When Teachers Customize Curriculum

According to a new report, “Authoring Student Success: How K-12 Educators Navigate Copyright Law to Create Custom Curriculum,” authored by Evo Popoff (SETDA named him State Policy Maker of the Year), produced by Whiteboard Advisors, and commissioned by XanEdu Custom Book Solutions: “While teachers have curated disparate student resources for ages, district coordinated customization is a relatively new practice. Teachers regularly gather content that has already been published — such as tests, worksheets, experiments, poems or short stories — to supplement the curricula. Others create quizzes, lab experiments and other content on their own.

“K-12 teachers report spending about seven hours a week looking for instructional materials and another five hours a week creating their own. Increasingly, however, district leaders are discouraging teachers from ‘freelancing’ instructional materials. And with good reason. Those materials may or may not adhere to state standards or correlate with end-of-grade tests, leading to a disjointed curriculum.

“The practice also raises concerns about student data privacy (when using materials online) and copyright infringement, two areas that cry out for oversight from district leaders. It’s not uncommon to find a host of issues raised in a school system where multiple teachers maintain separate collections of custom content, all curated or created without guidance from district administrators.”

This is a very interesting discussion, also included within it is a timely foreword by Jane Swift, the former Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts and current President and Executive Director of LearnLaunch.

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