Ask anyone running the marketing dept of an ed-tech company and they'll tell you that technology is going to fix every problem we currently face in public education. Never mind that past technology solutions caused more problems than they fixed, the new panacea will fix that too!
This same song-and-dance has been spouted by technologists ever since Edison claimed that films would make textbooks obsolete (I kid you not), and Today's performance is being staged by Newscorp.
Joel Klein, the head of Newscorp's educational division, unveiled the Amplify tablet today. This 10" Android tablet is the focal point of a new educational platform whose goal is to move more money from the $500 billion K-12 education sector and put it in Newscorp's pockets.
And I'm sure that Amplify will accomplish that goal. In addition to the tablet, Amplify also sells a suite of educational tools that they believe teachers can use to improve student performance, monitor their successes, and turn everyone into an above-average student.
The software includes all the basic learning material that teachers need to dole out information on any given subject: Google Apps for Education, audio, video, games, online textbooks, multimedia lessons, reference books, a graphing calculator, and more.
The content is all reportedly aligned with the new Common Core educational standards that school districts across the US are currently working to adopt, and it even includes the highly popular Youtube-based lectures by Khan Academy , which coincidentally are now available in an iPad app.
Amplify has been testing the tablet in schools since October 2012, and they have refined both the hardware as well as the sales pitch.
The Amplify tablet is going to cost $299 and require a $99 a year subscription to access the content. There's also going to be a 4G version, the Amplify Tablet Plus, which will cost $349 and require an additional $189 a year for the data plan.
In a way, this really comes as no surprise. Apple has led the way in getting tablets adopted in schools, with over 8 million iPads sold to schools since Apple launched the tablet in 2010. Apple's other educational initiatives, including iBooks Author, have seen similar success with Apple reporting that iTunes U having hit 1 billion downloads earlier this week.
image by flickingerbrad