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BetterLesson, social networking and sharing lesson plans

The beta login to BetterLesson showed up in my inbox last week and I’m a bit torn. The concept is a good great one but am concerned that it’ll end up not much different that other lesson plan dumping grounds like this, this or this. was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to help educators organize and share their curricula.

We are committed to saving educators from “reinventing the wheel,” giving them more time to focus on creating innovative content, delivering innovative content, grading, tutoring, analyzing data, communicating with parents, finishing paperwork, and sleeping.

We are also committed to connecting educators within and across diverse instructional and geographic communities. Our first core principle is that meaningful collaboration among educators is the key to creating and delivering the highest quality instruction.

How can you disagree with that? Started by teachers with the intent of saving us the trouble of “reinventing the wheel” by building collaborative communities?

I like the idea of a site that facilitates my interaction with other teachers and encourages a sense of a “one for all, all for one” mentality. I really like the interface – BetterLesson has a clear Facebook look and feel to it that is very inviting with BetterLesson colleagues and networks replacing Facebook friends and groups. Clicking the tab to find other “colleagues” in my content area is nice. The search function works well enough, providing a a way for users to track down lessons by keyword, grade level, content area and file format. And the ability to preview lessons is pretty slick.


There doesn’t seem any way for content to be evaluated by users, no rating system or clear attempt to feature outstanding units. No easy way to find a “good” lesson from the results without a lot of work. Hopefully the BetterLesson people are working on correcting this for the final version.

So I like the idea but . . .

. . . deep down, it’s not the idea or the interface or even the shared content that is the problem. What I’m concerned about is that not enough teachers will use it in the way that I think it was intended – as a place where teachers can actually invent, grow and share ideas, not just busy work. The idea of BetterLesson is such a good one that I don’t want it to become simply a place for harried, overworked teachers to quickly find low-level worksheets and activities.

Head over and sign up for your own beta login. It really is worth your time and I’m convinced that the site will become very useful! And here’s hoping that together, both users and creators, we’ll eventually develop a truly collaborative and growing community!

(Just found an interview with BetterLesson’s CEO by Dan Meyer that gives a bit more insight into BetterLesson’s development.)

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