Amazon announced its new Kindle Paperwhite last week, and many people are crazy excited about getting their hands on one. (It ships Oct. 1.)
I plan on getting one, too, but it’s pretty clear that the Paperwhite will not be the best Kindle for students and teachers.
That title goes to the Kindle Keyboard.
Hey, you say, isn’t that a really old model? Why yes, it is. In fact, what was first called the Kindle 3 came out in 2010, an eternity ago in tech years.
But I still recommend the Kindle Keyboard as the one to get if you’re a teacher, and here are the two reasons why:
1. The Kindle Touch no longer exists. I used to recommend the Kindle Touch for the classroom. After all, students like touch screens. But the Paperwhite replaces the Touch. And the Paperwhite, despite its many strengths, has one huge problem.
2. The Kindle Paperwhite doesn’t have speakers. To save money, Amazon decided to take speakers off the new Kindle. This means that the Paperwhite doesn’t have the popular text-to-speech feature. This is fine for many readers, but it’s not OK for students who like audio support. I once thought that only students with IEPs would benefit from text-to-speech, but my experience has shown that all students appreciate the feature, especially with challenging texts. One student last year ripped through Pride and Prejudice, but only when she read the book with TTS support.
And that’s it! With the Kindle Touch being discontinued, and with the new Kindle Paperwhite lacking speakers and text-to-speech capability, the Kindle Keyboard is left as the best Kindle for students.
Even though some students may scoff at the physical keyboard and want something more modern, the Kindle Keyboard is still a sleek-enough device that will attract readers.
More important, the Kindle Keyboard is the most powerful device that is dedicated to reading. Sure, I’m tempted to move toward the Google Nexus 7, but that’s for another post, and besides, one of the best things about e-readers is that all you can do on them is read.
And there’s nothing wrong with that!