by Peter Jacobs, businessinsider.com
November 14th 2013
Amplify is an education company using technology towards a simple goal — change the way students interact and learn in the classroom.
CEO Joel Klein — the former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education — told Business Insider that Amplify "really seeks to change the way we teach and the way we teach Kindergarten through 12 grade in public schools in America."
We got a chance to tour the Amplify offices in Brooklyn and chat with Klein, as well as some of the company's software engineers and designers. The company covers a lot of ground — using tablets to help empower teachers and students through collaborative learning apps, data analysis, and games. Through the curriculum, students have access to everything from dramatic readings of famous books to an expansive network of math problems.
Teachers also gain the ability to better monitor and direct their students. Not only do they have access to various programs that allow students to self-report their understanding of the material, but instructors can also lock the tablets with a remote "eyes on teacher" feature — one of the coolest and likely most useful applications.
All of this allows for a customizable education experience that is at the core of the Amplify software's appeal.
This is a big shift away from traditional hardcover bound textbooks — which Klein called "way out of date and way too heavy" — that have long been a classroom staple. But that may change soon.
"If you said three years ago 'do you think textbooks would be gone in a decade,' most people would say no. Today, most people would say yes," Klein told BI.
However, Amplify isn't just trying to put tablets in the classroom for the sake of bringing in technology.
"Teachers don't need more gizmos and gadgets," Klein said. "It's about whether the technology can help the teachers do the things they need to do."