By Kai Thompson:
After a somewhat troubled start, Amazon recently announced that their Inspire platform – an “open collaboration service that helps educators discover, gather, and share educational content” – is open for teachers to browse and upload content. While still only in Beta form, this is a significant step forward for the project.
The platform’s new features and FAQ page encourage users “to discover, manage, rate, review, and share educational resources.”
Also on the FAQ page, users are advised on licenses they can use when uploading original content. Inspire links several Creative Commons licenses: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International, and Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International. The FAQ page also links to an informative page about Creative Commons licenses.
In addition to Creative Commons options, Amazon offers its own Amazon Inspire Custom License. And, when sharing links on Amazon Inspire, educators can choose the “See License on Resource Site” option to ensure that resources be used according to the license on the site that hosts the linked resource.
- The new Collections feature allows teachers to save different resources to a public or private collection of content they prefer.
- The Reporting feature allows users to report issues on the site with greater ease.
- The Discover search feature allows users to search for new resources
- The Gather feature allows for the downloading of sources shared by others.
- The Share feature lets educators upload their own content to share, all of which are explained briefly on the homepage of the site.
The platform focuses on K-12 educational resources and includes a cute animated informational and promotional video which emphasizes the goal of the platform, being to remove the stress from of teachers’ routines when searching for free and easy to access materials to use in their classes. The video mentions that you can search the database by subject, grade, educational standards (ex: Common Core) or by resource type.
The exact number of links and items in the directory is unknown, but the mathematics section appears to be the largest part of the collection, featuring more than 13,000 listings. Inspire also has over 7,200 results for English Language Arts, 3,600 for Social Studies, 3,300 for Arts, 166 for World Languages, 76 for Health & Physical Education, and 17 for Career & Technical Education according to Edsurge. Though the platform has had its issues, it is a good first step toward a much-desired OER database.