Amazon looks to learning with Inspire

Amazon is moving into a new class of business with Inspire, a free educational platform for teachers. 
Although in beta form and initially aimed at the US education system, Amazon's ideas for the classroom are already very clear. Inspire is a virtual teachers' staff room and lending library where educators can upload and share materials, and peer review those of others. 
Materials can be packaged together via subject, age group or media and the idea is that via partnerships, Amazon will augment what's on offer via access to digitized texts from seats of learning and institutions. 
For instance, alongside the unveiling, Amazon announced that New York's Mineola Public Schools is already on board as a materials provider. 
"We believe the future of public education in a digital world is the ability to easily find engaging content for students. As more teachers share content on Amazon Inspire, other teachers will find high quality, highly successful classroom materials," said Superintendent Michael Nagler. 
Other early content providers include Tulare County Office of Education in Visalia, California, the Newseum in Washington, DC, and the US Department of Education itself. 
"To truly transform learning in our schools and ensure educational equity for all students — regardless of grade level or zip code — it is crucial that we put high quality, open educational resources at teachers' fingertips," said Joseph South, director for the Office of Technology at the US Department of Education. 
Google and Apple have both moved squarely into the educational space in recent years in an attempt to get tablets and Chromebooks in front of students, but also to aid educators in disseminating information and tracking individual students' progress. 
However, both companies have walls around much of their ecosystems that can hinder as well as help access to certain materials or applications. 
"Amazon joins educators from around the country in recognising the power of digital learning to transform the classroom, by creating a personalised, engaging learning environment for all students," said Rohit Agarwal, General Manager of Amazon K-12 Education. 
"However, we also know that making that promise a reality is a time consuming proposition and teachers tell us that they spend upwards of 12 hours a week searching for and curating resources for classroom instruction." 

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