Should Districts Get a Cut When Teachers Sell Lesson Plans Online?
The growing online market for lesson plans has school districts asking if the trend is ethical -- and whether or not the schools deserve a cut of the profits.
Thousands of teachers are turning to online auction sites, such as TeachersPayTeachers.com, where they can sell the classroom materials they've developed, and some are making significant profits doing so, according to a story in The Dallas Morning News.
Some school districts have policies stating that all materials developed by employees while at school are the property of the district. However, officials admit that it's difficult to enforce the rule in the Internet age.
"Web 2.0 tools have opened everything up for anyone to publish to the Web," Alice Owen, executive director of technology for Irving Independent School District, tells the News. "Teachers get many lesson plans off the Web for free right now. We will see how many people are willing to pay for things."
The top-grossing teacher on TeachersPayTeachers.com made $40,000 last year, according to founder Paul Edelman. He tells the News that the site has 250,000 registered users and sales last year exceeded $500,000.
What accounts for this burgeoning industry? The rise in uniform standards for schools, says David Chard, dean of Southern Methodist University's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. More and more students are reading the same books and using the same textbooks, he tells the News.
The Web gives teachers all over the country the opportunity to share these materials with their peers.
"Prior to the Internet, the only way teachers had a way to share ideas of teaching was at professional conferences or in teacher workrooms," Chard tells the newspaper. "It was relatively limited. So you were left to be creative on your own and work through problems on your own."
Texas teacher Brandie Wiley tells the News that she has sold several language arts PowerPoint presentations over the Internet, and that she's made about $650.
"Before, it was really fun to share in my building and get ideas from them," she tells the newspaper. "But to now share ideas with an entire country of teachers, I think it's best for students."
She adds that the ability to do so is good for teachers and their students.
Should teachers share the profits they make selling lesson plans with their schools?
Related: More People Making an Extra Buck Online
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