To kindle or not…

One of my sisters-in-law got one of the original Kindles for Christmas.    My other sister-inlaw and I were looking at it at the time, thinking it was cool, but…  Then the other sister-in-law got one of the second generation Kindles for her birthday.  She told me she thought it would basically be a toy but that she has found that she loves it.  She said she hadn’t realized how little reading she was doing before (largely due to vision problems) until she got the Kindle and could change font size and get it just the way she wanted.

I am not interested in getting a Kindle.  Well, maybe I am.  But not really.  I don’t like their proprietary nature.  If they could read more formats and if I would actually own what I bought, it would be appealing on a certain level.  But they can’t and I wouldn’t, so they aren’t.

But Stephen’s post on the matter makes a lot of sense to me.  He refers to a NY Times blog post on the subject of Kindles in schools.  He says:

One wonders, why not put actual netbook computers into the hands of students, something that would be cheaper and would free them from Amazon’s proprietary format and restrictive APIs.

One wonders, indeed.   Even at the newer lower price on a Kindle of $299, you are talking about being able to buy a netbook for the same price or even less.  Wouldn’t that be a better option? Of course, you wouldn’t be able to read the latest best seller on your netbook, but that doesn’t seem to be necessary in an education setting.

Would it work?  What are the disadvantages to giving students netbooks as opposed to Kindles?

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