Category Archives: Review

Special Note: Thanks to my friends/colleagues, Dr. Susan Dauer and Debbie Garrison, and the Valencia Foundation & Endowed Chairs, I recently had the opportunity to pilot a handful of classroom uses for both the Nook Color and the Kindle. What follows is a brief note I sent to them in response to questions regarding my experiences with the devices.

Hey Guys, thank you for affording me the opportunity to beta test practical applications for using the Nook Color. In the few months that I have had the device, I have learned quite a bit about e-readers. By happenstance, I was given a Kindle as a gift (Special thanks Sunshine State TESOL) around the same time you allowed me to test the Nook Color. Both devices have their strengths and weaknesses. With both devices, I tested documents, PDFs and scanned images for readability, but prefer documents converted into the specific formats for each device. I, therefore, learned to convert various document types into Epub format (Nook Color) and PRC format (Kindle). For reading, I have to give the advantage to the Kindle. It is lighter, easier to convert files for, more like a book to read, enhanced in its capabilities for interacting with text, has greater battery life, and reads text to you (which is great for ADA compliance).

However, the Nook Color makes up for any weaknesses in readability with its web searching capabilities and its ability to play video. Debbie,  I would imagine that in math courses the Nook Color is great for video/tutor based websites like the Khan Academy. To test its video capabilities, I tried different content. I made a brief training video using Camtasia, narrated a presentation of sequenced static images, and converted DVD movie files for use on the device. Its video capabilities really made it a standout for me.

In all honesty, my testing of the devices is still a work in progress. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time in my day to try all that I would like to try. Perhaps next time you guys write an endowed chair, you may want to include a stipend for release or product development time. I have done this work out of my own general interest, but I think your findings would be more robust if you had a group of individuals working together and bouncing ideas off of one another. I do have to say though that this opportunity to test out new technologies has changed the way I present. For example, earlier this semester I presented as part of the SoftChalk Innovator Series to 380 professors from around the U.S.. Embedded in the presentation was a 23 page instructional handout in PDF, Epub, and PRC formats. I got quite a few compliments on this, and I guess I have you two, the Valencia Foundation, and the Maguire Family Teaching Endowed Chair to thank for it, so thanks.