Amazon eyes yet another industry: education

(Image: Shutterstock)

(CNN) — Amazon has already disrupted traditional retail and its recent acquisition of Whole Foods suggests it could change the way we grocery shop, too.

But following in the footsteps of other tech giants like Google and Apple, the company is also quietly coming for the classroom.

Amazon on Wednesday announced a new tool for teachers that helps design a writing curriculum for elementary students.

The tool, called TenMarks writing, is aimed at fourth to sixth graders for now and hopes to roll it out to older students soon. It includes short writing exercises, teacher resources like lesson plans and assignments, and a digital assistant that personalizes feedback to individual students. It’ll help them write a paper and gives suggestions, like flagging when they’ve used the same word a few times.

Related Content: Amazon takes on the corner store with Instant Pickup

The curriculum, which costs $4 per student for a year, has already been tested in several classrooms in the U.S. over the past year.

Amazon acquired TenMarks, an online education company focused on math, in 2013. The company’s other educational offerings include Amazon Inspire, which has free resources for teachers and educators such as lesson plans and worksheets.

The move is the latest effort from a big tech company to get into the education space. In 2016, U.S. sales of mobile PCs and tables purchased for kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms rose 18% to 12.6 million units, according to Futuresource Consulting. Google Chromebooks accounted for 58% of those sales last year and continues to lead the market.

Apple’s new $329 iPad was also a hit in education during the second quarter of this year.

“Apple came back with a vengeance in the second quarter, shipping nearly 1 million units into kindergarten through 12th grade, while Chrome stalled a bit,” said Linn Huang, research director at market intelligence firm IDC.

Related Content: Amazon, in sign of growth, holds job fair for US warehouses

Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled a new and cheaper Surface laptop and a special version of Windows 10 for students.

“Devices like laptops or tablets are a large and clear market for tech companies because any school-based technology needs a hardware platform to operate,” said Thomas Arnett, senior researcher at the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank.

“However, learning software and platforms for accessing online materials are the technologies that are going to really transform education,” he said.
But the challenge is getting those technologies right and understanding teachers’ needs.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s