Five Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Dedicated eReader

I have been using eReaders for some time now and really enjoy the convenience and ease of use of these dedicated devices. In my travels to schools, I am beginning to see more and more schools pilot eReaders in the classroom, especially for students who struggle or who are unmotivated to read. Teachers see the value of students being able to change the size of the font and easy access to the dictionary feature. For many students who struggle in reading many are now more motivated to read on an eReader device as compared to a traditional book. Students can also peruse the Electronic Bookstore and of course with teacher permission download sample chapters from books to see if it will pique their curiosity to engage them in the reading process. But before you go out and purchase an eReader here are some questions you should think about:

1) Do I have access to WiFi in my school or building?

Many of the eReader's support WiFi as well as 3G which will enable you to download books directly to the device without the need to use a computer. If your school has a good WiFi infrastructure then you can save a considerable amount of money by buying the WiFi model of the eReader. For example the  Amazon Kindle Touch with WiFi is $99 dollars compared to the Amazon Touch WiFi/3G model which is $149  dollars. If your schools doesn't support WiFi then you should consider the Kindle Touch WiFi/3G model which would allow you to download books over the air using the 3G network. There is no extra data costs associated with using the Kindle Touch WiFi/3G model for downloading books to the devices.

2) How long can  I expect my dedicated eReader to stay charged?

Many of the dedicated eReaders that utilize E Ink technology can stay charged for long periods of time under normal use. The E Ink technology mirrors that of a traditional page and uses minimal battery life to render the black text on a white background. eReaders like the Kindle Touch and Nook that utilize E Ink technology can stay charged for up to 2 months- which is really incredible if you will be using in a school setting. eReaders that utilize E Ink technology assume that you will be reading the book with a lot of ambient light available.

3) Where can I purchase my books?

All of the major re-sellers of eReaders like Amazon, Bares & Noble, & Kobo provide the user with one stop shopping in their online book store. The online bookstore can be accessed from the devices and books can be quickly downloaded to the devices over WiFi or the 3G network. If you are purchasing books for a school you should investigate getting a corporate or school account with the companies so that you can purchase books with a school Purchase Order

4) Can I read other materials beside books on the dedicated eReader?

In addition to books many of the eReaders also support reading magazines, newspapers, blogs as well as your own personal documents in various formats ie. PDF & Word. When you purchase an Amazon Kindle you are provided with unique email address that you can send Word or PDF documents to, which can be delivered to your Kindle over the WiFi network. This feature is handy for students who want to read their documents on their eReaders

5) How important is having audio and Text to Speech capabilities on my eReader?

While eReaders are great for reading books some eReaders like the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch also support playing audio books from as well as reading text on the screen if the Text to Speech capabilities have been enabled by the book publisher. For students with reading disabilities or for those who struggle to read having the text to speech capabilities is a great feature.Likewise, being able to listen to a professionally narrated book from Audible can be very motivating for students who need to reengage with text.

I hope these questions and answers have provided you with some food for thought when you are planning to purchase eReaders. If you have any questions about eReaders, please feel free to email me. If you are interested I am available to run workshops on using eReaders in the classroom.

Waiting for Kindle Fire to Land

When Amazon announced the Kindle Fire in September, I quickly pre-ordered the device knowing that it would be a big seller. If all goes well I should have the Kindle Fire in had some time tomorrow so that I can share that experience with you. I have been using a Kindle for some time now and really enjoy reading on the device and look forward to experiencing reading on the Kindle Fire. Amazon relying on their Cloud Services has made it really easy to access my ebooks from the many devices that I use. As a company Amazon gets high grades from me for customer support and when my Kindle Reader arrives it will be registered and ready to use with my account. Amazon has done a marvelous job with the integration of their Whispernet network and I cam looking forward to a seamless experience with my Kindle Fire out of the box. More details in the coming days!

Great Sound from Jawbone Jambox

I ended the weekend at a soiree that my daughter was singing at which was a fund raiser for a local New York City Ballet Company and as luck would have it there was a Silent Auction included in the night's activities. As I scoped out the items, my eyes caught a shiny box with a Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker that I had read about in the tech blogs. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker have a retail value of $199 dollars and when the auction opened it started at $125 dollars which was a steal at that price. While I paid a little more for the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speakers when the auction closed- they are well worth it when I'm listening to my music from my iPohne 4S. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker includes some really interesting speech technology which lets you know when the speaker is in pairing mode. Pairing the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker with my iPhone was a cinch and the sound is really awesome. The speaker is extremely loud but the driving bass really sounds great listening to the Allman Brothers. The Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker comes with everything you need to use the system including a power adapter to charge the lithium battery, USB charging cable, mini- RCA jack and a carrying case. You can use the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker with any device that has Bluetooth or if you want you can use it as an external speaker with the included RCA jack by plugging it into any audio output. As I sit here writing this blog I'm relishing in the sound of my iPhone and the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speakers.

Just Released: IPad™: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs

I am happy to announce the release of my latest reference guide: 
IPad™: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs

The reference guide is 6 pages - three hole punched and laminated and is a great resource if you are just getting started or thinking about using the iPad in your classroom. Both authors are special educators as well as assistive technology specialist who designed the card for ease of use. The laminated reference guide is chock full of ideas and tips and tricks on how to best use the iPad in the classroom with recommendations for some of the leading apps for students with special needs.

The iPad™ is a revolutionary technology for use in our 21st century classrooms. It is profoundly changing both the manner in which teachers present instructional content, as well as the way students process and learn new information. The multi-sensory design of the iPad™ makes it an ideal tool for teaching students with special needs. This laminated reference guide provides valuable information on the use of the iPad™ in classroom settings to reach students with diverse learning styles and who have limited functional communication abilities. Proloquo2Go, iCommunicate and other types of applications (Apps) to enhance language development are presented in an easy-to-understand format. An ideal resource for teachers, speech therapists and other educators who work with students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), learning disabilities or other language-related challenges.

If you are interested in purchasing this laminated reference guide please email me for a quote. Volume pricing is available and school purchase orders are accepted.

To purchase:


Free Upcoming eSeminars - Adobe Captivate & eLearning Suite

Adobe’s series of free eSeminars on Adobe Captivate and eLearning Suite continues into November – this month’s featured sessions focus on publishing and packaging. Please note the next eSeminar, covering the Multi-SCO Packager, is tomorrow, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern.
Thursday, Nov. 10 – 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
Join Vish and Dr. Pooja Jaisingh to learn how to combine SWF and PDF from Captivate, Learning interactions SWF from Flash and Course Builder SCOs from Dreamweaver into a single course. You will also learn about using Learning Interactions in Flash and Course Builder in Dreamweaver.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
Join RJ Jacquez, Adobe eLearning Senior Product Evangelist, to learn how Adobe is helping advance Mobile Learning (mLearning) through various technologies, including Flash, HTML5 and native mobile apps.

MatchWare Launches MindView 4 Mac, Mind Mapping Software for OS X Lion

Today MatchWare ( announces the release of MindView 4 Mac, a professional mind mapping software ideal for optimizing brainstorming sessions, creating visually driven presentations and displaying project plans in an easy-to-overview timeline. Thomas Henriksen, MatchWare’s Product Manager, explains, “Our user feedback was very clear, Mac customers want a professional mind mapping tool to visually overview ideas and improve communication, collaboration and innovation. MindView 4 Mac provides the professional feature set to drive productivity through seamless integration with Microsoft Office and a cutting-edge presentation mode that ensures brainstorming, organizing and presenting ideas has never been easier.”

The enhanced Microsoft Office integration and ready-to-use templates enable users to effortlessly export their mind maps as professionally formatted Microsoft® Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. With 7 dynamic viewing options including a timeline, new map styles, and innovative presentation options, MindView 4 Mac continues to take mind mapping to the next level. Additional new features include a new formatting toolbar, the ability to record audio commentary as a sound note and attach the file to a mind map branch, open MindView 4 for PC files and the option to export a mind map as a PDF.

MindView 4 Mac’s new presentation mode displays information one branch at a time, enabling users to deliver dynamic, interactive presentations directly from the mind map. Focus mode empowers users to zoom-in on specific areas of the map, allowing participants a clear view of the specific information presented. MindView 4 Mac enables users to customize the placement of branch pictures; further enhancing the capability to provide clear, visual displays to improve the understanding of complex topics.
“I have tested MindView 4 Mac on OS X Lion and the new Presentation Mode and Focus Mode are extremely helpful when presenting my mind maps during meetings. I like the fact that the Focus Mode lets me zoom in automatically on branches in a non-linear way so people in the back of the room easily can see and contribute to brainstorming sessions,” says Frans Merrild, C.E.O of Tell-It Online.

MindView’s unique Timeline view delivers a powerful, visual overview to improve any project planning process and enhance the study of historical and future events. By adding dates or times to the mind map branches, users can simply switch to the Timeline view to instantly display information on a horizontal time axis.

MindView 4 dramatically improves the ability of professionals to capture and share information in one click from a mind map to Microsoft Office, a timeline, a PDF document or a HTML website. Mac users now have a professional productivity tool for turning ideas into action plans.
MindView 4 Mac is available for purchase at and the Mac App Store for the upgrade price of 149 USD or 249 USD for a single user license. For more information about MindView, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Contact us for multi-user and educational discounts.

About MindView
MatchWare MindView is professional mind mapping software that allows you to optimize brainstorming sessions and present ideas visually. MindView's mind mapping capabilities provide an effective way to organize and develop ideas, outline reports, and streamline decision making. MindView’s visual hierarchy and professionally designed export templates convert your mind map into a polished presentation with the click of a mouse. Brainstorm topics, storyboard presentations and enhance meeting discussions. Attach pictures and videos, take notes or add hyperlinks – everything will be included in your export.

About MatchWare
Founded in 1992, MatchWare is a leader in intuitive Mind Mapping and multimedia authoring tools for enhancing individuals’ ability to create, visualize, manage and distribute information. The company’s award-winning software packages, MindView, Mediator, and ScreenCorder, offer highly intuitive user interfaces and powerful features at affordable prices. Headquartered in Denmark, MatchWare has subsidiaries in the UK, the USA, Germany, France and Sweden.
  • MatchWare, MindView, MatchWare Mediator, MatchWare ScreenCorder are trademarks or registered trademarks of MatchWare A/S. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used in this document are the property of their respective companies.