Amazon just announced Inspire, a free service for the search, discovery and distribution of digital educational resources. Teachers often rely on Pinterest, curriculum books, and colleagues for lessons and unit plan inspiration. Amazon Inspire will provide educators, regardless of funding or location, access to upload and share free digital teaching resources.
Amazon first announced its commitment to the Open Educational Resources, or OER movement, in October 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education launched its #GoOpen campaign. Amazon Web Services or AWS is providing multi-year infrastructure and developer support for the Department of Education’s "Learning Registry". This is an open database where content creators and educators can share information about digital educational resources.
New York’s Mineola Public Schools is among the first school districts in the country to join the Amazon Inspire service. "Mineola is proud to contribute content to the Amazon Inspire service," said Superintendent Michael Nagler. "We believe the future of public education in a digital world is the ability to easily find engaging content for students. As more teachers share content on Amazon Inspire, other teachers will find high quality, highly successful classroom materials. That is a victory for every child."
Amazon Inspire includes several useful features. Smart Search allows teachers to explore resources by grade level, standard or even from a particular district. They can filter their search results to up to ten criteria. Educators can create collections where they curate the resources in it, recommend an order for going through the resources and share the collection with other teachers. Users can also navigate Amazon Inspire using popular screen readers and indicate the accessibility features of resources they upload. Teachers can even rate and review resources on Amazon Inspire.
Amazon is even adding in its own resources. Amazon Inspire worked with College Scorecard and its collection about making decisions on which colleges to attend. Teachers will be able to use those resources to help students decide which colleges to apply for and attend. Amazon Inspire collaborated with the Folger Shakespeare Library as well. They have more than 100 teaching resources from the library available with an additional 2,000 to be added by back to school. This includes the Folger Editions, which are the number one Shakespeare text used in American classrooms.
Educators can learn more or join the Amazon Inspire beta here.