By Henry Kronk April 02, 2018
The abrupt shuttering of Amazon’s TenMarks at the end of last week caught just about everyone by surprise. Many have done a fair amount of speculating about what exactly Amazon is up to in the K-12 space. But when the company—which offers grade school lesson plans, homework, and other resources in math and writing—announced it was closing, the most striking reaction came from the teachers who use it. By and large, most educators really liked TenMarks.
Stacey Latimer, a 6th grade math teacher, tweeted, “I’m really sorry to hear this! I love using this with my students! It has been a HUGE help with helping my students grow every year. I really hope there’s a way to save this tool! #savetenmarks.”
I’m really sorry to hear this! I love using this with my students! It has been a HUGE help with helping my students grow every year. I really hope there’s a way to save this tool! #savetenmarks
— Stacey Latimer (@latimerHMSmath) March 30, 2018
The real kicker is that a good amount of TenMarks sales operations and teacher training continued through the day when the news began to break.
Janet Cantu, a San Diego-based educator, was going through a TenMarks orientation on March 29th.
— Janet Cantu (@jwilsoncantu) March 29, 2018
Cantu was excited about using TenMarks in class. “We had great training,” she said. “[I’m] trying to figure out what is going on.”
An 8th grade math and science teacher at the Feaster Charter School in California, Julie Medina, writes, “I am so sad about this. @TenMarks has been an integral part of my instruction in my math classroom. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you!”
I am so sad about this. @TenMarks has been an integral part of my instruction in my math classroom. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you!
— Julie Medina (@DuganMedina) April 1, 2018
Glenn Warren, a K-12 administrator near San Diego, provides another perspective. “There is such a large body of work connected with TenMarks, to just close it down is such academic loss. How about making a grand gesture and make it all open source?”
There is such a large body of work connected with TenMarks, to just close it down is such academic loss. How about making a grand gesture and make it all open source?
— Glen Warren (@warrenmedia) March 31, 2018
These are just a few samplings of dozens of posts from Twitter. Given the company announced they were closing on March 29th, it’s likely that many users have yet to learn that they will need to look elsewhere for their teaching supplements.
For those who have learned about it, they likely encountered the announcement on the TenMarks site. “We’re winding down,” they write. “TenMarks will no longer be available after the 2018-2019 school year. Licenses for TenMarks Math and Writing will be honored through June 30, 2019. If you’re a current customer, you will receive an email outlining what this means for you. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.”
To date, all evidence indicated that TenMarks was a successful venture. The company added writing content to their curricula supplements as late as last August.
Around the same time, the American Institute for Research (AIR) released a report studying the efficacy of the TenMarks math component in the classroom. The authors concluded that the TenMarks offerings on average improved students’ math abilities.
TenMarks’ closing, to put it simply, makes very little sense to the general public. It was popular, proven to work, and it seems that many employees themselves had no inklings of what was about to come. According to Amazon, everyone working on the education initiative will be reassigned internally.
There have been rumblings recently of Amazon making big moves in the K-12+ space. Some believe the company is building their own learning management system (LMS). CNBC broke the report in mid-March and confirmed the news with two unnamed sources. What’s more, some Amazon job postings over the last year also indicate that they’re creating a learning platform.
Amazon has also recently Inspire, a cloud sharing service for the classroom.