Launched Today: Amazon Inspire, a Free Service for Digital Educational Resources (Beta)
Today at ISTE 2016, Amazon announced Amazon Inspire, a free service for the search, discovery and distribution of digital educational resources.
Amazon Inspire, with its features such as search, discovery and peer reviews, will provide educators—regardless of funding or location—access to upload and share free digital teaching resources.
Amazon Inspire is in the beta stage and is ready for teachers to use and provide feedback to help shape the future of K-12 education.
[Note: Librarians are eligible.]
Amazon Inspire Features
- Smart search — With smart search, teachers can explore resources by grade level, standard or even from a particular district. Educators can filter search results using more than 10 criteria to find great resources that best fit their needs.
- Collections — Educators can group resources into collections. They can describe the collection, curate the resources in it, recommend an order for going through the resources and share the collection with other teachers.
- Simple upload — Amazon Inspire offers an easy to use and intuitive upload interface. Educators can drag and drop files they want to share, add basic metadata such as title, description, grade and subject, and publish the content on the service, all in a few minutes.
- Customer reviews — Teachers can rate and review resources on Amazon Inspire, helping their colleagues around the country select the best resources for their needs.
- Accessibility support — Amazon Inspire has built in accessibility features. For example, educators can navigate Amazon Inspire using popular screen readers and users are also able to indicate the accessibility features of resources they upload.
With the growing support of states, school districts and contributing publishers, Amazon Inspire aims to provide educators with the largest selection of free and open educational resources to improve instruction and student learning outcomes.
In addition to teachers sharing innovative instructional resources on Amazon Inspire, publishers and other content developers are contributing digital educational resources to the service. One contributor is the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “Too many teachers struggle with time and budget constraints to get high quality content for their students,” said Barbara McCormack, Vice President of Education. “By collaborating with Amazon, we can take an open access approach to scale quickly, ensuring teachers and students get the resources they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”
The U.S. Department of Education is also providing resources to Amazon Inspire from College Scorecard, its collection of critical information for making smart choices about which college to attend. Teachers will be able to use those resources to help students get the right information in the clearest way as they make the decision about their future education.
Another example of an Amazon Inspire contributor is the Folger Shakespeare Library. This year, as students celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s life, Amazon Inspire has more than 100 teaching resources from the library available with an additional 2,000 to be added by back to school. These resources link directly to classroom instruction about Shakespeare’s plays and the world that shaped them, including the Folger Editions, which are the number one Shakespeare text used in American classrooms today.
Amazon first announced its commitment to the OER movement in October 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education launched its #GoOpen campaign. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is providing a multi-year infrastructure and developer support for the Department of Education’s Learning Registry, an open database where content creators and educators can share information about digital educational resources, ensuring that it remains robust and freely available for all 15,000 U.S. school districts in our country.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.