- In a conversation with EdSurge On Air at ISTE 2016, Google’s Jonathan Rochelle and Jaime Casap said Amazon’s foray into the education space is a welcome attempt at expanding access to open educational resources.
- Amazon’s release of Inspire, where educators can upload, categorize and share open source resources, seems to have been welcomed by Google for Education leaders, especially as long as the content remains free for all.
- According to the EdSurge interview, however, one challenge Google expects Amazon to be faced with is content curation on the Inspire platform — if people see it as a dumping ground for content, they won’t have high expectations for finding anything of high quality.
The U.S. Department of Education has been pushing open educational resources for a couple of years now. The Obama Administration launched the #GoOpen campaign in 2015 and hired an “open education advisor” in Andrew Marcinek. Additionally, OER got bipartisan support through the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which included language about using block grant funding to support the use of open educational resources in schools. OER proponents see it as a way to get high-quality educational resources to all students, regardless of the poverty levels in their districts.
As the Google leaders indicated, however, a major challenge is content curation in the OER world. Teachers now have to wade through a lot of mediocre content to get to the good stuff. In the higher education realm, some colleges and universities have begun paying teachers to review content and offer professional opinions to their colleagues.