THE FIRE IS RAGING: Battle lines are forming over whether Amazon's Kindle Fire is indeed the next big thing--at least in the classroom. First things first: with a retail price tag of $199 (less than half of the iPad's cost), the Fire puts considerably less strain on those with tight budgets (ahem, schools). Combined with Amazon's textbook rental program, this should make the Fire a compelling alternative to textbooks, as Kirsten Winkler explains. Even so, Audrey Watters worries about security issues associated with Fire's Silk browser and still-unresolved DRM issues that make it hard to move content from say, Fire to a Nook and back again. Blogger Michael Feldstein, however, finds more cause for optimism in how Amazon uses the cloud to improve browser performance, which can significantly improve connectivity for students on overcrowded campus networks. What's your take?