This blog is my attempt to share information with faculty, introducing new apps, websites, or other snippets of information that may be of use to faculty. I am also using it to keep track of projects I'm working on that might be good to reference in the future.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kindle Fire - The Beginning....

My new project is to integrate a Kindle Fire into my classes and determine its uses for a teacher and student at our school.  I am currently using an iPad 1 and will need to transition my apps and functions from it to the Kindle Fire over the next month.

Why the Kindle?
There is definately a push by faculty and the education world in general to use the iPad.  Many companies know how desired the iPad is and so develop many wonderful apps for the iPad.  However, recently the Android market has become more prevelant then the iPad as far as tablet sales are concerned.  Sales for Android tablets is greater than the iPad.   It is not due to the fact that Android tablets are necessary better than the iPad, but largely because the Android tablets are much cheaper than the iPads.

After the Christmas break I had two students who got mini iPads (no new iPads) and five students who got Kindle Fire devices.  Based on the fact that more students/families will be able to get a Kindle versus an iPad, I wanted to determine if it could be a vital tool in the teacher's toolbox.  

I also thought that because we are a Google Apps for Education school, and we are pushing more classroom projects online, the Kindle is a viable solution since it is Android based (and Google is the big player in the Android arena).  The Kindle does not have access to Google's PlayStore, but there are published ways to get around this, which I hope will be simple enough to do.  

My project will be to see how easily the Kindle Fire can be used to integrate with Google and it's online suite of products.  

I have a Kindle Fire HD. I also got a screen protector, and a case with a wireless bluetooth keyboard.  Right now I'm doing this blog post straight from the Kindle, and it is pretty smooth so far.  Any issues I'm encountering is based more on the keyboard size and key locations, rather than the Kindle.

My first impressions:  This Kindle is MUCH lighter than the iPad, and you would expect as much based on it's 7" size versus the 10" size of the iPad.  So far the smaller screen size doesn't seem to be an issue for me....but I can see how it might be for others.  I just love the smaller size and it is easier to carry. 

The default email and calendar programs were easy to integrate with Google Apps.  When I set it up, it asked which calendars I wanted to see, and it even allowed me to view shared calendars (in addition to my calendar). Setting up the email and calendar features were much easier than I thought it would be.

I will also be using in my programming class, as there is an MIT tool that lets one easily create an Android app.  I know the kids will love to see their creation running on a actual Android tablet.

As I go along I will post more information of my project.
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