Taking Amazon into the classroom
Based on feedback from friends and personal experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Apple iPad really isn’t sticky for adults.
“I loved it at first, but now it’s just sitting around.”
A sentiment they don’t succumb to once, but repeatedly over and over again. They buy generation after generation of iPads thinking something will change, but it never does. At worst, their iPads become paperweights. At best, they hand them down to their kids.
If the latter, they basically handed down $329-$799 devices so their kids could watch videos or play basic games.
Wouldn’t it have been better if they just spent $50-$75 on Kindle Fires? In the case where they have several kids, they could have literally bought 4 Kindle Fires for the price of one Apple iPad. I’ve seen kids use these tablets; they’re not jaded by the “Apple design” concept. They get similar video and game experiences and enjoy it.
Which had me thinking…is there an opportunity here to extend Amazon’s flywheel?
Imagine a program called Amazon Academics
For $129 a year, a student would get:
- A Kindle Fire
- Access to E-books unlimited (for their age/grade)
- A new pack of supplies (think pens and paper) per month
- First shipment comes with school essentials (backpack, binders, etc)
If you wanted to opt-into a monthly paid program for student lunches (as part of an Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods pick up program) you could do that, too.
In the past, you’d think a program like this is crazy. But what we’ve learned from Amazon is that they really believe in Customer Obsession, and if they think there’s an opportunity, they’ll give it a shot.
Which makes me wonder…perhaps I’m not thinking big enough.
Imagine if a school was Amazon Academic certified, or at the very least, certain classrooms were. In these classrooms, every student was required to pay for the Amazon Academic program.
But Romy, that’s ridiculous. It’s too much money!
Listen. I remember how much a TI-82 calculator was, let alone a TI-85 or TI-86. I remember because I struggled finding the courage to ask my parents to purchase me one. Once I finally got a TI-82, I realized wealthy kids were using TI-85s with programs giving them an unfair advantage. At least with Amazon Academics, every kid has the same device thereby leveling the playing field.
Sorry, bad flashbacks…moving on.
Here’s the kicker. Each Kindle comes with software tailored to that teacher’s/grade curriculum. In fact, the students have software that they can unlock on their Kindle Fire, and the teacher has the “administrative” versions of said software.
So you can imagine a 5th grader whose assignment is to write a book report.
This is 2017. A kid should be able to annotate thoughts per page/chapter/book, and the teacher should be able to read and grade inline, all using software. The good news is that Amazon has access to books making this idea rather achievable.
Echo Dots could play a role too. How neat would it be as a child to have an Echo in your room that could read off books, teacher notes, or even lectures?
Older students could get more advanced material, like software that teaches them to code. Maybe even Kindle Fire versions of Osmo to enable hands on learning.
Once Amazon has built a relationship with the school, they can help the school in other ways. There’s the obvious “sell supplies at cheap” angle. But how about food? Amazon Fresh could be used to provide healthy eats in the cafeteria. That in turn increases business for local farms. At scale, this could be an agricultural revolution — farm and local businesses grow, employment increases, distribution of healthy foods become less and less expensive.
All the major companies are trying to find ways to earn trust from the upcoming youth. While you have players like Facebook trying to attract engagement from the next generation, Amazon Academics effectively does this without trying; it’s inherent in the program, no gaming mechanics needed.
Could any of this be a thing? I don’t know. But with a child that just joined Kindergarten, one could dream…