Amazon, which has been making a push into the education market, is expanding its efforts on that front. On Wednesday, (Aug. 23) it launched a new curriculum from TenMarks, the education company it acquired a few years back.
According to a report in TechCrunch TenMarks had focused on math lessons but is now offering an online curriculum for teachers to help students improve their writing skills. According to the report, the new curriculum includes a writing coach, resources for teachers and so-called bursts, which are short writing prompts. The burst can be used by teachers as practice or supplemental activities, noted the report. One of the key features of the new class is the Writing Coach digital assistant, reported TechCrunch. The digital assistant helps students through the process of writing longer pieces like essays and will provide tips on organizing an essay and choosing the words for it, among other things. The software, noted the report, will be a subscription, with teachers also able to purchase it on their own to use with their students. The software costs $8 per student each month when purchased as a bundle with the math curriculum.
“We’ve been talking to educators all over the country. What they’ve been telling us is that they’re looking for a creative way to teach writing in the classroom because they recognize that writing is such an important part of communication – it’s important for success, it’s important in school, in college, in careers,” Meera Vaidyanathan, director of curriculum products at Amazon Education, told TechCrunch as to why TenMarks expanded. In addition to TenMarks, Amazon also has Inspire, which is currently in beta testing and has K-12 curriculum resources that can be accessed digitally. Educators are able to peruse the library of content and download what they want to use.