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Much afoot at The Kindle Classroom Project

readerfavicon There has been a lot going on with the Kindle Classroom Project. Here are some updates:

1. Two Kindles stopped working.
It had to happen eventually. One Kindle became unresponsive — in other words, the device was stuck in screensaver mode. Another Kindle’s screen cracked, probably the result of excessive pressure caused by a ninth grader’s bulging backpack. I won’t lie: These Kindle casualties frustrated me. But after a few days, I regrouped. And now I’m back with added energy, determined to get to my goal of a class set of Kindles.

2. One Kindle was replaced free of charge.
Amazon prides itself on excellent customer service. But the company does not want to spend its money replacing broken Kindles. Nevertheless, I contacted Amazon several times (on the phone, via chat), explained my situation, and pleaded with the representatives to send me replacement Kindles. It was a no-go on the Kindle with a cracked screen, but the unresponsive Kindle was deemed worthy of replacement. It arrived yesterday, and all I had to do was to send back the broken one, which I did — along with the other broken Kindle and a letter suggesting that Amazon should replace that one, too. (Yes, I will keep trying.)

3. One Kindle was donated.
As you may have seen in this post, Snip.it found out about The Kindle Classroom Project and decided to donate a Kindle to the cause. This was the first-ever contribution from a company. I suppose my next step should be to approach Amazon and see what they can do!

4. I’m no longer accepting the first-generation Kindle.
Right now, there are 15 total Kindles in circulation. Unfortunately, the two first-generation Kindles are not holding their charge, are not syncing well, and are not easy for students to use. I’m finding myself fixing those Kindles as much as I see students reading them. So unfortunately, I must say no to people who would like to donate their first-generation Kindle.

5. Therefore, our Kindle fleet stands at 12.

  • Kindle 2: 2
  • Kindle Keyboard (my favorite model): 6
  • Kindle Touch: 2
  • Kindle: 2 

My goal is 24, a full class set. Last year at this time, we had seven. Yes, the progress is slow-going, and sometimes I wish that some random person would swoop in and contribute 30 Kindles. But on the other hand, I am appreciative of the process and of the people who have donated.

6. It’s time to dream big: I just posted a new DonorsChoose project.
There is a rumor that I may receive two Kindles this week from generous donors. That means that I’m about 10 short of a class set, and that’s why I’ve posted the $960 proposal. Yes, it’s a big (and daunting) ask, but the good news is that a generous donor has already gotten the process started, so we’re already down to $860. Tell your friends!

7. I’m scouring Craigslist for Kindle donations.
People like to sell used (or stolen?) Kindles on Craigslist, so my latest strategy is to email these people and ask them to contribute their Kindle to my students. No takers yet, but I’ve just begun — and only with the Bay Area for now. It’s pretty easy: Just write a pitch email and send. We’ll see if this technique is worth pursuing. I figure that if someone donates a Kindle for every 20 emails I send, that would be a great response.

8. I’m coming up with more ways to contribute.
I’ve found that many people want to help out, but they don’t have a Kindle, and donating the money for one is just too much. So I’m trying to come up with more ways that people can contribute in smaller amounts. My Contribute page needs an overhaul. Here are some ideas about ways people can donate:

  • Donate a Kindle,
  • Donate on DonorsChoose (to a specific project or in general),
  • Donate directly (through a quick form),
  • Buy a Kindle ebook from my Amazon wishlist,
  • Donate a subscription to The New York Times.

Update: To make things easier, I’ve created the Kindle Classroom Project page! It’s easy to donate a Kindle there and to make a contribution!

Do you have other ideas? I’d like to engage as many people as possible, including former students, parents of former students, and parents and current students. It would be nice, for example, if a large number of parents could make a $10 donation; after all, this would purchase a Kindle ebook that all students could read forever.

There’s much more to update you about — for example, about how one Kindler read five books in one week! — but I’ll stop here for now. As always, I appreciate Iserotope readers and the many contributors to The Kindle Classroom Project. More to come! favicon

Please share your brilliant insights!