Could Amazon Whispercast Make School Books Obsolete?

Jason Rhode, Weblog, Oct 18, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Amazon has introduced something called 'WhisperCast' to schools and teachers. It's an "online tool that helps your organization easily manage its Kindles and distribute Kindle content." The major features (from my perspective) are the ability to block browser features (teachers will love that, sadly), distribute content into user groups, and most importantly, distribute content to user-owned devices such as laptops, iPads, Androids, Blackberrys, and more (presumably the blocking feature doesn't extend to these devices). The BYOD feature is especially important; it takes the form of a type of 'content gifting'. The biggest problem, so far as I can see, is that Kindle doesn't distribute free and open access content - if you're getting it through a Kindle, you're paying for it. So I think schools should consider carefully whether they want to always pay for all content in the future before locking themselves into this service.

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