Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Kindle eReader - Old Fashioned Learning with New Technology

We've been using vintage public domain texts, published before 1924, for ancillary learning since my son was in kindergarten, and I use it with my five year old daughter. The Robinson Homeschool Self-Teach Program, using vintage texts, has always interested me; however, I'd like to begin having the children read e-books(free) on a regular basis for school. The Robinson CDs are set up for printing, per Dr. Robinson's no computer learning philosophy, and are not ebook friendly(older TIFF versions). I like the new ebook technology, so we won't be ordering the Robinson CDs, but I will use his book list as a resource.We have a mini-laptop with which we currently read ebooks, but its backlit screen is hard on the eyes. I looked at the Kindle ebook reader; it is not backlit and uses electronic ink. Excerpt from Amazon on the Kindle:

Reads Like Real Paper, Not a Computer Screen
Kindle's wireless reading device uses an electronic ink display is ideal for reading because it does not create the same eyestrain as reading on traditional backlit LCD tablets or laptops.
Clearer Text and the Sharpest Display
Electronic ink uses actual ink to create crisp, print-like text similar to what you see in a physical book. Kindle's proprietary, hand-built fonts take advantage of the special characteristics of the ink to make letters clear and sharp.
No Glare, Even in Bright Sunlight 

Kindle's screen reflects light like ordinary paper, eliminating the glare created by backlit LCD displays on tablets or smart phones. Kindle can be read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room.

Kindle also has a USB port, so I can download books from my PC, if needed. There is a native PDF reader in all new versions of the Kindle. The first generation Kindle had a SD card reader for external storage, but the newer Kindles do not. Current Kindles hold 3,500 books, but I still wish I could transfer books via a SD or stick memory. Supposedly PDF downloads from my favorite Google Books(free public domain texts) download easily and view well. In addition, there are a good number of free classics for download at the Amazon Kindle book store. Project Gutenberg public domain texts have always been fairly ebook friendly.  

I'm thinking about using vintage texts for Reading, Religion, and History. Math and English will probably be via Christian Light Education, and Science is still up in the air.

I'll wait for Black Friday to purchase a Kindle. They are likely to go down in price; however the least expensive version without the Wifi or 3G is relatively inexpensive at only $139.00. I'm looking at the Kindle DX for its larger screen and 3G, although it is not as reasonably priced. My husband prefers ebooks, and may be borrowing the Kindle for the text-to-speech option which is a standard Kindle feature. If he likes it enough, we'll probably be purchasing one for him as well.


Blessed Mom said...

We use a lot of the free texts online as well as a lot of pdf downloads from various places as well, and I finally broke down and bought a kindle about a month ago, it has been such a money saver, as well as a time saver, I am so thankful we went ahead and purchased it. I would say the only downside to it is that it's just not the same as a book in the hand, but when given the choice between having to print several hundred (or thousand)pages, and just downloading it to take with me, I'll take the kindle every time.


Alexandra said...

Good to know. Thanks so much!

Jimmie said...

We love our Kindles too. Very worthwhile if you use lots of those public domain books. And they are easy to curl up with on the couch (versus a clunky computer).

Debbie J said...

You've definitely done your research. I know you will get a lot of use from it. I am slow to embrace new technology, but have been interested in the Kindle thingie.

Alexandra said...

Jimmie: that's what I figured and the mini-laptop heats up too much.

Debbie: The one with 3G looks wonderful - instant access and downloads anytime, anywhere. We don't have WiFi, so that's the one for us. It beats having to go to the library or Barnes & Noble for WiFi access.

Nancy said...

Note that most (if not all) of the books at Project Gutenberg are now available in Mobipocket format for the Kindle. While PDF is good for those books where you want to preserve the layout and graphics -- particularly books for the youngest kids -- Mobipocket format is better for just plain text. It reflows easily and allows you to choose a larger font size without needing to pan right/left/up/down to see the whole page.

You can also get many of the books at Google Books in ePub format -- which is easily converted to Mobipocket for the Kindle using the freely available Calibre program.

Alexandra said...

Thank you so much for the information! I can't wait to get my Kindle.

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