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Amazon Launches Whispercast for E-Book Deployment, Kindle Management
Amazon has unveiled a free online tool to help school districts manage their Kindle devices and deliver e-books and other content for reading programs.
Available now through the Kindle app, Whispercast allows teachers to send digital textbooks to designated groups of students who use a Kindle, iPad, Android phone, tablet, PC, or Mac. In addition, Whispercast provides central online management of Kindles at whispercast.amazon.com.
Features of Whispercast include:
- Creation of groups through which teachers can send e-books and documents. Examples of groups include classes and grade levels;
- Wireless, remote registration of Kindles with individual log-ins and passwords for each student;
- Tools to set up proxy settings, Wi-Fi, passwords, device restrictions, and more for all devices at once;
- Distribution of e-books to students by inputting the e-mail address and password for each student;
- Integration with the Kindle Store, through which schools can purchase content such as e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and view free e-books that are out of copyright; and
- Tools to block or allow social media integration and Internet access.
Whispercast also lets teachers upload PDF, .doc, and .docx documents, such as a course syllabus, to student accounts.
The free Kindle app allows students to include notes of their own alongside text, add bookmarks, highlight copy, and change font style, size, and line-spacing. It also includes text-to-speech, dictionary, and reference features.
According to Amazon, Whispercast will soon support schools' Bring Your Own Device programs by allowing schools to deliver network settings to students' devices. In addition, in the near future, schools will be able to deliver apps from the Amazon Appstore for Android to students' Whispercast accounts.
Whispercast is compatible with Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Paperwhite 3G, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7", Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Kindle Fire 8.9" 4G LTE, Kindle Keyboard 3G and the last generation of Kindle.
For more information, visit whispercast.amazon.com. Administrators can set up accounts for each student at whispercast.amazon.com/signup.
Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.