Friday, November 13, 2009

Episode 102 - Tipping Point for ebooks?

It’s Friday November 13th, 2009 and welcome to episode 102 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This week we have a special guest, Dr. James Harden, talks about the recent Diversity Conference held here at Eastern Illinois University.

Right Click Here to Download MP3

(19 minutes 35 seconds)

In the world of ed tech this week Amazon released the Kindle for the PC Beta ebook software. I have downloaded and installed Kindle for PC on a laptop computer. The whole process took less than two minutes and once I logged in to my Amazon account I was able to see all the books I had purchased in the Archive section of the software and was able to download them locally to the laptop. The Kindle for the PC interface is very simple and clean. This is beta software so there will be additional changes in the future but it is currently very functional and gives me another option of reading previously purchased content. I really do believe this event is a tipping point for ebook readers because now any of the billion PC users out there now have a way of purchasing and viewing an ebook using free software. Of course you still have to purchase the content from Amazon but the hurdle of accessing ebooks has now diminished with the release of this free software.

On a personal note I recently purchased the new Droid smartphone from Verizon and I am very happy with it so far. My cell phone contract expired a couple of months ago and I have been researching my options. Since I am currently use the Verizon network the new Droid phone was a logical choice. The Droid uses the new Android 2.0 software and comes with free built-in Google Maps navigation and this feature with free turn-by-turn GPS directions closed the deal for me. The App Store has approximately 10,000 apps that will keep me busy for a while as I explore the functionality of the Droid.

A third item of interest this week involves the five Kodak zi8 cameras that the ITC recently ordered. I made the Kodak zi8 video camera my Technology Pick of the Week on the last episode of TechTalk4Teachers and now that I have had a chance to get my hands on one and use it my views have not changed. The zi8 offers HD quality video recording and more importantly the ability to plug-in an external microphone that will allow for higher-quality audio recording. In my initial tests I am quite pleased with both the video quality and the audio quality. My only complaint is that the zi8 does not ship with an SD card which is required to record HD video, I knew this in advance so we ordered 16GB SD cards along with the cameras but I imagine many people purchasing a zi8 will be disappointed to find out they have to go back to the store to purchase a SD card before they can even use the camera out of the box. Now on to our interview for today.

Interview with Dr. James Harden about the Diversity Conference held at Eastern Illinois University

Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology Pick of the Week this week is the Beta version of the Kindle for PC software. I have provided a link in the show notes where you can download Kindle for PC beta to give it a try.

Kindle for the PC Beta Download

Kindle for PC allows you to read purchased ebooks from the Amazon store on a Personal Computer. Amazon has sold many Kindles but Kindles are dedicated devices for reading ebooks and are expensive for a single use device. The Kindle for the PC will allow you to read purchased ebooks on your computer.
The jury is still out whether most people will find reading an ebook on a Personal Computer enjoyable but it does open the market for ebook readers and it is no longer necessary to spend money on a dedicated reading device such as the Kindle. It also offers the ability to display color, something the Kindle has not offered to date. The Kindle does offer inking technology seems to be easier on your eyes to read so there still may be a place for the Kindle device depending upon your preferences.

That wraps it up for episode 102 of TechTalk4Teachers. I want to thank Dr. James Harden for the interview today and sharing some of his thoughts on the recent diversity conference as well as how he utilizes new technologies in the classroom with preservice teachers. Show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at just If you have questions, comments or suggestions please send an email to or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.