Oct 23 2012

Amazon's Whispercast Makes E-Readers Even More Appealing for Schools

The new free tool from Amazon lets school districts centrally manage groups of Kindles.

Mobile device management isn’t just for smartphones or tablets — it’s also a great fit for e-readers, as the new Whispercast from Amazon shows.

Built by the company to help schools centrally manage Amazon Kindles in the classroom, Whispercast is a free tool that makes it easier for school IT workers to register, manage and secure thousands of devices from a central location.

Representatives from the company elaborated on the new abilities offered by Whispercast in a story with Reuters:

Administrators and teachers can set up user accounts for each student and arrange them into one or more groups, such as a specific class or grade level. They can also set limits on what students can do with the devices, such as blocking Facebook and web browsing and disabling purchasing, Amazon said.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to own a Kindle device. Any time we can make that easier, we do that," said Jay Marine, vice president of Kindle product management. "And we have a particular mission to increase reading, especially among kids."

The nonprofit Worldreader gave Amazon Kindles to school-age children in Ghana. A follow-up Worldreader study, funded by USAID, showed that the e-readers had a profound effect on education.

Prior to the study, primary-school students had an average of 3.6 books. During the pilot program, that number rose to an average of 107 books. There’s also data that suggests the e-readers helped these primary-school students score better on tests: Students saw their reading scores increase from 12.9 percent to 15.7 percent after receiving e-readers.

For examples of e-readers at work closer to home, both Clearwater High School and Curtis Fundamental Elementary in Florida have been using Kindle e-readers with great success.

Amazon documented the schools’ experiences in a video case study, which you can view below.

Is your school district using Amazon Kindles or any other kind of e-reader in the classroom?

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