Amazon tries to push Kindle into U.S. schools

“ Inc announced an initiative on Wednesday to get its Kindle e-readers and tablet computers into schools, entering a market that has been particularly successful for rival Apple Inc and its iPad device,” Alistair Barr reports for Reuters.

“Amazon said it has been testing Kindles in recent years with hundreds of kindergarten through 12th grade schools in the United States, selling the devices at bulk discounts and helping them purchase and distribute e-books to students,” Barr reports. “Amazon’s education push is part of a broader effort by the world’s largest Internet retailer to get Kindles into as many hands as possible. The company sells Kindles at cost and hopes to make money selling e-books and other content such as apps, games, music and video through the devices.”

Barr reports, “Apple’s iPad has been a big hit with educational institutions in the United States. In the second quarter of 2012, the company said sales of iPads in the U.S. education market almost doubled year-over-year to just under 1 million units.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Any school that’s stupid enough to buy head units designed for shopping at for their students needs to be shut down.

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  1. “Any school that’s stupid enough to buy head units designed for shopping at for their students needs to be shut down.”

    This may describe schools all across the south eastern US and many ‘red neck’ states.

  2. Has the iPad actually improved the knowledge or intelligence of school children? Has the introduction of the iPad been merely a public relations stunt? Are the fundamental problems with the US education system so profound, wide spread, and politically protected that an inert piece of metal and plastic can solve them? The sale of any electronic device by any company may help generate profits, but I doubt that inamimate objects distributed by incompetent teachers to disinterested students will make any difference at all.

      1. Read the news? How many Nobel prize winners have emerged from the slums of Detroit and Trenton, or the barrios of idyllic Califonia? The fact are clear. The lower classes have been abandoned by the political elite except during the election season. During the election season these people are promised food stamps and other handouts in exchange for their subservience to the machine. What do these people need with an iPad? Apple Maps to locate the nearest welfare office?

        1. Well, there are plenty of home grown science wizzes working at JPL for your information.

          There are plenty of talented people coming out of the barrios well educated and becoming teachers and professors in their communities and abroad. There are plenty creating start-ups and being innovators.

          Though there are holes in the educational system, it isn’t a total failure and iPads and Macs have been promoting advanced learning and teaching techniques. Apple has always been a great supporter of education.

          iPada ren’t meant to fix the entire educational system, they do improve the abilities of those who have them.

      1. I am angry and bitter toward the politicians that failed to address the problems of the government run education system and then, having produced generations of incompetent citizens, bribe them with “entitlements” in exchange for their votes.

    1. Having been an instructor at a technical college for 13 years, I know that technology itself does not improve students BUT the schools that use technology intelligently are progressive and get better results through engagement with the students and revived enthused teachers.

      If your schooling was less than what you wanted, you can still educate yourself now.

            1. Boy MacFreek, what is wrong with you today? In this and every comment section before it you have been nothing but insulting and childish to anyone who happens to have a different idea or opinion or bit of fact than you do.

              There are many people who choose to follow careers in positions that aren’t as well-paid or aren’t part of the elite. It’s something that apparently hasn’t crossed your mind as something that’s actually quite satisfying for those who choose to do things like teach in inner-city schools, become doctors in rural towns, become public defenders, or work in city parks rather than for an agri-business. It has nothing to do with ambition. It has everything to do with being human and helping others to achieve dreams.

              @3I3c7ro: My hat’s off to you and others doing what you’re doing. Your original comment above is spot on the money and MacFreek’s ad hominem responses feel like sand in ice cream.

            2. Tenured Professors are a major part of the problem in higher education today. They are, for the most part, the ones who do not care about what they teach. They coast. They know they have it made and give up doing anything worthwhile for the students. Yes there are great tenured teachers out there, but they’re the exception, not the rule.

              I was teaching at a State run university and was on tenure track, in fact was at my 3rd year review. I was guaranteed to get my tenure. But when I looked at the tenured professors I was working with, save one or two, I had to just shake my head. They were the ones that rarely kept their classes for the full class time. They were constantly roaming the halls and popping their heads into my classes and wanting to chat, while I was in class and while they were supposedly in class. Tenure was a get out of jail free card to them. They were dragging the entire system down, and there was little the system could do to get rid of them. You want to talk about embarrassment? I was embarrassed that the system let those students down.

              And on top of that, I was spending copious amounts of time validating my existence to people who had done less and published less than I had. As if the pedigree had something to do with how much they had to actually offer to the institution or the students. I was happy to bury them with paper, it was too easy to do, but what a waste of time that was better spent actually teaching.

              I got head hunted by another institution and gave up my tenure possibilities and am now in a college that does not have any tenured professors. And guess what? Everyone there busts their asses and really delivers for their students. They’re engaged and serious about what they’re teaching.

              No embarrassment here. I traded up, and so have the students who attend the school.

              Tenure once might have had something to do with true achievement and someone’s ambition to excel. And in many cases it may still. But as practiced today it’s become a haven for too many lazy people who gave up on actually caring about the students they profess to care about.

              Maybe you need an iPad, MacFreek. Take your pills and chill out.

    2. This may be the most ignorant statement I have read today..

      1. The iPad is a TOOL, like a pencil. It provides a means of delivering educational content in an engaging, meaningful manning. So yes, indirectly it has.

      2. Define these fundamental problems Mr. Smart guy, I hear this tired refrain from uneducated, mouth breathers routinely, yet when your charge is met with that question you could hear a pin drop. Spell it out, tell me how you would fix it.

      3. I hope you do not have kids, if they grow up hearing that drivel how are they ever going to respect and learn from a teacher? EVERY profession on this earth has incompetent members, in education you will also find some, they do not represent the majority.

      4. Disinterested students: AH-HA now we are getting to one of the REAL fundamental problems in schools today. iPads work to engage these students and facilitate learning.

      Why are they disinterested?
      -Couldn’t be the commercial stimulant overload we call American Life could it?
      -Couldn’t be because they come from one parent homes, sit in class tired and hungry?
      -Couldn’t be that because of funding cuts they are stacked 30-40 kids to a class and the student misses the individualized instruction they need to be successful.
      -Couldn’t be that the text-book (Most of which comes from Conservative Texas) is dull and unimaginative.
      -Couldn’t be because of No Child Left Behind, perhaps one of the single worst government programs in education EVER. (Thanks W, you drunk bafoon)

      You see their are lots of problems and hurdle to getting kids educated today, but the majority of them come from outside school and from government interference, particularly from the GOP.

  3. What about good old fashioned support in the schools themselves? I suppose they’d either work their current IT staff harder or spend extra on more staff to support the Kindle.

    1. The only thing limited here is your intellect and understanding of education.

      $100 kindle means 5-8 for every one iPad. When your school library budget is spare change and box tops this stretches those dollars and helps.

      If all you want is a device and content to facilitate READING and you want the kids on task, the Kindle is a great choice. No Angry Birds, no FaceTime, just BOOKS and READING.

      Sure an iPad is capable of doing more things, but if the goal is to improve literacy, well video games are not a ‘value-add’. Kindles cost a fraction of what an iPad costs.

      Besides, the Amazon content can be used on iPads too, so down the road you can use both.

      1. @ Truth: Well stated. I’m a long-time Apple user and admitted fanboi but your point above hits the mark WRT public education. As a parent years ago I did a lot of volunteer work at my daughters’ schools and I can tell you that “spare change & box tops” is all too common in trying to fund library purchases. Some of us parents would volunteer to bring our own children’s books in and read with younger kids in the library. You really don’t know what joy is until you see that you’ve connected with a youngster who finally reads the word “wanted” as “wan-ted” rather than “wand.” Kindles would go a long way in filling in for empty shelves.

  4. Care to elaborate on why buying Kindles are stupid for schools, MDN?

    I’m all for promoting great technology, which more often then not is made by Apple. But you shouldn’t label everything NOT made Apple as absolute crap automatically, no explanation needed. If Kindles really suck so much for school children, you should be able to backup that argument with some tangible explanation.

    Compared to the iPad, Kindles tend to have better screens for reading text, have longer battery life, are less expensive, and are not as good at gaming & facebook. It seems like a not terrible idea for schools to me.

    1. it is not stupid, MDN’s take is.

      Kindles are cheap, easy to load with content and help get students to read. Librarians love them.

      Literacy is a huge problem in this country and MDN is letting Apple bias and partisan propaganda influence it’s take (As usual)

  5. How can you compete with a company that is giving away hardware? Even if its crappier than the iPad and has less functionality, its good enough for what Amazon is pushing it as good enough for school use.

    1. Exactly.

      Posts about iPad vs. Kindle seem to be very limited as to what a tablet can be used for in education. There is so much more to education than reading. Do Kindles have apps for math, science, or history?

      Books… to be sure, but apps… that can teach?

      If reading were the sole criteria in educational technology discussion, they might have a point. But it is not. To judge the validity of an educational device solely by one solitary use (reading) is ridiculous and indicates a serious lack, not just of vision, but of how technology can be used in schools. Even if reading were such a criteria, the potential of iBooks generated textbooks blows away anything available for Kindles.

      The only thing Kindle has going for it is price, and you know what they say about “getting what you pay for.”

      1. I’ve been managing technology and providing technology consulting to K-12 schools for 15 years. Currently I am in charge at a private school with a 2:1 program (Macbook pro & iPad) You have NO IDEA what you are talking about.

        Prior to my current gig I spent several years at a very poor district (90% free & reduced) between the state and the fed, funding was at a 30 year low. The school was saving EVERY PENNY it could. The librarian was cut to half time, the library aide pink slipped. (at the same time we were struggling to meet reading gains mandated by NCLB act)

        The librarian literally had to do fundraising, save change, save box tops, soup labels to get funding. We would host the book fair and letters/emails would go out to parents with a wish list of books asking them to buy books for the library. Not many did, our families were really poor. She wanted to introduce a few kindles because the books were cheaper and she could make her money go further.

        We were an all mac school with a few iPads. We purchased a single Kindle. We decided that a $600 iPad was not optimal for little kids to read books. 1. it was expensive (compared to a Kindle) 2. It was HEAVY, more than double the weight of the Kindle. (these were first gen iPads at this time) 3. The kids would get overwhelmed with the iPad, they wanted to click on other apps and ‘play’ around when we were trying to get them to embrace reading. IE distraction.

        The kindle was cheap, lightweight, did EXACTLY what we wanted it to do. Kids liked using it. We surveyed the kids as part of the trial, The reason the kids like the iPad: 1. Can play games 2. Can surf the web. Both things we didn’t want them doing in the library and were of no benefit on the device for our project needs.

        ‘IT’ involvement: input the wifi authentication credentials, record serial, affix asset tag. iPads took about 30 mins to setup. So the kindle was an efficient device to roll out. The librarian managed the device. She managed to fund raise about $1000 after the trial, half of which came out of her OWN POCKET and she bought several more and a TON of books for it.

        Sometimes you really need a bowie knife, sometimes you need a swiss army knife, all depends on the job. There is plenty of room in the world for Kindles, they have great applicability in schools, and work well.

        Her reading program continues to make gains today, even has an after school program (volunteers her time, no one will pay for it) for kids who need extra help/time/practice reading. She made 15% improvement in reading test scores within that subgroup in a two year time. Non-technology based traditional efforts had resulted in a 5% gain in the same time period.

        I will say it again, you do not know what you are talking about.

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