Archive for September 2012
Kindle Fire for Special Education
The Kindle Fire Tablet comes to the UK
We have discussed the launch of the Kindle Fire in the past and how it can be used in a special educational environment. The newest incarnation of the top Amazon product has now been announced on the UK version of the site and is due to be released on October 25th 2012.
Amazon has brought their Kindle a long way from a simple eReading device. Now, it stands out amongst the competitors such as the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Kobo. Its product range is further advanced and their Kindle Fire HD Tablet is described as the most advanced tablet of its size. Kindles are for more than just readers now; they can help in many environments including the special educational needs classroom. What’s also encouraging is that they’re extremely affordable compared to other devices on the market such as the Apple iPad.
A Closer Look at the Kindle Fire for Special Education
The Kindle Fire has been the most popular item on Amazon.com for a long time and it has been further developed and brought to the UK. A small, handheld tablet device available for less than £150, the Kindle Fire
can be packed full of tons of apps and run all manner of games, educational support apps and more. The Fire is also easy to handle for users with disabilities which affect their dexterity and grip.
It incorporates a touch screen and Android operating system. It has been equipped with a new 1.2GHz processor to improve performance and incorporates all the qualities of an Amazon reading device, so you can access many books and stories and also a high-spec tablet device. The Amazon Kindle Fire is ideal for the special learning environment because of its affordability and quality. The price is fantastic for what you get and all users can benefit from different features within the device.
There is also the HD Version which is even further enhanced with Dolby sound and a choice of both 16GB and 32GB versions.
Apps for the Kindle Fire
The full range of apps available for the Kindle Fire in the UK is only accessible via the UK Amazon Appstore. However, we’ve been able to take a look a few currently available in the US and are sure similar options will be available through the UK store. Popular apps for the Kindle Fire for Special Education include:
TapToTalk : an innovative AAC app which promotes communication and learning
iStoryBooks : interactive audio story books, ideal for the bookworm of the class
Calm Counter : a behavioural management app for children with challenging behaviours and difficulty expressing their needs verbally.
Autism iHelp Series: a range of specifically designed apps for those with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Encouraging speech and learning in several categories including: Home, Animals and Food.
Please note, many of these apps are available for other tablets and via Android and Apple so we’re sure they’ll come to the UK Amazon Appstore too.
Amazon Fire in the UK
We can’t wait to enjoy all the apps on offer from Amazon.com and are sure users looking for an affordable tablet option will be considering the Kindle Fire for Special Education as a great value version of more expensive, higher-spec competitors. There are so many tablets on the market, it is clear there is a lot of choice but the Amazon Fire has already taken the US by storm, so maybe the UK is next?
Here’s a look at an original review of the Fire, before it was launched in the UK:
New Amazon Kindle Fire Launched in the UK
A Closer Look at Amazon’s Exciting New Product Range
We’re excited to announce that the new Kindle Fire Tablet has finally reached the UK, with its release date scheduled for next month. As the biggest selling product on Amazon.com, we’re sure it will be a huge success in the UK too and we’ve been waiting for its launch for a long time now. We initially discussed the Amazon Kindle Fire back in June and are now excited to see it here in the UK. Let’s take a look at the full range of new products from Amazon.
The original, most desired product. The highest seller on Amazon.com and soon to be the same in the UK we don’t doubt. With a brand new processor promising 40% faster performance than the original design, if you’re looking for high spec without the high price, this is definitely an option to consider. Amazon highlight the simplicity of use and portability as the highlights of the their original Fire and we have to agree but also rate it’s super value when compared to other leading products from Apple and Blackberry for example. It features an intuitive 7″ Touchscreen and a 1.2GHz processor.
If high spec is really important to you, the HD model is another top consideration. Available in 16GB and 32GB models, both for under £200, the HD features Dolby sound and super-fast Wi-Fi. Ideal for use in a learning or entertainment environment, games and apps can be accessed easily and enjoyed in the highest quality. It’s hard to believe Amazon are able to offer such high quality products at such an affordable price.
Kindle eReaders have taken the world by storm. Most people don’t even use the word eReader anymore; simply Kindle which shows their domination of the market place. The original design featured just keypad buttons but it has been developed and now has an integrated, intuitive touchscreen. Ideal for users with motor skills disabilities, the Kindle Touch responds efficiently to light touches and is also equipped with text-to-speech capabilities so it can read aloud to you.
We’re looking forward to the arrival of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD in the UK on 25th October and are sure you are too. If you have any doubts about the product at all, check out this review video:
In our next post we will be looking at the Kindle Fire for use in Special Education whether it will be an alternative to the ipad.
Have you heard of Steps Charity?
Steps Charity loans sensory toys to children of all ages and abilities. They have a postal lending library and also adapt toys by request for switch use.
Steps Charity is a registered UK organisation that believes that every day can be a play day for children with additional needs who cannot play independently. They work with mainstream toys to adapt them to individual children’s needs, creating uniquely designed toys perfect for your child. These toys are generally operated by an external switch that the Steps team personally develop to meet your child’s needs. For example, for a child with limited dexterity, they may create a switch that only needs to be lightly touched or perhaps one that can be blown or sucked.
The best thing about the work at Steps do is that they try to adapt any toy you want. If your child is a mad Rory the Racing Car fan, you can tell the Steps Charity the details of the toy you have in mind and they can find out whether it’s something that can actually adapt and then begin working for you, once you send them the toy of course. Steps are committed to focussing on what your child CAN DO and working with their skills to create a toy which they can fully enjoy and develop with. Every day can be play day with the help of Steps.
Sensory Toy Lending Library
As well as regular switches, Steps can provide special sensory switches which are known to be great for offering multi-sensory stimulation for children with PMLD and also children who have significant hearing or visual impairments. As the picture shows, these switches are extremely bright and tactile, with music, lights and vibrations. They are designed as sensory toys in their own right but can also be linked to a specific external toy and used separately when required. The technology involved really is special and is something that many children already have benefitted from.
Steps Charity has a Facebook page and they are always looks for membership support to back up their campaign because they believe that every child deserves play time and we agree. The Trabasack team have a personal debt to Steps Charity. The co-founder’s son, Joe, has Dravet Syndrome and PMLD and has benefited from many years membership of the library, he has enjoyed many different toys that have been adapted for switch use.
— @trabasack Duncan E. (@trabasack) September 6, 2012
The Kindle Fire: a revolution for special educational needs?
The much awaited Kindle Fire tablet has been on the market across the pond for awhile now and it’s astonishingly low price is potentially going to rock the tablet market. If the Kindle Fire can live up to its reviews and is as great as people say, for such an affordable price, then perhaps we’re a step closer to revolutionising the educational environments of children with additional needs.
Although there is no release date or price set for the UK Kindle Fire, it’s bound to happen eventually. In the US, the Kindle Fire is retailing at $199 which is under £150 and an absolute steal compared to other tablets on the market, most notably Apple favourites the iPad and iPad2.
We have previously discussed at length the value of tablet technology for enhancing and encouraging the learning of children with special educational needs and the use of the iPad in the classroom is becoming more widespread but because of its large cost, some children are still missing out. With the launch of the reasonably priced Kindle Fire, perhaps there’ll be a change across the board and classrooms will be able to provide tablet technology for every child who needs it?
Now the Kindle Fire boasts impressive specs. It is smaller than an iPad with a 7-inch colour display but it can access all the apps and technology you may require to educate and further enhance the learning for your child. It’s very light weight so easy to handle and is a very basic tablet design which could be perfect for the classroom. The Kindle Fire has been designed for media usage, not for communication so you can enjoy all the chosen media types you need.
Can the Kindle Fire deliver?
However, despite all the potential in this first generation Kindle Fire, it is missing many essential features which would make it ideal for the additional needs classroom. Over at Assistive Technology Blog they have discussed in depth the features that the Kindle Fire is missing which means it is unfortunately not accessibly designed. Most notably, it is missing both text-to-speech and Braille display support.
Amazon is a company who have the ability to produce high quality, fantastic devices but they seem to be missing a trick when it comes to providing items which are accessible to all. There is hope that eventually, their great quality products including the new Fire and their eReaders will be designed in a way which makes them suitable for use in the special educational needs classroom. The price tag is great but the functionality doesn’t add up.
Here’s a full video review of the Kindle Fire’s features:
POST UPDATED LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED We look at the UK launch of the Kindle fire in the next post.
UPDATED and our newest post is about using the Kindle fire for Special Education Apps.
- International Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day 2015
- Six Neck and Head Support Options for your Child
- Gripping Aids for Children
- Sensory Stories for Children and Teens – The Book!
- What to Pack for your Child’s Hospital Stay
- How to make your own Sensory Wall
- Homemade Mirror Cube Sensory Toy
- Join Trabasack and Active Hands at Kidz in the Middle
- Sensory Play at Naidex National 2014
- Festive Christmas Apps for Kids