When did lesson plans and videos go from being an individual teacher’s intellectual property to becoming free content on the Internet? According to Michael Godsey in the Atlantic article I’ve been dishing about lately (“When the Computer Takes Over for the Teacher”), “Teachers like me are uploading onto the web tens of thousands of lesson plans and videos that are then being consolidated and curated by various organizations. In other words, the intellectual property that once belonged to teachers is now openly available on the Internet.”
First, take at look at sharemylesson.com, which goes by the slogan “by teachers, for teachers.” As Godsey points out, on this site, sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, you can access more than 300,000 free resources. Think of it! A quick glance shows resources for children ages 4 through 18, as well as materials for special populations (i.e., gifted and talented, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners). If these resources are half as helpful as they appear to be, they can save you umpteen hours of crating materials from scratch. But it’s the teacher’s judgment here that’s key, right? Automatons can’t really separate the wheat from the chaff, can they? No!
TeachersPayTeachers is similar to sharemylessons.com, but you may need to pay a fee. The good news, though, is that the money goes straight into the pockets of enterprising teachers.
TeachersPayTeachers has been up and running for the past 9 years and now has over 3 million users. I used it once myself when I suddenly found that I needed literature guides for 8-and 9-year-olds for several different titles, such as Jerry Spinelli’s Fourth Grade Rats. Although the guides needed a little work (e.g., a few spelling errors), they saved me untold hours at the computer.
So, in my case, I didn’t feel marginalized (and replaced) as a teacher. It was still up to me to find top-quality materials and adapt them for my students. I also discovered that you can also purchase many related materials, such as educational videos and assessment tools.
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.