I’m very happy with the 127 Kindles that have been donated to the Kindle Classroom Project over the past few years.
But take a look at this guy!
Keith Mastorides, the principal of Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Florida, made headlines more than three years ago when he purchased 2,100 Kindle Keyboards. Every single student at the school received a Kindle.
Interviewed in this week’s Kindle Chronicles, Mr. Mastorides tells the story of how his school became the first in the country to go all-Kindle. It’s pretty great. Check out the interview beginning at 24:02.
I appreciated host Len Edgerly’s questions, and as a result, I learned a lot about Clearwater’s program.
A few tidbits:
– Each Kindle contains a student’s textbooks, 150 novels, local newspapers, and access to grades and attendance. (It makes me happy that the school combines fiction and nonfiction, and it gets me thinking that I should encourage my schools to allow WiFi access on the Kindles so that I could do the same.)
– Clearwater staff members managed all of these Kindles and ebooks on their own. Amazon’s Whispernet, which organizes and helps deploy content to the devices, did not yet exist. (I find this amazing. Keeping tabs on 127 Kindles is a big job. I can’t imagine 2,100!)
– The biggest highlight of the Kindle program, according to Mr. Mastorides, has been that the lowest-performing students have improved their reading scores the most. (This doesn’t surprise me.)
– Since 2010, the Kindle program has shifted, particularly as tablets have become cheaper and more ubiquitous. Though the school still has some Kindle Keyboards left, Clearwater has shifted to a “bring your own technology” stance, where students can use the device they own. For students who don’t have a laptop or tablet or smartphone, the school offers a Kindle or a Kindle Fire. (I don’t like this approach. As Mr. Edgerly suggests and Mr. Mastorides denies, I believe it creates a two-class system.)
All in all, this interview helped me think of possible next steps for the Kindle Classroom Project. It keeps me grounded on the central mission of the program, which centers on promoting the joy of reading (rather than facilitating the delivery of subject-specific content). And it motivates me to keep thinking about the many ways that Kindles can meet the needs of students in different schools.