- About Ira David Socol
- Freedom Stick and Firefox Accessibility
- The Change.Org Posts
- IdeaChat 11 February 2012
- Counting the Origins of Failure
- Technology: The Wrong Questions and the Right Questions
- Today's "School Reformers" vs Real Change for Education - I
- Today’s “School Reformers” vs Real Change for Education - II
- The Toolbelt and Universal Design - Education For Everyone
- "Evaluate that!" - Schools for Children
10 September 2006
They are way too expensive, and the available title is obviously geared to the "senior-citizen-fading-vision" crowd (not that there's anything wrong with that), but the idea proves that the age of Universal Design for "the medium formerly known as print" has arrived.
Playaway is a pre-loaded minimal iPod type thing that plays books, and is powered by a replaceable AA-battery. Right now there are only 121 titles, available on-line and from some Barnes&Noble, Borders, and OfficeMax stores and the cost starts at $35, but have no fear, this is technology that will catch on fast, and the prices are likely to fall to "Trade Paperback" levels ($14-$17 US) very soon.
Playaway allows you to set bookmarks, it allows you to control the speed, it can be plugged in to any external speaker unit (for example, your car stereo or home stereo) for family listening. It comes with earbuds but you can plug your favorite headset into it. They promise that the sound quality is "as good as any other audio book," which seems fine.
Every day we learn why we should stop beating up kids who struggle with reading - if it is not working for them, we should be teaching them how to access content in ways that do work. Playaway is one more example of why "print at all costs" school administrators are living in the last century, and need to start giving kids what they need for the future.
- Ira Socol