More online content! Amazon busts in..

Here we go again – another ‘company’ moving into the education arena to provide access to ‘content’ and/or house shared resources. This time it’s Amazon.

Amazon has unveiled it’s shiny new offering – an online education service for teachers called Amazon Inspire .

By introducing its new education site, Amazon joins other tech industry giants in an enormous push to expand the use of technology in public schools. It’s all about the market territory really, under the guise of support.  Aggregated repositories have been around for ‘like forever’ in the digital realm, and have come in many guises. But the biggest always have dollars attached to them for the providing company – creating brand allegiance. Or am I being too cynical?  Who knows.

In the school market, however, Amazon is competing not just with rival tech companies but also with established digital education companies and ed tech start-ups. A number of popular platforms already offer instructional materials for teachers. Among them are, a site based in London with more than eight million users worldwide, and, a site based in Manhattan that more than two million teachers use regularly.

The New York Times clearly explains:

Called Amazon Inspire, the education site has features that may seem familiar to frequent Amazon shoppers. Search bar at the top of the page? Check. User reviews? Check. Star ratings for each product? Check.

By starting out with a free resources service for teachers, Amazon is establishing a foothold that could expand into a one-stop shopping marketplace — not just for paid learning materials, but for schools’ wider academic and institutional software needs, said Tory Patterson, co-founder of Owl Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in ed tech start-ups. Amazon is joining other tech industry giants in a push to expand the use of technology in the public schools.

Even so, ed tech industry analysts said the growing market for digital educational materials, which Amazon is entering, is likely to prove much more valuable over time than the school computer market.

Already, nursery through high schools in the United States spend more than $8.3 billion annually on educational software and digital content, according to estimates from the Software and Information Industry Association, a trade group. That spending could grow significantly as school districts that now buy physical textbooks, assessment tests, professional development resources for teachers and administrative materials shift to digital systems.

Don’t worry  –  not on offer for Australia as yet, so no hard hitting decisions to be made (chortle).

They’re calling out to teachers and institutions to request early access.  But is there any content there already that Amazon has invested time/money – or is it just going to be a swap shop?

Forget it.  There are better places on offer!Explore

I’m quite sure that time, thought and quality people are needed. That’s why our own home-grown ABC Splash splash-logoprovides such a fabulous resource, with great stuff for teachers, as well as great resources and games for students.  Visit ABC SPLASH – don’t miss out on the gorgeous site managed by my inspiring colleague @AnnabelAstbury.


Image: flickr photo shared by mikekatzif under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

What matters more than your talents?

Inspiration and passion – that’s what we want to ignite in our students, isn’t it? I am not sure how often we succeed, especially when we are locked into rigid curriculum ‘must do’ topics by state syllabus directives.

But at the end of the day, talent must be nurtured and passion must be ignited and recognised for it’s true worth.

Thanks to an alert from one of my inspirational friends on Facebook – Buffy Gunter Hamilton of the inspirational The Unquiet Librarian – I was able to listen to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezoz,  address new Princeton graduates.

He makes the case that our character is reflected not in the gifts we’re endowed with at birth, but by the choices we make over the course of a lifetime. As founder and CEO of, Jeff Bezos defined online shopping and rewrote the rules of commerce, ushering in a new era in business. This is testament to his belief that talent and passionate choices go hand in hand!

Now I’m never going to ‘invent’ anything!  But Jeff ‘s address has inspired me to revisit my talents and look for new inspiration in my own professional goals, and to try and bring a little more inspiration into my daily teaching interactions with my students!

Become a Kindle author!

The Amazon Kindle is not just a device for reading paperless books and newspapers. It’s also an ecosystem for writers who want to publish their works without dealing with book publishers.

In a recent CNet report, I found out that authors worldwide can now  self-publish Kindle versions of their books or documents. The self-publishing digital text platform, which allows writers to upload electronic versions of their books to Amazon’s e-book reader store, was previously limited to English and to authors based in the United States.

There’s a cost of course, and only 35% of the sales revenue ends up in your pocket – plus Amazon reserves the right to sell your book at a discount. Ouch!

Blogs and newspapers can also be read on the Kindle, but as  yet there’s no self-service way for bloggers to put their work on the Amazon store. Just as well!

Still, an interesting development don’t you think?