It’s not an iPad, but I’m actually pretty impressed with my Kindle and even some of its social features.
One of my surprise gifts this Christmas was a package from Amazon, sent by one of our business partners in New York, containing a 6-inch 3G Kindle.
I’d not thought much about the devices before. After all, I have an iPad, and I have the software installed on the it, and have even ordered a few books. But, although I use the Apple device primarily for reading, it’s usually news or news feeds (Pulse & FlipBoard) — professional reading.
What instantly excited me about this Kindle was the fact that I am re-reading the last Harry Potter book, and since I do my fun reading at night, just before I fall asleep, I have found it exceedingly frustrating to handle a 750 page book in bed. Now I can read and it weighs almost nothing.
So the next morning I set out to buy my first Kindle book for my new Kindle reader and became frustrated again at what seemed like such a poorly designed web site, that I simply could not find the Kindle download for The Deathly Hallows. Finally Googling the problem revealed that J.K. Rowling, the books’ celebrated author, has refused to allow any of the Potter works to be digitally published. What?
My first reaction was to call this the worse kind of techno-snobbery, an apparent belief that these wonderful stories can only be told from a book — a really big book — never mind that the magic of well told stories far preceded even the earliest books. To be fair, after more reading, I discovered that Rowling’s refusal has more to do with a fear of piracy than what seemed like a narrow-minded wish to preserve the romance of books — even though, her books are apparently being digitally scanned and made available as eBooks within hours of their formal publishing and even sometimes available through Amazon. ((Rothman, David. “Illegal Potter copies were on sale in E via Kindle store: Another example of publishing’s e-mess.” TeleRead. 25 Jan 2009. Web. 4 Jan 2011. <http://bit.ly/euEJjG>.))
But that initial impulse lead me to think hard about my own techno-lust and -snobbery. I also rewarded myself, this holiday season, with a Macbook Air, ostensibly because the laptop I’ve been using is simply too heavy to carry around, as much as I sometimes have to carry a laptop around — not good for my posture. But like my iPad, it is a technology I could probably do without. I bought them because I happened to have to money at the time, and because both are such tantalizingly cool technologies. I confess — and I forgive myself.
My struggle now is to continue to work on preventing my propensity for cool tools (toys) from coloring my promotion of education practices and facilities that are more relevant to today’s children, today’s prevailing information environment, and the unpredictable future for which we are preparing our children.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been dealing with this struggle almost daily, as I have decided to switch from Prezi back to Keynote for my presentations. Have you seen the animations that you can so easily accomplish with Apple’s Keynote ’09? It’s dazzling — and it is hard work to keep that dazzle from coming between my message and the audience I hope to influence with it..
..and it is my continuing New Year’s resolution. There continues to be much in what I do and what we do as teachers, librarians, administrators, and even as parents that gets in the way of our need to prepare our children for their future, and we do it in the name of education and even in our efforts to “integrate technology.” It’s in our expectations, our terminologies and even in how we use our seductive technologies.
So I resolve to make only the most efficiently productive use of my information and communication technologies
— at least 80% of the time 😉