AFT reports that earlier this month Share My Lesson—the only 100-percent free, online hub for educators and parents to share and find lesson plans, professional development and resources for instruction—has reached one million registered users nationwide, making it the most successful open education resource site for educators, by educators.
Share My Lesson, created and powered by AFT, has more than 415,000 resources from educators around the country as well as 300 well-known curriculum providers such as PBS NewsHour Extra, iCivics and the National Science Foundation. SML resources have been downloaded more than 11 million times since the site was created in 2012.
“We launched Share My Lesson because teachers told us repeatedly they needed more support, especially finding lesson plans and materials aligned with the continued introduction of new academic standards. And SML will continue to fill the void,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said, adding that the most popular content includes help with classroom management, lessons on math and English language arts, and classroom discussion guides on current events.
“When people have questions about how to teach about an election, particularly this one, we are there. When there are new math or science standards, we are there. When there’s a historic event, we are there with lessons, videos, webcasts and more. SML gives educators resources in a nonpartisan, non-evaluative way,” Weingarten said. “We’re using technology as a way for educators to connect with one another, not to replace the human element of teaching, but to better address the needs of their students.”
She said Share My Lesson is a good reflection of what AFT is all about. “It’s in our DNA to help educators, and that starts with fighting for, finding and providing them with the tools and support they need to succeed in the classroom,” Weingarten said. “Supporting our members is union work, and that’s demonstrated by devoting a portion of our budget to SML.”
While some content providers have created marketplaces and other ways to monetize or profit from resources that teachers, schools, kids and parents need, Share My Lesson will always be free to use and will never sell ads. It’s also unique because it offers web-based professional development and blogs contributed by active SML educators or curriculum designers.
AFT is responding to what SML’s one million users are saying they want—not just for SML to be an instrument to upload and download lesson plans, but also to provide more classroom management materials, more professional development opportunities, and blogs to help empower educators.
“Over the next five years, we expect SML to become the destination for anyone looking for ways to support their teaching and help kids succeed,” said Elena Balint, director of SML, adding that it also plans to add more resources for parents and higher education faculty and students.