Here’s Amazon’s Plan to Make Students Better Writers
Amazon wants to help students become better writers.
The retail giant debuted a writing curriculum and software tools on Wednesday for teachers to use with fourth through sixth graders. Eventually, Amazon plans to introduce something similar for seventh and eighth graders, but it did not say when it would be available.
The teaching tools are being sold by TenMarks, an online education company that Amazon bought in 2013 for an undisclosed amount. Previously, TenMarks only sold courses and software tools for teaching math.
The writing curriculum costs $4 dollars per student for a 12-month period. It includes advice for teachers about how to create lesson plans and how to grade and give students feedback.
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In one sixth grade lesson plan, for example, Amazon (AMZN) explains ways to teach students how to write argumentative essays, starting with basics like choosing topics and creating thesis statements.
The curriculum also includes a digital writing coach that is much like the spelling and grammar check in Microsoft (MSFT) Word. Amazon said the writing coach can “analyze each student’s work and delivers personalized feedback to help them think critically and refine organization, word choice, and more.”
Amazon said it tested its new writing curriculum with a handful of teachers before formally debuting it.
Besides providing school curriculum, Amazon also has created a tool for teachers to gather and share their own materials and course work, in addition to service that teachers can use to tell parents what school supplies their children will need.
Other huge tech companies like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) also sell education-related software tools. For example, Google Classroom is intended for teachers to use as a one-stop digital hub to share homework, assignments, and student grades.