Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brandon's Story

This qualifies as an Israeli post because I'm enjoying another 75 degree day in sunny Jerusalem, light breeze blowing through the living room.  Recently, a blogger I admire, Richard Kassissieh, wrote that Catlin Gabel had acquired a Kindle for parents to test.  Full disclosure....Richard is also a colleague (and an admired one at that.)  While reading the post, I thought back to my conversation with Brandon Goodfliesh, currently at the American School in Japan.  I met Brandon on a Mexico cruise a couple of years ago, when I was still considering the purchase of an iPod touch.  Brandon patiently showed me how he used his touch as an e-book reader, downloaded books from sites such as Amazon and Project Gutenberg, etc.  I wasn't convinced.  "How do you annotate pages?" I asked.  Brandon explained how he could annotate pages, but was more likely to take notes a different way.  Still more than skeptical, I observed Brandon reading throughout the cruise.  His touch ever at hand, he was seriously enjoying the books he was reading, including a novel or two his English teacher had assigned over Winter Break.  Fast forward to this past fall.  I finally acquired an iPod touch.  I began reading novels on the plane trip to Israel.  I just finished NurtureShock.  E-book readers now have sophisticated note taking software (even the BN reader which is the lamest of the readers I use.)  I know that colleges such as Reed in Portland are experimenting with Kindles.  I believe these experiments will not go well.  We need to let students choose their e-readers.  Kids who already carry laptops and smartphones will probably choose e-readers which work on the smartphones.  Why carry another device?  A common complaint about annotating is that it is awkward.  I am not sure that kids who are lightning quick texting with their thumbs will have any difficulty at all.  Schools will be led by students in this area.  Wikipedia has a couple of interesting comparison charts on formats and hardware.  Sometimes following isn't such a terrible thing.  Thanks, Brandon.  I hope you are well.

1 comment:

  1. FYI, Reed discontinued their Kindle pilot when an advocacy group for the vision-impaired filed a complaint. Apparently, the navigation menu is not voice-enabled.