Home Florida or Ghana, E-Reading Innovators Face the Same Challenges

Florida or Ghana, E-Reading Innovators Face the Same Challenges

Worldreader, an e-reader nonprofit with a project in Ghana, and Clearwater High School in Florida, who also have an e-reader project, have found they are facing many of the same challenges. The kids each group serves are radically different in income and expectations. But they are quite similar in character.

The administrators of both projects have passed out Amazon Kindle e-readers to large groups of students with the intent of piquing interest in reading and providing a library’s worth of access. Among the biggest challenges shared by both? Kids are born hackers.

When Susan Moody, the marketing honcho for Worldreader, and John Just, Pinella County School District’s Assistant Superintendent of MIS, compared notes, they found that a substantial minority of e-reader users had replaced their official academic Kindle accounts with personal ones, allowing them to download off-canon literature. Adult-oriented, let’s say.

Kindle, you see, does not come with any kind of parental control that can be enforced on the units. Both groups are pulling for such an addition and in the meantime can only keep an eye on whether the kids are using their academic accounts.

Aside from the content being inappropriate for younger kids, going off-book so to speak also means the kids don’t have the right texts queued up for their studies.

Other similarities in the experiences the two groups have had include conducting weekly conversations with Amazon regarding their needs and experiences and maintaining a close working relationship with publishers.

One of the differences is in motivation. If a teacher in Florida doesn’t want to bother with the training or believes the technology is a distraction, it is probably because they already have access to the paper books the texts are from. In Ghana, that is not so. In Ghana, the e-reader program has made the difference not between one type of book or another but books or none.

A cool outcome of the initial dialogue between Worldreader and Clearwater is an ongoing conversation that may include a relationship, based on books, between the students in both countries.

Read more ReadWriteWeb coverage of e-readersWorldreader and Amazon.

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