Amazon rolls out Inspire, a free online education service for teachers

Inspire includes features such as search, discovery and peer reviews on thousands of education materials.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Amazon capped off its slow march into the education technology market on Monday with the official announcement for Inspire, an online portal where teachers and other educators can share resources for digital learning.

Inspire includes features such as search, discovery and peer reviews on thousands of education materials. It's aim is to provide educators access to upload and share free digital teaching resources, which could help improve instruction and student learning outcomes, the company said.

The platform is also open to publishers and other content providers who wish to contribute to the service. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education will provide information from its College Scorecard service, while the Folger Shakespeare Library is offering access to instructional texts about Shakespeare's plays.

Hints of Amazon's intentions surrounding online education first surfaced in March, when news outlets picked up on what was essentially a beta program of Inspire in partnership with several U.S. school districts.

Before that, in October, Amazon inked a deal with the U.S. Department of Education and its GoOpen initiative, in which the company offered up free AWS infrastructure and developer support for the Department's open-source education database dubbed the Learning Registry.

In March 2015 Amazon debuted AWS Educate, a program designed to help educators accelerate cloud technology learning in the classroom. And then there's Amazon Education, bolstered by the 2013 acquisition of online math company TenMarks, which has been operational for some time.

Despite today's launch, Inspire is still in the beta stage. However, there's currently a bevy of schools using the service already, including school districts in Visalia, CA; Mineola, NY; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; El Cajon, California; Missouri; Nashville and Tullahoma City, Tennessee; and Virginia Beach. Amazon also said the states of Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont have endorsed the program.

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