Help a teacher share
August 16, 2007 2:30 PM   Subscribe

My school teacher SO would like to start posting the lesson plans she's written online. She'd like for others to be able to find them via search engines. What would be the best platform do this on an ongoing basis?

My G/F has written a few novel study lessons, and would like to be able to share them with other teachers via the web. Googling around, I'm surprised to find that there isn't really much of an online teacher community swapping lesson plans. I originally suggested a blog, as I'm pretty sure we can get those plans some Google ranking with decent use of keywords. Now I'm not so sure. So far, I've found teachers with blogs and teachers within the livejournal community, but these all tend toward personal sites that just happen to be by teachers. Here's what she would like:

1. Can be found by search engines.
2. Entire lesson can be browsed through online, with perhaps the option to include some downloads (worksheets, etc.)
3. Can be easily updated by a not very tech-savvy person.
4. Free-ish or cheap.

I've already recommended that she put anything under a Creative Commons license. Is there anything else I'm not thinking of? Surely she can't be the first teacher to attempt this, right?
posted by Gilbert to Technology (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's not running yet, but this might be a spot...Or maybe this one too.
posted by smithmac_99 at 2:36 PM on August 16, 2007

Best answer: I think a WordPress blog with a Page created for each study lesson would work. Create and update a page, link to it from the blog, and set it up so it would appear in a section in the sidebar. Embed links to the spreadsheets, documents, etc inside of each page using HTML and you're pretty much set for your own contributions. Then, encourage other teachers to create their own and join as contributors, and you've got a low-cost, no-fuss way of doing what you're looking for.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2007

Oh, and as far as being found by search engines - get linked to by other teachers doing their own blogs. Just sticking a page on the internet will not help Google find you.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:05 PM on August 16, 2007

what about - i have never used the site, but i know teachers who do use it, and i think the site is almost tailored made to do exactly what you are describing
posted by Flood at 3:16 PM on August 16, 2007

Second what beaucoupkevin suggested, which is exactly what I'm doing for the website for a non-profit volunteer group I belong to. We're part of a larger national network and need to be Googleable by those folks, but we also need to allow (very untechnical) officers to easily add updates and upload documents and PDFs. We use almost all WP Pages, and almost zero blog Posts.

Whatever voodoo WP did, we were the #1 Google hit for the most common search phrases that anyone would use to find our group, within just a few months.

The downside with this suggestion is that your SO won't be entering a pre-existing community of teachers swapping plans... but I'm not so sure that community exists yet. (The site doesn't appear to me to be teacher-to-teacher, but teacher-to-student.)
posted by pineapple at 3:29 PM on August 16, 2007

You might be interested in OpenPlanner, which is specifically designed to that sort of collaborative curriculum development.
posted by dkg at 4:17 PM on August 16, 2007

Connexions was developed by Rice for all sorts of educational posting. It's probably a bit more complex than she needs but perhaps that platform would be exploring. It would allow her and others to further develope the plans.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:36 PM on August 16, 2007

Tell her to post them to metafilter projects. I'm sure it will wendell.
posted by tehloki at 5:04 PM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Connexions was going to be my suggestion too. It's got sort of a nifty licensing scheme so that people can build off of your projects while your own project remains as you uploaded it. MIT's Open Courseware project is a similar concept but only for MIT classes.
posted by jessamyn at 5:38 PM on August 16, 2007

Contribute to Created a new project/book if she has enough content, if she doesn't feel like finishing it, someone else will come along and edit it together. *and* others can add to it later.

Other than that, I second the wordpress idea. Wordpress is *really* easy.
posted by sethwoodworth at 6:54 PM on August 16, 2007

Drupal is a decent choice too: simple to set up and leaves the option open if she wants to add some more "community" features later on.

Otherwise, I'd second the vote for wordpress for shear simplicity.
posted by meta_eli at 7:01 PM on August 16, 2007

Free, easy, check out Google's Groups. You can have a customizable home/start page on any topic - in this case her study lessons, have files for others to download, a chat section, multimedia pages of lessons, etc. Check the link, take the tour, see examples, it might fit your bill.
posted by Kensational at 10:17 PM on August 16, 2007

This is definitely a burgeoning field. I know of at least one pretty substantial social-networking space for teachers that's under development right now--it won't launch for a few months, but it's meant to provide exactly the kind of sharing tools your friend is looking for. That _can't_ be the only one, so while it's not an answer right now, there are almost certainly going to be several options available by 2008.
posted by LairBob at 4:29 AM on August 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great links! I'm going to look into the WP suggestions (lord knows she won't) to see what all is involved. I'm still really surprised that teachers have so far been this far behind the web curve.
posted by Gilbert at 9:44 AM on August 17, 2007

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