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The Kindle Fire: a revolution for special educational needs?

The Kindle Fire: a revolution for special educational needs?

New Kindle Fire Tablet

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.

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