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Amazon's Whispercast simplifies Kindle use in office, school

October 18, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • A student uses a Kindle DX during class at Pace University in New York.
A student uses a Kindle DX during class at Pace University in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo )

A free Amazon.com service that makes content-sharing easier on multiple Kindles could bring students one step closer to shedding their heavy backpacks.

Called Whispercast, the service creates a single point to purchase and distribute Kindle e-books to students and office workers with wireless Internet connection. Amazon announced the launch Wednesday.

A teacher or administrator can register students to the classroom’s Kindles, sort them into groups by subject or grade level, then distribute readings accordingly. The system will give teachers access to millions of Kindle books, including bestsellers and free classics for all ages of students that can be distributed throught the network.

Additional management features include the ability to block the device’s factory reset option – and that’s key, if the equipment is going home in someone’s little hands every night.  

There’s also a nod to the teachers (OK, that’d be most teachers) who worry about students cruising Facebook during class: the Kindle administrator can block devices in the group from accessing the Internet, including Facebook and Twitter.

Some early adopters have already put Kindles in school. Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Fla., has had Kindles in its classrooms for two years. The program began with 2,000 devices and has spread to more than 100 schools in the district.

“Honestly, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to any type of school that I’ve been to,” one student says in a promotional video.

The video shows off other features of the device: a dictionary that’s linked to the text, downloadable newspapers and bigger text that makes dauntingly thick books seem easier to tackle.  

In the workplace, Whispercast can distribute business documents to employees or even customers, sorted by department, job level, seniority or any other category, Amazon.com said.

Whispercast will be available on Kindles and free Kindle reading applications for phones, personal computers and laptops.

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