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Amazon Inspire Carries Big Implications for Schools, and Ed-Tech Providers

Amazon Inspire’s launch late this summer will benefit teachers with free lesson plans and materials, but what does it mean for ed tech when it centralizes software, too?

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  • July 11, 2016


Last week Amazon announced its plan to launch Amazon Inspire, a one-stop shop for teachers in the hunt for free lesson plans, educational materials and ultimately educational software.

Of course, we at SmartyReader are excited about the implications.  Like Amazon.com, this new initiative centers on rankings, reviews, and a centralized database that will empower teachers with the knowledge and tools to make the appropriate edtech integration in their classrooms.

Why is this news HUGE—not just for teachers across the country, but for ed-tech startups like us?

  1. For ed-tech companies, aggregate rankings and reviews mean faster feedback and in turn more effective products and learning solutions. For teachers, the best products will surface to the top, just like those long-lasting whiteboard markers and erasers they couldn’t live without.
  2. Feedback also informs messaging. Even if your startup is poised to solve a major problem in education, no one will experience the groundbreaking service you offer without a message that hits home and motivates a purchase decision.  Positive reviews should be sliced and diced and treated as the gold standard for your marketing campaign.
  3. An umbrella marketplace will accelerate segmentation in services offered. With ed tech growing so rapidly, competitors surface, pivot and disappear at lightning pace. As my last article suggested, vastly different abilities among students necessitate some form of segmentation, meaning there’s plenty of room to grow, as long as we collectively address different aspects of education with precision and excellence.
  4. Synergies will appear, and bundling services will be a good idea. Consider the diversity of goods that make schools function on a daily basis on an administrative and organizational level.  Fortunately, schools don’t have to go to the desk store, the pencil store, the lunch tray table store, etc.  However, that’s how most edtech companies are trying to reach schools and school districts today, albeit through centralized communication platforms.  With Amazon Inspire, ed-tech startups will be able to more quickly identify compatible technologies and partner to offer a simplified suite of tools that combine to make teachers’ jobs easier and students’ academic experiences far more enriched.
  5. Others will follow suit. We spent months negotiating with the New York Times before we were able to convince their news syndicate to license their materials in a way that makes sense for education—as a modular subscription, instead of their more typical pay-to-print model. Amazon’s disruptive move, if successful, will do doubt encourage other players to think outside the box when it comes to education technology.


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