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The publishing tool that got the tech company in trouble over a year ago is now back and easy to use.
Emily Tate is a staff reporter at Scoop News Group covering education and technology for EdScoop, StateScoop and FedScoop. She writes about the lat...
After much anticipation, the controversial upload feature that forced Amazon Inspire back into beta last summer has been reintroduced on the tech titan’s repository of free, openly licensed digital content.
In conjunction with students’ and teachers’ return to school, Amazon on Monday activated the function that allows educators to upload and share original resources to Inspire.
The new capability comes six weeks after Inspire relaunched to the general public and 14 months after the company stumbled during its initial rollout of the digital content library. The same feature that was turned on this week is the one account holders — including anyone with an Amazon.com account or anyone who creates a new account with Inspire — began to misuse within a couple days of Inspire’s public debut in June 2016.
Educators complained to Amazon that some of the materials on its site were infringing on their copyrights, and without really any explanation or update to its users, Amazon pulled the site back into a private, invitation-only beta.
Since July 17, Inspire users have been able to visit the site and access tens of thousands of carefully curated digital resources, including videos, images, documents and lesson plans, spanning a wide range of K-12 academic subjects.
Users can add resources to public or private “collections,” which allow them to organize their favorite content and create mix-and-match lesson plans for their classrooms. Collections are filtered by grade, subject and educational standards — which currently include Common Core, Virginia and Florida standards.
Teachers can also rate and review the digital content available on Inspire, exactly as they would rate and review items for sale on Amazon's retail site. It's of the qualities that incited such enthusiasm among teachers in the run-up to Inspire's launch. It looks and acts like the online retail store that many people use almost daily.
The upload feature operates quite simply, said Molly Yowell, a digital content coordinator in Indiana’s Office of eLearning and head of a content curation group that worked with Amazon Education to add hundreds of downloadable educational resources to the back-end of Inspire while it remained in private beta for the last year. Yowell told EdScoop that she uploaded her first resource to Inspire Monday afternoon just minutes after it became available. “It seems to work well,” she wrote in an email.
"The Amazon Inspire upload process is seamless, and even allows for multiple resources to be uploaded at the same time. The required metadata that is collected for each individual resource gives users just the information they need. Additionally, the support that Inspire offer to users regarding accessibility, licensing, etc. will help folks feel more confident as they share their go-to quality resources with the world," she added.
Yowell, an English teacher at Danville Community School Corporation, also tweeted about the upload feature.
“Thank you @AmazonEdu for the great accessibility guidelines for those uploading content to Inspire plus the license options! #INeLearn,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Super easy to navigate & upload resources! I published my first resource already,” she added in another tweet.
Officials at Amazon Education did not immediately respond to EdScoop's request for comment.
“Representations and Warranties Regarding Your Shared Resources
You are solely responsible for your Shared Resources and the consequences of submitting and publishing them on [Inspire]. You represent and warrant that:
Following that quick tutorial, educators can start uploading content by dragging resources into a box on the site, describing the material, then publishing and sharing it with friends, colleagues and other Inspire users.
While they drag, drop and upload educational materials, that same message remains on the page: “You can upload original resources you created, or resources you have confirmed are openly licensed for sharing.” This time around, Amazon wants to get its point across.
This story is developing. Check back later for more information.