Amplify Tablet is an Android machine custombuilt for education

News Corp rebranded its educational unit as Amplify in July. Since then the Joel Klein-headed company has been working with AT&T to develop a tablet expressly designed for the K-12 educational market. After months of testing the Amplify Tablet, an unspecified 10-inch Android slate loaded with custom software, is ready for its official debut. Lots of things have changed since we first caught a glimpse of the project many months ago. For one, the UI has been completely redesigned to be clean, modern and simple. The new look is much more inline with Google's Holo, with extensive use of action overflow buttons, the sharing menu and solid blocks of color-coded material. The default home page offers a grid of app icons, but it also displays student information and lists "notebooks" on the right hands side. Those notebooks deliver quick access to different subjects for students, but they also give teachers direct links to materials for their classes, categorized not just by subject, but also by period. Klein and company don't stop at simple organizational tools and reference materials, however.

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Amplify Tablet

Amplify aims to be not just a tool but a platform for managing a 21st century classroom. Where past efforts to incorporate tablets into a K-12 environment have been satisfied with simple (and carefully controlled) social features and some reference materials, this actually offers features to teachers aimed at delivering instant feedback and differentiated instruction. Everything from taking attendance and blocking distracting apps, to polling students comprehension and pushing supplemental materials to those that need it can be managed from the educator's unit. There's also the ability to build custom lesson plans called Playlists, that can incorporate material from locally stored textbooks, pre-loaded Khan Academy videos and the internet.

The biggest stumbling block continues to be price. A WiFi-only Amplify Tablet will set schools back $299 apiece, so long as you agree to a two-year subscription to Amplify's services at $99 a year. (It's nice to see Klein has learned something from working closely with the carriers.) Prices climb even higher if schools wish to have LTE connectivity; an Amplify Tablet Plus will put a $349 dent in a school's budget and that's before factoring in the two-year mandatory subscription which includes AT&T service for $179 a year. Still, there's plenty of solid ideas at work here that we could see enjoying great success if they're incorporated into a more affordable product. For more, check out the video above as well as the PR below.

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Amplify Education Unveils First­of­Its Kind Tablet for the Classroom

Today at SXSWedu in Austin, Texas, Amplify Education unveiled the first open, tablet­based learning platform designed specifically for K­12 education. The platform, which runs on a 10­inch Android™ tablet made by world class manufacturers, offers states, districts and schools a one­to­one personalized learning solution that includes customer care, professional development and school­level device management.

"We want to transform the way teachers teach and students learn," said Amplify CEO Joel Klein. "Technology has revolutionized the world, but not the classroom. Our hope is that this tablet will help change that."

"This is more than just a tablet. It's a complete learning solution organized around the school day," said Stephen Smyth, President of Amplify's Access division. "We believe it's both more affordable and more impactful than just about any other product in the education technology market."

The Amplify Tablet offers states, districts and schools a Wi­Fi enabled one­to­one personalized learning solution at an introductory price of $299 for the device when purchased with a 2­year subscription at $99 per year. The subscription includes our exclusive software designed for teaching and learning, pre­loaded content and reference tools, customer care, professional development and school­level device management.

In addition to the Wi­Fi model, school districts can opt to provide students with the Amplify Tablet Plus, which includes a 4G data plan. The Amplify Tablet Plus is priced at an introductory offer of $349 for the device when purchased with a 2­year subscription at $179 per year. The subscription includes everything in the Amplify Tablet and 4G LTE connectivity, smart data management tools and more.

The Amplify Tablet and related services are being piloted this year in school districts across the country in collaboration with AT&T. Tablets purchased by June 30th will be ready for use in classrooms in time for the start of the 2013­2014 school year."Building a strong economy and a strong country starts with education. Right now our students are lagging behind the rest of the world, and we've got to work faster than ever to catch up. That will require both the best teachers and the best technology," Klein said.

About the Tablet

With the Amplify Tablet, students gain a mobile learning device that is organized around their in­school courses and out­of­school interests. For teachers, the tablet comes packed with a host of user­friendly instructional tools to help plan lessons, prepare quizzes, send assignments, share multimedia resources and easily manage all of their students' devices.

The Amplify Tablet is pre­loaded with basic reference content and tools including: Encyclopaedia Britannica Merriam­Webster Dictionary, Google Apps for Education, Desmos graphing calculator, EverFi's digital literacy curriculum, Project Noah science tools, Common Sense Media and education­specific tools that allow teachers and students to take advantage of millions of multimedia resources aligned to the Common Core Standards. The tablet's highly flexible, open platform can also easily integrate with both local and teacher­generated curricula.

In order to ensure that classrooms and schools have a successful tablet experience, each teacher and principal will be provided with high­quality professional development. They will also be provided with ongoing technical support by phone, email and live chat as well as pedagogical support from our help desk staffed by experienced former educators.

About the Company

Amplify is working to transform the way teachers teach and students learn. We are changing the realities of today's classroom experience by leading the way in data­driven instruction, breaking new ground in mobile learning and paving the way for the next generation of digital curriculum and assessment.

Our products and services are designed for tomorrow's promise and today's realities.

We've helped over 200,000 educators and three million students in all 50 states begin their digital transition through mobile assessment solutions, adaptive curricula, and tools that harness the power of data for classroom teachers. And that's only the beginning.

At Amplify, we're creating exciting new approaches to teaching and learning that are: as immersive as the best films; as compelling as the best video games; as social as the bestnetworking applications; as personal as the best tutors; and as analytically sophisticated as the best search engines.

Headquartered in New York City with more than 1,000 employees across the country, Amplify is led by a team of digital education experts and has provided industry­leading instructional tools, data analytics and assessment solutions to the K–12 market for more than a decade as Wireless Generation, now a part of Amplify Education, Inc.

To learn more about the Amplify Tablet please visit: http://amplify.com/tablet