as true today as it was then, but …

But look at how Amazon’s offerings have grown since then. A backpack-friendly 7-inch tablet for $160 (and E-ink technology has progressed enough that you could probably make due with a $70 entry-level model). A Kindle eTextbook service that’s ballooned to over 200,000 titles, with generous return policies and cash-saving rental options. And a platform ubiquity that ensures no kid gets left out, regardless of what device he or she owns

And then this, on Whispercast:

But today’s announcement of its Whispercast technology seems to solve problems Apple hadn’t even thought of.

Whispercast is a free service that serves as an umbrella for many, many Kindle management features, but most of all it provides the kind of centralized control over devices that are a luxury for businesses and a necessity for schools. Content distribution, social media and purchase blockades, password protection, document sharing; there couldn’t be a more teacher-friendly checklist.

Sigh … I guess that’s good news. But it’s sad, at least in some ways, that control, blockades, and protection are barriers to better technology in schools. I can see why — lawsuits, fanatics, porn, bullying, and so forth — but still. Damn.

(Complete aside: I like the lead from a writing point of view. Here’s Brian’s first sentence from today’s post:

On a freezing, cloudless day last January in New York, Apple presented to the world its vision for the future of education. 

The freezing cloudless day has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but it’s an interesting start.)

  • Anthony L. Testi

    Just the other day I was introduced to the term “Purple Prose” and the “On a freezing, cloudless day ” is a perfect example of it.

    “Purple prose is a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader’s response.”

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_prose

  • http://www.staplesindustrial.com SI-Cheri

    Apple still has a long way to go – because of their prices – before they can get the iPad used by schools as a regular learning tool. I’ve always felt that the iPad is more a baby boomer’s toy than the younger generation’s primarily because of its price. It’s great that Amazon has made access to tablets so much easier with their friendly prices and other companies are following suit – Barnes & Noble, Lenovo, and a few other lesser known brands.

    That said, schools will have to invest big money in order to get these tablets into the classrooms, which is easier said than done when the school is barely keeping alive.

    To echo Clint, big Sigh indeed.

  • http://www.cazoomi.com Clint Wilson

    Tim,

    As always, Friday morning reading your blog makes my day.

    However, I keep hearing about textbooks are dead this…iPads rule..blah blah blah… yet my daughter’s teacher won’t allow any electronics still in the top San Francisco Chinese Immersion program.

    Yes, big Sigh:) & WTF it’s almost 2013!

    ~Clint
    @cazoomi