Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black Friday and the Digital Classroom

Several weeks ago I was fortunate to receive a requested PTA grant for $600 to purchase additional eReaders and eBooks to add to the 5 Nook Simple Touch eReaders we're using in my class. The check hasn't been cut yet, so I've had some time to think about whether I want to continue with the Nooks - which I like aesthetically and functionally - or whether to try some of the basic Kindles, with maybe a Kindle Fire thrown in just for the sake of having a classroom tablet.

Last year I received a Kindle Keyboard for Christmas - my first experience with an eReader - thanks to the great Black Friday sale Target had on these devices ($85). I wanted to play around with the WiFi and experimental free 3G included with this model, and it's been a good, solid, unflashy device - a good eReader that can access the web and send email in a very basic way, anywhere I have a phone signal, for free.

So I've been keeping an eye out for what kind of deals would pop up this Black Friday that would allow me to get the most bang for my buck. This week the ads "leaked" and there's a couple good ones I'll probably try to access. The best for my classroom is Target, who will have the Nook Simple Touch - the same device I already have in my class - for $49. They are also offering a $60 gift card for iPad purchases (NOT on the mini, unfortunately). As per usual, it doesn't look - at this point - like Apple will allow discounts on the iPad. But Walmart is also offering a gift card ($75) on 2nd gen iPad purchases. Take the card and cash it in for an iTunes card - that's a lot of bonus apps/music/movies.

If I decide to go with a Kindle Fire, it doesn't look like that will be discounted anywhere either, but OfficeMax is offering a $25 gift card with a purchase, so if I decide to go that route I'll do that. Unless Amazon offers a better deal, which is possible.

A couple other things I found. Best Buy will offer the Zagg Bluetooth Carbon Fiber iPad portfolio case for $69. I payed $99 for mine and it was worth every penny. They will also have the Rocketfish Stylus for $7.99.

Finally, I just got a tip from a friend that Groupon is offering a deal on the Nook Color for $75. This device was originally released 2 years ago, November 2010, for $249 and was well-reviewed. It was later reduced to $169. Last month it went to $139. Walmart will offer it Black Friday for $99. It's a tablet that runs an early version of Android. It does NOT have a camera, and is not Bluetooth-enabled. But apparently has Bluetooth capability on its WiFi chip - disabled by B&N. But there's a way to turn it on, which would be great for classroom use, enabling it to be used with a bluetooth keyboard and Google Drive as a mini-laptop. This Groupon is only available for the next couple of days, so if you're interested, get on it!

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