We’ve explored the shift to open education resources in several blogs and podcasts recently–for example, the story of El Paso ISD who, as part of their new strategic plan, avoided spending millions on textbooks for a better and more dynamic OER alternative.
A growing number of great nonprofits are sharing open resources as well: CK-12, Gooru, Khan Academy, PowerMyLearning are examples of OER libraries that provide schools grade level playlists and all of them are adding features to personalize playlists.
So we were excited to hear that today at ISTE 2016, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Inspire, a free service created with the assistance of educators and education leaders nationwide for the distribution of digital educational resources.
Inspire is part of Amazon’s commitment to the U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen initiative, providing educators everywhere access to a platform not only to upload and share free digital teaching resources, but to review and provide feedback similar to Amazon’s shopping site.
Amazon Inspire is now in the beta stage, and educators across the U.S. are invited to join in on shaping the program. Amazon leaders let us have a sneak peek at the service before it was launched, and there are several great features we think educators will appreciate:
- Smart Search — Teachers can search for resources by grade level, standard or even from a particular district. Educators can filter search results using more than ten criteria to find the resources that best fit their needs.
- Collections — Educators can group resources into collections, 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 — Educators can drag and drop files which 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 the resources they use, helping their colleagues around the country select the best resources for their needs.
- Accessibility Support — Using its built in accessibility features, educators can navigate Amazon Inspire using popular screen readers. Users are also able to indicate the accessibility of resources they upload.
Additional Contributor Resources
In addition to teachers sharing innovative instructional resources on Amazon Inspire, publishers and other content developers are contributing digital educational resources to the service, including:
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.
Early adopter states include: Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Early adopter school districts include:
- Avonworth School District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
- Cajon Valley Union School District, El Cajon, California;
- Liberty Public Schools, Missouri;
- Metro Nashville Public Schools;
- Tullahoma City Schools, Tennessee; and
- Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Amazon Education first announced its commitment to the OER movement in October 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education launched its #GoOpen campaign. The company provides infrastructure and developer support for the department’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.
Educators across the United States are invited to learn more about or join the Amazon Inspire beta at www.amazoninspire.com.
For more, see:
- Welcome to the Copyright Jungle
- 3 Steps for Educators to Take Advantage of OERs
- Getting Smart Podcast | The Role of OER in 21st Century Classrooms
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