Where Can You Find Quality Online Resources?
posted by: Melissa | October 17, 2018, 08:02 PM   

T.H.E. Journal recently looked at where teachers were getting their standards-based resources. The good news is that more teachers are looking beyond textbooks for materials, mainly by turning to online sources. The bad news is where they’re looking.


The most popular place teachers go online is Teachers Pay Teachers. Teachers Pay Teachers is a great resource and has a lot of high quality materials. It also has a lot of poor quality materials, and it’s up to teachers to wade through the options and weed out the good from the bad. The second and third most popular sites, Google and Pinterest, have the same issue.


This places a huge burden on teachers who now need to evaluate and vet resources. Teachers need websites where they can find both a large volume of resources that they can fit into their already existing curriculum and trust those resources are standards-aligned and high quality.


Are there any sites that fill both of these qualifications? The question is more pressing than it may seem. Doing a simple Google search for “lesson plans” brings up a list of websites that can quickly be broken down into two categories. Category one is a compendium of non-vetted teacher-made lessons. Some are high quality, many are not. Category two is similar, but in this case the lessons seem to be created by non-educators and are almost always low-quality and skimpy. Searching by a specific standard brings up results that are more specific, but then again, teachers must wade through a list that has a lot of dross for every bit of gold.


This is not to say that the outlook is completely hopeless. There are a couple bright spots out there. For example, the website BetterLesson has created a network of “Master Teachers” to create lesson plans that are high quality and employ strong pedagogical theory. These lessons are organized by standard, making it easy for teachers to know where to employ them. Likewise, EngageNY has a comprehensive database of high quality, professionally vetted lessons.


There are other sites like these, but they are far too rare. The struggle for teachers used to be locating lessons and resources, but now they face a very different challenge. The internet has made it possible for teachers to find thousands of lessons on any topic or standard. The sheer volume makes it hard to know which to use or rely upon and it wastes time that teachers could spend elsewhere. Moving forward, teachers need more sites that assure the quality of the lessons that they host.


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