Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Kindle for Medical Education

I've described the iPod Touch as the next great technology for medical education, but the Kindle is also a device with great potential.

We've recently implemented Kindle support for all our 20,000 educational resources at HMS.

Our integration on the Mycourses educational website enables any Word or PDF document to be delivered to the Kindle wirelessly. There is a cost which is clearly explained to the user (10 cents per document to Amazon). Those that don't want to pay the 10 cents can download documents to their PC and transfer the documents via USB cable. Once the user enters their Kindle account into the MyCourses Kindle setup page (accessible via our resources page or the GoMobile page), any resource which can be sent to the device has a little icon and label "My Kindle" which when clicked sends the resource to the Kindle. It does this by sending the document to the Amazon account via email attachment which then gets converted into Kindles's specific format and delivered to the device using Sprint's Whispernet.

HMS is the first Medical School to offer such a green alternative to all of their compatible resources to be downloaded directly to an eBook. At some point it would be nice to bypass the 10 cent fee with some utility that allows us to send to the device, but it's a reasonable cost when you consider that Sprint is giving Kindle users free internet.

We're rolling this out by giving a few students free Kindles to pilot the new Mycourses functionality.

I'll report back how it goes. Since we spend $50,000 a year on paper for printing course documents, I hope it is successful!
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