Behind the Headline: Lesson-Sharing Sites Raise Issues of Ownership, Use

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Lesson-Sharing Sites Raise Issues of Ownership, Use
Ed Week | 9/30/15

Behind the Headline
Teachers Swap Recipes
Education Next| Summer 2011

Ed Week’s Stephen Sawchuk takes a close look at some of the most popular lesson-sharing websites for teachers and finds some complications lurking. He writes

increasingly, experts warn there are a few catches to the eminently sensible idea of online lesson exchange. Hidden in the often-skipped fine print outlining terms and conditions, the sites have vastly different approaches to protecting and disseminating the content that teachers create—and that they may consider their intellectual property.

Some lesson-sharing sites, for example, grant the companies that run them sweeping rights to use, modify, and even sell teacher-generated content; others leave much more control in the hands of teachers.

And some ed-tech experts caution that there’s an even more basic concern about the phenomenon of lesson sharing: Under the strictest interpretation, copyright laws make teachers’ work products the property of their school district, not their own to share in the first place.

Now, concerns about those laws are starting to collide with the push for shared online educational resources created by teachers.


For a look at the early days of lesson-sharing websites, please read “Teachers Swap Recipes,” by Bill Tucker in the Summer 2011 issue of Education Next.

– Education Next

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