Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Amplify’ group unveils Android-based tablet for U.S. schools

“A new tablet for schools has been unveiled by Rupert Murdoch’s education group Amplify, reigniting the debate about how children will learn in future. The $299 (£198) Android device includes learning programs for pupils as well as tools for teachers, allowing them to monitor progress and attendance,” BBC News reports. “The preloaded software includes content such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica… A slightly more expensive tablet with access to 4G – costing $349 – has been designed for children working from home. The preloaded curriculum will cost $99 for a two-year subscription”

“‘Everyone wants to offer proprietary software that will lock education into their system and that just isn’t going to happen,’ said Prof Stephen Heppell, a digital education expert at Bournemouth University. ‘The rhetoric in schools now is about bringing your own device. If you have a child with a cutting-edge iPad why say, ‘You can’t bring that, you have to use this under-powered device we provide’? It is as daft as having identical haircuts,'” The Beeb reports. “For him the real reason to replace textbooks with tablets in the classroom is that such devices can be used to create, rather than just consume, content.”

The Beeb reports, “‘I’ve seen really young kids shooting and editing movies in a way that five years ago would have got them a GCSE,’ he said. In the UK, the Essa Academy in Bolton has already taken the radical decision to provide all pupils and teachers with iPads.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The 10-inch device will run on Google Inc.’s Android software and use Wi-Fi to provide children with a personalized learning service, New York-based Amplify said in a statement. The company is showcasing the tablet today at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas,” Nick Turner reports for Bloomberg. “The device represents a new revenue source for News Corp. (NWSA), as well as a bid to challenge Apple Inc.’s dominance in tablets and educational technology.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iBooks Author means Apple’s iPad/iPad mini will be at the head of the class, not some random Android piece of crap.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “David Fewster” for the heads up.]

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With iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, Apple bids to own publishing’s future – January 19, 2012
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  1. In typical Murdoch fashion, there is a subscription charge.

    It’s pretty obvious that there will be some schools that will be only too pleased to put money into Murdoch’s coffers, but I hope that most have more sense and adopt iPads instead.

  2. Says it all..

    “The device represents a new revenue source for News Corp. (NWSA), as well as a bid to challenge Apple Inc.’s dominance in tablets and educational technology.”

    Get a government contract.. and ride it as long as possible.

    Alternatively, the iPad has to work.. and work well.. because people buy what works.

    You can also repurpose/resell an iPad.. cause it isnt proprietary or locked down.. its only locked down when you want it to be, and you dont need an army to manage them. Pay one kid in an internship to deploy images.. or just profiles… and you are done.

    Some dumba$$ IT guy will think these are great and wast taxpayer money.. thats a guarantee. Poor kids.

  3. Just wondering if the educational content on these tablets will match the educational content of the News Corp news operations? You know, a far-right world view, buxom girls in bikinis on the third page of every textbook, and gossip on Page 6?

  4. Amplify has a very large team of curriculum and game designers working to provide a very comprehensive curriculum to schools. This effort has many millions of dollars behind it and the Wireless Generation assessment technology. Their offerings are likely to be unique, connected, and appealing to schools. I would also guess there will be iPad versions, but their own versions will likely be more robust in some way.

  5. “Rupert Murdoch’s education group ” pretty much says it all.

    Rupert (in it only for the money) does not want to pay Apple the 30 % so he is trying to sell his software on a locked single use Android tablet. However, given his position, I am sure that if he had created it on iAuthor, he could have talked Tim Cook into a sweetheart deal. However, Rupert is know for being super cheap to make maximum profits for himself.

    Anyone else have a guess as to why he would use a separate machine.
    Just a thought,

  6. That all being said… I would love Apple to move to this price structure for the mini. Start at $299 for the 16GB version & $349 for the 4G model. Psychologically, I like the $299 starting price. Yes, I know the mini is selling well, but In order to ratchet up the heat on crap android tablets like this one…

    1. What’s hilarious about your statement is that the parasitic ‘Apple Bears’ are all wetting their silk panties because Apple lowered their profit margin for the iPad Mini already. You can’t please everyone, obviously. 😆

  7. The prices of these tablets is on par with the Ipad mini and it has a subscription to be able to use the software. Ummm, huh? You don’t like the “lock in” experience with Apple, but you’ll gladly lock the suckers who by this with a subscritopn platform? DOA.

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