Jury is still out there on how successful and useful Kindle is as a product, but I believe a Kindle borrowing some technologies from a Tablet PC along with some software enrichments can make a very useful product for school students.
Think of a product being used by students from class one to class twelve in which they get all their textbooks, they can take all their notes, they can check their emails and that is easy to read and write as paper based books and notebooks respectively. Isn’t that product worthy of a wow? Well that’s Kindle plus Tablet PC I am talking about. Kindle in itself is a technological leap in the field of digitizing books. To make it useful for schools, it should have a touch screen write capability where you can take notes, and mark and highlight in books. A state-of-the-art search capability to search anything as fast as possible and reach the right page of the right book or notes instantaneously. And to top it off, Internet connection to provide students controlled web browsing and email checking facilities. I think such a product can revolutionize education industry and take it to the digitized world like never before.
Now coming to the cost factor for this product. A Kindle is $400 and a Tablet PC costs about $1500. If this “Tableted Kindle” comes to be $1800, and is used by students for twelve years, it is $150 a year expense to take the entire library of student to this one device. As far as the usage cost of this device is concerned, it can replace the cost of buying books, notebooks and other accessories that are substituted by the “Tableted Kindle”.
I know that we are still a few years, may be a decade, away from having something like a “Tableted Kindle” in hands of every school going child, and there are potential issues like hardware upgrades, technological changes coming out year after year and so on, but with proper integration of two products already out there, we can revolutionize a big part of education delivery infrastructure.