Using Tech To Connect with Your Kids – Amazon Kindle Freetime

Amazon Kindle Freetime

Amazon Kindle Freetime

Technology is often referred to as an automated parent in this day and age of kids with tablets and parents using them as tools to keep their kids occupied.  I admit-tingly have done this with my 2.5 year old especially after a tough day or week of travel at work.  Never the less, I recently purchased an Amazon Kindle HDX 7 Inch and recently worked with the Kids application that it ships with called “Kindle Freetime”.  This blog summarizes the top reasons why this device and application will help you to better connect with your kids.

What is it?

Kindle FreeTime Unlimited is an App that ships with the new Amazon Kindle HDX tablets.  It is the first-ever all-in-one subscription that brings together all the types of content that kids and parents love – books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows. With unlimited access to thousands of hand-picked titles for kids ages 3-8, parents don’t have to spend time (and money) guessing what their kids will enjoy, and kids can explore a world of age-appropriate content on their own – no ads, no in-app purchases.

How can you use it to connect and interact with your kids?

1)  You can read books to them – I found myself in the dark laying down in the bed with my son reading him a book at night from some of his favorite characters.  The impact was that he enjoyed the stories, he asked questions, and answered the questions these books presented.  Upon completing a 10 minute read of the book, he was ready to sleep.

2)  Educational Apps & Interactive Games – For a $1.99 per month subscription, you and your child can team up to play interactive educational apps.  Since your not searching a vast world of apps like on Apple or Androids store, the Amazon Free time experience gives you thousands of curated app titles that you can be sure are educational in nature.

3)  Set time Limits & Offer Kids Incentive – The tablet has great security features for parents where you can set time limits for usage, and reward them for more usage of the tablet if perhaps they clean their room.  There are tons of creative ways to align your kids behavior or chores with use of the tablet.  The app is also password protected so that when you enter it, or when time expires a password dialogue is presented.

4)  Amazon Prime Downloadable Content – This one is the not so interactive option, but with a subscription to Amazon Prime and a Kindle HDX you can download hundreds of kids TV shows and videos offline without paying.  I travel with my son at least 2 times a year, and often go on road trips with him.  The ability to view kids content offline without paying has already paid off the cost of the kindle device.

Jeff Bezos introduces Kindle Freetime

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates contributing tutorials to Education

Great news today where Billionaires step in to teach kids to code. Bill Gates and Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg will be teaching kids how to code this year. A great example of how important it is for even the richest people to give back and embrace tomorrows generation of engineers and entrepreneurs.

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates contributing tutorials to education initiative | The Verge.

CodeMontana.Org Encourages Montana Students to Code


I am delighted to announce another positive initiative to teach kids how to code. This one is founded by 2 Entrepreneurs I know personally and have worked with in my technology career. The initiative is called CodeMontana.Org. Founded by entrepreneurs Greg Gianforte and Rob Irizarry, CodeMontana encourages high school students to learn computer programming and pursue computer science degrees in the state of Montana. The program is open to all high school students throughout Montana and there is no entrance fee.

Participants will compete for up to $10,000 worth of prizes, and enroll in online self learning computer courses that you can access at CodeMontana.Org. The goal of the program is to introduce 1,000 Montana students to computer science by enrolling online.  I had the chance to catch up with the founders, and here are a couple of things they noted around the inspiration behind their non profit company.


Greg Gianforte

“We are just not graduating enough computer scientists in Montana,” said Greg Gianforte. “Montana State University and University of Montana combined graduated just 37 students in computer science this past spring for an estimated 400 available jobs statewide. Starting salaries for computer science graduates in Montana range from $45K to $85K. That is a great Montana wage.”





Rob Irizarry

“Montana’s opportunity to participate in the high tech economy is unlimited if we provide our young people with education in computer science,” said Rob Irizarry. The reality is that not enough high schools students are enrolling in computer science programs in college, so CodeMontana brings high school students from across the state to introduce them to the exciting and important world of computer software development.”


Great inspiration from two of the best entrepreneurs I know. Make sure you spread the word and follow this initiative.

Greg Gianforte founded RightNow Technologies and sold the company to technology giant Oracle. He is founder of Bozeman Technology Incubator. A company that helps Montana entrepreneurs.

Rob Irizarry has worked for over a decade at RightNow technologies, and founded Startup Bozeman. An online resource and community for Montana entrepreneurs.

Staging Changes Introduces Virtual Training To Teach Kids to Code



Do you have a desire to teach your kids how to write computer software at the convenience of your own home? Staging Changes now introduces Live Virtual Training classes for parents who want to teach their kids how to code at the convenience of your own home. All that is required is a Computer, and Internet Access. We recommend a web cam for a more interactive and collaborative classroom experience with other kids.

How it works?

  • Your kids use a Browser, to access video and a Web Conferencing experience that enables a virtual class environment.
  • Signup on the StagingChanges.Org website.
  • Details about your next class and instructions will be emailed to you.

What will your child learn?

  • This class will teach your child how to build their own Raspberry Pi computer and tech your child the basic components to a computer including and not limited to installing an Operating system, Assembling the Circuit Board, Applying a Case, Connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor. Upon building the PC, your child will learn to boot the computer, connect to the internet and begin learning basic programming using the device.
  • We will also introduce your child to Scratch (programming language). With Scratch, your child will learn to program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. They will also learn the concepts of programming using Video Games, and Visual Animation.
  • Upon completing their initial lab work and exercises, kids will then get to open up actual video games and modify the code and tailor it to their liking.

What is the cost?

  • There is a small administrative fee of $30 once you have confirmed interest in the program.  This goes towards continuing the program and software used to manage the training room.

How do I sign up?

If you think that your child will benefit from this course, Enroll Now by filling out the form below:


Kids Beginning to Play their Modified Video Games

Special Education School Invests in Technology


This is great news to hear.  Dr. Franklin Perkins School, a special education institution, is one of the schools that is now utilizing the iPad in the classroom.

The Director of Education for the school, David Cook, offered some insight.

“We took out a loan with the understanding that we will have fundraising efforts and, hopefully, grant opportunities, to pay back with this endeavor,” said Cook.

Teachers say that the iPad can be helpful for tailoring each student’s assignments based on their needs. Even though this is additional work for the teachers, Cook says it’s worth it see the positive impact the technology has on the children’s education.

Source: NECN

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