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ADVICE FOR ESCOM IN THE EDUCATIONAL MARKET
By Lori and Ralph Vinciguerra
As the new owners of the Amiga technology, Escom AG, attempt to formulate a
marketing plan they must consider one of the biggest market areas:
education. Schools, universities, and home educators are just beginning to
use computers to teach everything from literature and languages to math and
science. Many educational institutions are trying to decide on which
platform to purchase and what types of software are available. Many
educators that we have spoken to believe that the Amiga is a very viable
choice for schools. However, certain actions on the part of Escom will
help inform the decision-makers that there is another choice besides PC or
Mac. The suggestions which follow will help Escom foster the necessary
confidence in the Amiga and its new owners.
The first and most important action is to introduce the Amiga technology
into schools by providing educational discounts. Loaner or free machines
should be placed in schools to expose teachers and children to the Amiga.
Apple has made huge inroads into the educational market because they have
seen the importance of supporting the school systems. Also, children who
use Amigas in school are more likely to purchase them for home use.
Many schools and classrooms are starting to connect to the information
highway. Leverage AmiTCP and AMosaic and produce an Amiga-based
Internet-in-a-Box. Give it away FREE to schools who buy Amigas on an
educational discount (check out IBM's OS/2 Warp which has internet tools
bundled for an example). This will provide easy access to the Internet,
connecting the user with endless Amiga resources and countless Amiga users.
Along the same vein, start an Escom Amiga World Wide Web site (also gopher,
mailserver, and FTP) which is both an AmiNet mirror and a source for new
information, system specifications, support, Q&A, suggestions, and pointers
to other Amiga resources. Get on the information superhighway! All of the
other major players (Sun, Apple,SGI, HP, IBM) are out there. This will
give educators an immediate contact point on the Internet and confidence in
Direct market to home educators. A low cost, highly capable machine like
the Amiga 1200 would be very effective if co-marketed with a handful of
educational software packages and perhaps a magazine devoted to the topic.
The Amiga Educator's List Newsletter is published quarterly and is a free
resource for people with e-mail or Internet access.
Vision impaired people who could benefit from the built in speech
capability should be a very good market. Inform special education
departments at schools and universities of the Amiga's strength in this
Provide seminars for schools to learn how to integrate computers into their
classroom. Not only would Escom benefit from the seminar fees, but the
Amiga name would be remembered when the school goes to purchase machines.
Advertise in magazines which target educators. There are large sections of
family magazines, such as Family Life, Parents, Parenting, etc, dedicated
to software. There are also trade magazines and catalogs designed
specifically to sell computers and software to educators. Find out what
these are and make sure that the Amiga is visible.
An announcement for AC's Guide to the Amiga should be included with each
new machine. Perhaps ESCOM and PiM Publications can negotiate shipping one
issue of the Guide with each machine. This would provide the user with a
list of a majority of the available software. It would also provide the
publisher with a chance to advertise Amazing Computing. Since there is a
whole section devoted to education, it would help inform teachers of the
amount of available software.
Make the Amiga easy to network. Many schools are networking machines from
different classrooms together to avoid to management of large numbers of
floppies. Apple has done an excellent job of providing networking support
with the MacIntosh. The Amiga should at least come with simple networking
software and the means to hook machines together.
We hope that the representatives from Escom consider carefully each of
these suggestions. The Amiga is now represented in at least 100 schools or
school systems in the United States and Canada alone (see school list).
Because it has been successful in these schools, we believe that the
educational market is open to the acceptance of Amigas. Escom has the
opportunity to enter this market at a critical time. We wish Escom good
luck in their newly acquired business.
Opportunity With Learning - Educational Software for the Future
460 Summer Ave. Reading, MA 01867-3819
Lori Vinciguerra - President