Kindle gets sounds and vision…

June 28, 2010

Amazon have announced that certain Kindle titles will now have embedded video and audio.

However to enjoy these new “multimedia ebooks” you will need to view them on the iPhone, iPod touch or the iPad using the Kindle iOS4 App. today announced a new update to Kindle for iPad and Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch, which allows readers to enjoy the benefits of embedded video and audio clips in Kindle books. The first books to take advantage of this new technology, including Rick Steves’ London by Rick Steves and Together We Cannot Fail by Terry Golway, are available in the Kindle Store at

Though Together We Cannot Fail is not actually available to buy for customers from the UK!

Probably not obvious to most, these titles with embedded audio and video, though can be read on the Kindle device, will not play the audio and video.

This does beg the question, does Amazon believe that the future of Kindle titles is on the iOS4 platform, on the iPad and the iPhone? Or will we see a more enhanced Kindle in the future that can play the embedded audio and video in these new titles?

Amazon have recently reduced the price of the Kindle, this may be an indication of either of those two points of view.

We will have to wait and see.

“VLEs are crap”

June 28, 2010

If you work with a VLE and with staff and managers, you may have come across a comment similar to the title of this blog entry, “VLEs are crap”. This comment was quoted on a mailing list I belong to. Going to events I often hear these comments (and even occasionally back at college); they may go onto to talk about very negatively about the VLE. They talk about how learners like wizzy Web 2.0 tools and services like Facebook and YouTube. How they are all digital natives (I know), are part of the Google generation; so the VLE is old, clunky and not for today’s learners…

This view is not that unusual.

The thing is don’t compare the VLE with what you would like it to be, compare it to not having a VLE. The VLE isn’t trying to be perfect, it’s about providing an online or virtual environment that can be used for learning. Yes it can be better, and VLEs have improved over the years, but it isn’t perfection and in life nothing is perfect.

So how do I respond to negativity?

I sometimes use the following…

Educational text books are “rubbish”, students are accustomed to high quality Dorling Kindersley books full of colour pictures.

Educational journals are “a waste of time”, students are accustomed to high quality magazine like FHM, Maxim, Bliss, Closer and Heat; they’re full of colour photographs and bright text.

Educational spaces (ie colleges) are “horrible”, students are accustomed to smelly dark dank rooms that are never tidy… oh wait…

Improved VLE resources at Weston College

June 28, 2010

Last week I reflected on the JISC RSC SW Annual Conference and discussed Vicky Weavers’ session on VLE standards. As part of her presentation she showed a video clip showing interviews with staff and learners on the impact the improved use of the VLE was having.

Here is the whole video which has interviews with the A’Level History lecturer and learners on the impact of the improved VLE resources.