Amazon Inspire Goes Live (But Without Controversial Share Feature)

After more than a year of invitation-only private beta, Amazon just opened its free library of open-education resources, called Amazon Inspire.
Well, it’s more accurate to say the site is partially open. Amazon Inspire is still missing its most controversial feature—the ability for any teacher to share lesson plans, worksheets, and other materials with colleagues.
Anyone with an Amazon account can now see the collection and download resources, but the Share feature is turned off, with a “coming soon!” label next to it. Letting any teacher share their teaching materials is a key promise of the service, but it is also one that sparked controversy last year, after several people
uploaded materials without the permission of the authors. The copyright violations prompted complaints by teachers, and led Amazon to quickly take down the pirated content and promise to put a better review system in place.
That review system apparently still isn’t ready for prime time. An
FAQ about the site’s policies says: “The ability to publish resources on Amazon Inspire will be coming soon. Once available, teachers, administrators (from schools, districts, or states), institutions, or anyone with high-quality, relevant K-12 resources will be able to publish to Amazon Inspire.”
A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to questions from EdSurge (but we’ll update this story if we get any answers).
The long silence from Amazon about the Inspire project
led some to wonder about how committed the company was to the effort. Some educators who participated in the invitation-only beta wondered how useful the site would be, saying that it is difficult to find high-quality material in the large collection.
It’s hard to tell how many links and items are in the directory, but it appears that the largest part of the collection relates to mathematics—the site features more than 13,000 listings for that subject. Inspire also shows more than 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.
It appears that partners and invitation-only beta testers posted the materials. Amazon Inspire remains in beta (but now in a form that educators can browse).

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