This has been an exciting school year for me with a pilot of digital textbooks in one classroom and a Kindle pilot in another classroom.  I’m sure that I will have other posts to discuss how the pilots are going.

The Kindle pilot is with students in our “Reading as a Writer” class which is taught by our literacy coach.  We purchased 12 Kindles (2 are for teachers) and are piloting this with 10 students.

Getting started is the hard part.  Here are the steps we went through to get started:

1. We had to create two separate accounts with Amazon so that we could order the Kindles in two groups of six. Up to six Kindles can share books on one account.  It isn’t hard to set up multiple accounts in Amazon.  Just create a second new account using the same e-mail address. You will have the option of saying that you want to create another account with the same e-mail.  Only the password needs to be different.

2.  Amazon requires you to use a credit card to order the Kindles.  This could be the biggest hurdle in a school or district where credit cards have purchasing limits.

3.  After we received the Kindles, we had to turn on each Kindle to register them. The Kindles purchased in each group are registered to the same account so that you can share books and notes between the Kindles.  If you have problems with the registration process, you can login to the correct Amazon account and go into your account settings.  From there,  go to Manage Your Kindle.  You can deregister devices or rename them here. Each Kindle will have a unique e-mail address.

4.  The final step was to download books.  We picked one Kindle from each group and then visited the online store to download the books.  After the books were downloaded, the other Kindles in that group showed the book in their archive.  Students were able to go to their archive and retrieve the books.

5.  After downloading the books, we went into the Amazon accounts and deleted the credit card information.  This is very important in order to avoid students visiting the store and purchasing books.  You can turn off one-click ordering by going to Manage Your Kindle from your account settings, but it’s much safer to delete the credit card.

We’ve only been using the Kindles for a month, but the student response has been very positive.  They love having the dictionary right there when they need a definition.  They have also been able to use the highlight and notes features to share notes with other students in their Kindle group.

The other great bonus from having the Kindles is that the literacy coach has been able to download a lot of free classics to the Kindles.  A few of the students have started reading the classics just for fun!