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What’s the Deal With Lesson-Sharing Sites?

by Stephen Sawchuk

Education Week

Article excerpt

Lesson-Sharing Sites Raise Issues of Ownership, Use

Perhaps no recent technology advancement offers as much promise for teacher professional development as lesson-sharing sites that facilitate the exchange of such resources. On those sites, many of which were launched to support teachers’ work with the Common Core State Standards, it’s possible to get near-instantaneous feedback from peers, to network with like-minded colleagues, and to find literally millions of instructional ideas.

Our take

Buyer—and Seller—Beware!

Coming up with new, continually innovative and engaging lesson plans each semester can be trying to say the least. But teachers know that, especially in this fast-paced world, they must keep their material fresh to keep young minds engaged. The Internet has opened up some great opportunities for them to learn and share with others through sites like Teachers Pay Teachers. That’s right—those who share their lesson plans and materials can actually get paid for their work. Is this too good to be true?

Lesson sharing sites seem to provide value on the surface, but it pays for teachers—and their school systems—to dig deep into the details to ensure protection of intellectual property and the avoidance of inadvertent infringement. The risk is compounded by some fuzziness around who actually owns the materials that teachers create—the teachers or their school systems? These are questions worth exploring and developing some ground rules around to avoid potential missteps.

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