Terrence O’Brien on NewsCorp’s new tablet offering:
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.
Wow. Sounds just great. Is there anything in this vision that supports kids as learners rather than as consumers of a curriculum that teachers manage and deliver? Managing. Blocking. Pushing. Incorporating.
Good stuff. No really…I mean it. Can’t wait.
UPDATE: This description from USA Today might be even better:
What’s perhaps more significant, Amplify will give teachers the ability to both monitor and control what students do with the device. Teachers can conduct lessons with an entire class or small group and can instantly see what websites or lesson areas students are visiting. A teacher dashboard allows them to take instant polls, ask kids to “raise their hands” virtually and, if things get out of hand, redirect the entire class with an “Eyes on Teacher” button that instantly pushes the message out to every screen.