Education Opinion

Educators Can Bypass the Middle Men for Teaching Content?

August 29, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Paul Edelman is a former NYC public school teacher and founder of TeachersPayTeachers.com, a division of Scholastic Inc.

With the launch of TeachersPayTeachers.com (TpT) in April of 2006 the big question was: With all that free stuff out there, will teachers be willing to pay other teachers for their original content? After more than two years, I’m happy to report they are.TpT is an innovator in Educational Publishing 2.0. Like Web 2.0 in general, Educational Publishing 2.0 provides the tools and a platform to everyday people, in this case teachers, so that they have the opportunity to participate in the content marketplace. Our teacher-authors have proven that they can compete on a small scale with Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and even our parent company, Scholastic.

Truth is, it doesn’t make economic sense for ed publishers to publish and market differentiated materials for every subject and topic under the sun, especially when those topics are so quickly shifting and developing and changing everyday. They simply can’t keep pace and wouldn’t get enough of a return on such an investment.

But armies of teachers have this capability. They’re already filling in these enormous gaps and have been for years, out of necessity. The only difference is that with the internet, now there’s a way for teachers to distribute and sell these differentiated and unique teaching materials to other teachers all over the country and world. They can also get to market much faster than our lumbering colleagues. Teacher-Authors on TpT have created and posted units on Eragon and An Inconvenient Truth soon after those movies hit the screens and quickly notched some sales.

Of course, there are other promising user-generated content models out there
competing with and/or complementing our own. We use the financial incentive to motivate teachers to post their stuff and make it available. Curriki.org is aiming to be a Wikipedia of curricula and is tapping into teachers’ desires to freely and
voluntarily contribute in an open source model. OerCommons.org is another one to watch. Education even has its own YouTube-like site called TeacherTube.com that contains user- and teacher-generated educational videos.

These models are just the tip of the iceberg. The three that that I mentioned as well as TpT have appeared in just the past couple of years. Teacher-generated content and how it plays in the marketplace will continue to evolve. In the process, those who benefit most are the ones who deserve it the most, our hard working, underpaid and underappreciated teachers. And amen to that!

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read