Amazon is entering the teacher-driven lesson plan trade with a new service called Amazon Ignite, allowing vetted educators to sell their lesson plans and other self-created resources. The products will also appear in regular Amazon search results, according to EdSurge.
Teachers will be selected by Amazon to participate in the program, a practice the company implemented as a measure to avoid copyright infringement.
The resources are organized in the Digital Educational Resources store, with prices currently ranging between $3 for a pack of exercises to $29.95 for workbooks.
The internet has made it easier for teachers to sell their lesson plans and resources as a means to supplement their income. But as more teachers find markets for their materials, the risk of copyright infringement increases.
For example, educators reported widespread copyright infringement of both their work and commercial resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, another popular online marketplace for teacher-created materials. Some have argued that a lack of educator familiarity with copyright laws is at the heart of the problem, though primers are available online to help alleviate that need.
While borrowing intellectual property for educational purposes in the classroom generally falls under fair use, for example, selling any resources that include copyrighted material is not protected.
The teacher-created resources market took off a few years ago after some teachers reportedly made millions by selling their lessons through Teachers Pay Teachers. Though critics argued the sales of teacher materials would harm the sharing culture, others said teachers would pay for this material regardless. This way, the funds can go to another teacher instead of a large corporation.
As an income supplement, the practice may also be preferable to taking on additional jobs. A Pew Research Center report found 16% of public school teachers work extra jobs in the summer, and another 18% had second jobs during the school year. This may be due to the fact teacher salaries have not kept up with inflation. According to the National Education Association’s salary benchmark data, teacher’s salaries have dropped 4.5% since the 2009-10 school year, when adjusted for inflation.