Nook App Love

I guess I cannot let an announcement about the Barnes & Noble Nook eReaders go by without saying something. No, I am not getting another Nook or at least not anytime soon. For many the Nook Color and new Nook Tablet can be considered the "Poor Man's or Woman's Tablet" because they are cheaper ($199 and $249 respectively) than any other Android Tablet. I am not going to discuss the Kindle Fire yet because it just came out and time will tell if it can hold its own against the Nooks. Also, there are not that many apps for the Kindle Fire yet. The iPad is in a class all by itself.

'Nook Color' photo (c) 2011, Kevin Jarrett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Earlier today I was going through the apps available for my wife's Nook Color just to see how things have grown. You still won't get as many apps as you would from the Android Market Place or Amazon App Store but the selection has grown. There were some apps I saw that impressed me as well. These are apps that could serve a teacher looking to break free from the front of the class. I have mentioned some of these apps in other blog posts but they are worth mentioning again because being available for the Nook Color and Tablet surprised me. 

  • Evernote: The app I probably use most of the time outside of social networking. I am always jotting down notes and sometimes inserting pictures. This can be from articles I see online to things I may want to purchase later, to capturing thoughts rattling around my head. The thing that makes Evernote stand out is it syncs to all other versions of Evernote. Given Evernote's philosophy I should not be surprised it is on the Nooks.
  • Splashtop: This was a real shocker. It never occurred to me to use a Nook Color to wirelessly mirror what was on a computer. The screen size of the Nooks may make controlling a computer on the devices a challenge but it should work.
  • Quickoffice Pro: For those who need to draft a document, start or edit a PowerPoint, or crunch a few numbers this is your app. It has been available for Nook for awhile but as I am using other tablets the importance of this app on Nook is significant. The ability to connect to cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Docs is a huge advantage.
  • Dropbox: Another app that surprised me but it should not. When I draft a document on a tablet then cloud storage is a must. Dropbox makes the storage and, more importantly, the sharing of files very easy. I would hate to think about how to get a document from the Nook to other computers without it.
  • Skitch: This app allows you to annotate pictures and screen shots. I am not sure how this would work on a Nook but if it does then it should be a useful app.
  • Drop2sync: This app allows you to sync different types of files to your Nook. Works with Dropbox and Box.net.

There are other apps that I may not have mentioned that could help teachers break the chains that bind them to the front of their classrooms. Also, I would like to see Edmodo port an App for the Nook. At least one does not have to look on with envy at another teacher with a more expensive tablet computer to get the some functionality.

Nook Color Tablet?

Just a little while ago I recieved an email from Barnes and Noble saying the long awaited Nook Color App store is now ready. This is what I had been waiting for because it now unleashes some of the Android operating system on the Nook Color to give a tablet experience. I went over the the Nook Apps site to see what was in the initial offering. As to be expected, the offerings are rather slim but there are a few apps teachers should look at if they have the Nook Color or thinking about one. Here are some of the apps that caught my attention:

Learn

Word of the Day (Free): Could be a way to review vocabulary or pickout those great SAT words.

Study Droid ($2): Allows users to create flash cards on the web and study anywhere.

Miss Spell's Class ($1.99): another way to learn vocabulary from Dictionary.com.

Dictionary.com ($2.99): handy dictionary app never hurt anyone.

Math ($1.99): Basic math tutor.

Organize

Fliq Calendar and Fliq Notes (Free)

Quickoffice Pro (Unknown): Allows users to create and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the go.

Goodreads (Free): Possibly a great way to get kids to read. Users can keep track of what they read, give recommendations for books, form small book clubs, and more.

My6Sense (Free): Allows users to read their RSS and Social Media feeds on the go. Could be good for picking out those blogs and tweets that are valuable to class.

Explore

GoBeeChallenge (Free): Surprised this offering was not located in the learn section but looks like a great way to learn geography from the National Geographic.

Pulse News Reader (Free): Another blog reader which has a limit on the number of blogs one can subscribe to.

Kids

Drawing Pad ($1.99)

Tikatok (Free) Barnes and Noble is trying to hook budding young authors with their free app that allows kids to create and share books they create.

Matching Zoo ($1.99), My First Zoo ($.99), Animal Show ($1.99): Looks like some Nook Color App developers have a soft spot for animals. Should be good to teach students about the other creatures that inhabit the Earth with us.

Tap To Talk (Free): This could help ESOL and students learning to read.

There are other offerings such as language tutors available as well. If you did not see something you like, you could get the developer's kit and start programming your own apps. The Nook Color should give developers with an interest in education an interesting challenge to create apps that tap into the reader's abilities. I could see some interesting apps that could help students read better in the future. In the meantime enjoy Angry Birds.

A Three-Nook Family

Nook Colorphoto © 2010 þä½ | more info (via: Wylio)
I have to say Santa was good to my family this year. I got my usual coal but with gas prices being what they are my annual present could be valuable. The only odd thing is that for the first time in family history both my wife and son wanted the same thing for Christmas: the Nook Color. Now I have been an original Nook user since February and I love it. However, the other two members of my family always turned their noses up whenever I asked them if they would like a Nook for themselves. Guess they were waiting for something better to come along like the iPad.

The latest Nook adventure started when my wife asked for an iPad. She belived a tablet would help her as she surfed the Internet and check-in Facebook more often (something her family and friends have been on her case about). I asked her what she exactly wanted to do with a tablet. "Surf the Internet and read books" she replied. I told her there was another device we should look at, the Nook Color. When we went to our local Barnes & Noble a sales person gave my spouse a demonstration of Barnes & Nobles' latest e-Reader and what it could do. After the demonstration my wife turns to me and says I want one. Now! We make the purchase and go home.

When we arrive our son asks to look at the new reader. He had seen one before and knew what it could do. He ran off with it to his room. A couple if days later I asked my wife how she liked her Nook Color. "I love it, if I ever get my hands on it" she told me. Apparently a struggle over who got to use the new device developed between mother and son.

A few days before Christmas my son issued his latest Christmas wish list. At the top was a Nook Color. Arrangements were made with Santa for a Christmas Eve delivery. My son likes to have his Nook Color close by in case he needs to look something up quickly while doing homework or so he says. My wife finds the reading experience enjoyable. As for me, I am enjoying peace back in our house. We are all eagerly awaiting to see how Barnes & Noble will develop their new device in the coming year. Perhaps we will become a three-Nook Color family in the future.