Amazon Inspire Aims to Help Teachers and Underfunded School Districts

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Laura Hurley

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Jul 1, 2016
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Teachers who have collected and “curated” others’ work, do NOT have the rights to share that work.

If I have curated a collection of novels and nonfiction works, does that grant me the right to digitally upload that library for readers all around the country to access for free?

Yet, Amazon’s new venture – Inspire, does just that. The heart of its platform is the uploading and sharing of “high-quality” lesson plans that teachers and districts have created – and also “curated.” Not created – simply collected!

Where will these "high quality lesson plans" come from? As any teacher-author or curriculum-writer knows, creating professional, high-quality lessons takes hours, days, weeks or months of work. High-quality art, fonts and design, research and expertise, plus time to carefully format, proof, reproof, est-drive, revise and then carefully describe for others how and why to use - are all components of high quality lesson plans.

The creators of Amazon Inspire are either naïve to believe teachers will routinely have this time to create truly professional products for others’ use or they are proposing the outright theft and dissemination of other teachers’ copyrighted work.

On its first day of launch, just one of the many pirated lessons on Amazon Inspire was a 300-page resource. No high-quality 300-page resource is created in 10 minutes! Rather, a resource of that length can take weeks to create, working full-time, plus the purchase of professional fonts, illustrations, ink to test-print first, second and third drafts, laminator and laminating, if included - and more. When sharing that work long-distance with strangers, detailed and clear instructions for use, rationale, answer keys, cover pages for organization and more must be carefully crafted.

No other profession touts “share all your work for free!” Amazon does not give its products away for free. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and McGraw-Hill do not give their products away for free. Yes, school districts need help. But organized theft is not the answer.
 
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