Both Google and Amazon have revealed a slew of new tools aimed at inspiring teachers and students in the digital classroom

Google and Amazon cast their eyes on the next tech battlefield: the digital classroom

28 Jun 2016

Schools ought to be the first places that get the benefits of tech, but often they aren’t. However, that’s about to change, as both Google and Amazon have revealed a slew of new tools aimed at inspiring teachers and students.

Google has revealed new tools that build on the success of its Chromebooks in the US education market.

It has revealed a new tool called Cast for Education, which lets students and teachers share their screens from anywhere in the classroom to the Chromecast that is plugged into the projector.

Google is also making the Expeditions app, which takes schoolkids on more than 200 virtual reality trips around the world, from the Great Barrier Reef to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, available for Android from today and soon on iPads and iPhones. Best Buy Education will also be making the Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase, which include a tablet, a virtual reality viewer and a router.

The tech giant is revealing the new tools at the influential ISTE conference, which is one of the largest education technology gatherings in the world.

Also being unveiled is Quizzes in Google Forms, which will grade multiple choice and checkbox questions automatically, giving teachers less time to grade and more time to teach. Teachers can set correct answers in forms and even add review materials for students. Teachers also get an instant snapshot of what their students understand and what to teach next.

Could Amazon be the next disrupter in education?

Not to be outdone, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon is also planning to make a major foray into the education technology market for primary and secondary schools, upping the ante against established players like Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Amazon has already disrupted the worlds of e-commerce, cloud and entertainment and now has its eyes on education.

In September, it is launching a new online marketplace called Amazon Inspire, which will include thousands of free lesson plans, worksheets and other materials for teachers.

Eventually, Inspire could become a one-stop-shop for paid learning materials, educational software and, of course, hardware like tablets and e-readers.

According to IDC, last year, primary and secondary schools in the US spent $4.9bn on tablet, laptop and desktop computers. The largest share of this went to Microsoft, which captured $2.2bn worth of schools’ spending on IT.

Digital classroom image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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