November 15, 2011

Is the Amazon Kindle Fire useful to nursing educators?

This week Amazon releases its latest member of the Kindle e-reader family, the Kindle Fire. On its surface it looks like smaller (7" vs 10") and cheaper ($200 vs $500) Apple iPad but there are differences that nursing educators need to consider.

First, some details about the Fire. It is tablet computer running an Amazon version of the Android operating system. It's primary purpose is to connect with the Amazon universe of books and shopping. It also has a web browser, an e-mail reader, and built-in links to Amazon's Android App Store. Early reports are that it does these things well and has an easy-to-read screen not unlike the iPad's. Unlike the iPad, the Fire has no Bluetooth, microphone, camera, or GPS. The Fire also has no automatic ability to read PDF files unless you first e-mail them to the device.

For nursing educators the Fire still may be an option. Before committing to the Fire be sure that the applications you want are available. While many Android healthcare apps are available many are not yet on the Amazon App Store. There are also far fewer healthcare apps for Android than for the iOS devices (i.e., iPhone, iPad, & iPod Touch). This means more support issue for faculty who are want students to get specific applications. To me, the inability to directly read PDF files is also a killer. Getting students to e-mail themselves a PDF you've assigned seems like a tech support nightmare.

So the Fire may have some specific applications for educators, and its price is attractive, but its limitations seem too great for use in a nursing classroom or clinical setting.

1 comment:

pat said...

With the addition of color, the Kindle Fire does open the door for possibilities. Faculty use seems to better than student. With having so many books on the Kindle, I am optimistic that either this generation or the next will prove to be more beneficial to nursing education. Actually I am waiting to next year’s version to purchase the new and improved.

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. However, if they are of a commercial nature they will be immediately deleted.