I need some advice.  I am trying to get a mobile device to use with my special education students in K,1,2 and 4th grades.  I need something that can access the web and use content on sites like Starfall.com and mangahigh.  I also want something that can be used as an ereader so I can load books for my kids to read in class.  Does anyone know what the capabilities are for the ipod touch, Nook or Kindle to cover these needs?  Ipad would probably be the best but price is an issue. 

Tags: devices, education, ereder, ipod, kindle, mobile, nook, special, touch

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I lean toward Apple products for one main reason, proxy support.

Our district, like many, run the school network through a proxy server to control the firewall (blocking sites, etc). Apple devices, such as the iPod and iPad, have the ability to configure the proxy setting of their connections.

The Kindle and Nook do not support custom proxy configurations. We were going to get Kindle Fires for our Library until we discovered they couldn't be configured to connect to the internet on our network.

If your district doesn't use a proxy set-up I think the Kindle Fire is pretty solid little device.

I prefer the ipad for use school I use it everyday with my second graders. It is user friendly and connects to the web very well. 

Have you used the ipod touch with kids?  I am leaning towards the kindle for the ereader aspect of it.  I know you can do that with the iPod but does the screen size make it hard to read.  I like that the iPod has Apple support and apps, good internet access and lots of options but the main focus of the device I need is to use as an eReader with internet access being secondary.  I have netbooks to access the internet. 

How do you get the books to the Kindle without the internet?

I am not overly familiar with the Kindle platform so I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression you did everything over WiFi, never tethering to a computer. That is the problem we ran in to, couldn't connect to our network to download books...

We have WiFI for the room.

I get that, but my point is if your wifi is managed by a central firewall you might not be able to connect the Kindle or Nook.

We have wifi in every classroom but they are all routed through a proxy server/firewall to filter content and the Nook/Kindle can't be configured to navigate proxy settings. Only iPads can be configured to access a wifi proxy.

Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard 3G, and kindle DX have free 3G service.
Even when the school's network is down, you can still download ebooks on to
these devices. 

I don't know if any Nook models have free 3G.

If the devices would be used solely for reading, a Kindle or Nook would be
sufficient.  There is no glare on the screen, and reading on these
devices doesn't hurt the eyes.  You can change the font faces and sizes, too.
Being able to look up for the definition of unknown words is a great
feature of ebooks/ereaders.  Good for English Language Learners.


My mom and dad have nooks and they love them they have internet books there easy to read and very user friendly. They connect with most networks anywhere! PRO NOOK!!

we have wifi for the room...

You didn't mention using the ipad but I feel this may be your best option. It has the capability of web access, downloading books, and many other great apps that can be used in your class.
The Nook Color will do everything everything that you are looking for. It has the capability of acccessing the internet, using apps, and of course the eReader. We have iTouches at our school, which are fine for the apps, but they are really hard to read a book off of because of the small screen size (even for the middle schoolers)

All the devices you have mentioned are great mobile devices for learning. And before you reject the iPad for the expense of initial purchase, I would encourage you to think about the overall use/cost advantages over time.  (And iPad 2s just came down $100. in price!) I'm beginning an iPad launch, with a goal of 1:1, but building the learning environment one iPad at a time. The apps are free, or relatively inexpensive, and the possibility of content creation is growing almost hourly as more and more apps are released. And as html5 use is expanding, flash becomes less of a concern. An iPad is not just a consumer device, although reading ebooks like a kindle or listening to podcasts and watching videos is certainly there. But I'm teaching my 3-4-5 students to create their own content, recommend books to friends, and create learning content for younger readers using the iPad. And of course the ability to touch and see a larger viewing screen should also wiegh into your decision.

Good luck, I know that all the devices you are considering have great potential for student learning!



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