Amazon has launched Whispercast 3.0, free software that lets students discover and manage their educational content on tablets, iPads and Chromebooks. The latest release allows schools to obtain content and distribute it to appropriate devices and students more easily.
Whispercast 3.0 is a "free, self-service platform for organizations to easily discover, procure, manage and distribute digital content to nearly any device," Amazon states in a news release.
Feedback from previous release users allowed Amazon to roll out Whispercast 3.0 packed with sought-after features such as tiered administration and group management which lets administrators set permission parameters, scale, centralize and delegate device and content management more easily.
Other integrated features include a more user-friendly interface and a digital transition service where K-12 and higher education organizations will be provided with free expert guidance from Amazon. Lastly, more purchasing options like purchase orders and purchase cards are made available.
"Whispercast removes logistical concerns associated with traditional course material distribution. The benefits from both the student and program operations perspectives are tremendous," Jan Furman, Ed.D., Program Director at Seton Hall University said.
The Center for Digital Education says that Whispercast enables Amazon to be part of the over $20 billion market of Ed Tech products and services for K-12 through Higher Education, CNET's Ben Fox Rubin writes.
"Without a doubt, Amazon's Whispercast solution and device selection aligned best experientially and financially with our requirements and student needs," Matthew Johnston, President of Santa Barbara Business College says.
Businesses, too, are using Whispercast to deploy and manage material across their staff, but for now Whispercast is mostly used in education.
Amazon offers concurrently with Whispercast 3.0. its Digital Transition Services to organizations that want to implement, scale or switch to Whispercast. The service aims to make the transition more seamless for administrators and students alike:
"We've all seen for the past couple of years the trend toward one-to-one deployment of devices" in schools, Rohit Agarwal, General Manager of Amazon Education says. "We believe giving every student a device is a great starting point, but it's not the be-all end-all," Agarwal says, pointing out the importance of the human factor in taking full advantage of Ed Tech and its services.
Hundreds of educational apps through the Amazon Appstore and over 3 million books, textbooks and online newspapers and magazines are available on Whispercast. Material from National Geographic, Lerner Publishing Group, Sleeping Bear Press and Penguin Random House are also made available through the platform.
According to Amazon.com, 130 of the 250 largest school districts in the US are using Whispercast. The number of higher education institutions using Whispercast amounts to over 2,400 and includes the University of Texas and the Seton Hall University.