Amazon to Teachers: Use the Cloud for Lesson Plans

by Linda Olson June 30, 2016, 2:27
Amazon to Teachers: Use the Cloud for Lesson Plans

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) has announced Amazon Inspire, which is a new service for teachers to help them get digital content ready for students.

Amazon Inspire already has a variety of school districts using the platform, including districts in Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont, among others.

A recent study from the RAND corporation found that almost all math and language arts teachers using the Common Core State Standards are at least somewhat reliant on materials they've developed or selected themselves. Amazon Inspire wants to bring that type of customized education to K-12.

Inspire, whose interface looks much like Amazon's regular site, aims to cut learning materials expenses for schools and make life easier for millions of teachers who, according to Amazon, spend an average of 12 hours per week looking for materials. "As more teachers share content on Amazon Inspire, other teachers will find high quality, highly successful classroom materials".

The company has lined up a number of innovative school systems to test out Inspire, including Tulare County Office of Education in Visalia, CA; Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler, AZ; Mineola Public Schools in ny; and Avonworth School District in Pittsburgh, among others. Amazon has been a bit slower on the take, but in 2013 Amazon acquired the math-focused educational app TenMarks. "We believe the future of public education in a digital world is the ability to easily find engaging content for students", stated Michael Nagler Superintendent.

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"The ultimate is that every teacher should benefit from the collective knowledge and insights of peers", Agarwal said.

Amazon touted the open online community via social media using the new handle @AmazonEdu, Tweeting Monday that "we're dedicated to open dialogue with educators". The company indicated that it was inviting educators to shape the evolution of this innovative service to best serve teachers as part of its support of the GoOpen initiative. Once the correct classes and information are found, they can be put into collections that can then be shared with other teachers and reviewed by people around the country. At the same time, teachers can upload their own tried-and-true content to help classroom teachers elsewhere. There are more than 100 teaching resources added by the library, with an estimated 2,000 more pieces of educational material including classroom instruction being added in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

So what will set Amazon Inspire apart from the plethora of OER resources already available?

The program isn't entirely open yet, with teachers having to request access for now.


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