What Teachers Want Most From Learning Resources
Forty years ago the world’s first personal computers—the Commodore PET and the Apple II—were just introduced, “learning by doing” had become passé, teacher-centered instruction was taking hold, and supplemental materials were hard to come by. The needs of students and teachers were quickly changing, and to keep pace with the changes, many teachers were creating their own lessons, syllabi, and other materials for the classroom.
Amid the changing technology, pedagogy, and standards of 40 years ago, Teacher Created Materials was founded by former teacher Rachelle Cracchiolo. What teachers teach, the methods they use, and how students best learn have changed significantly many times over since the late 1970s, but the need for quality resources has not. We asked Rachelle what makes a great educational resource, and she told us that the best materials are:
1. Easy to use: Teachers need materials to be accessible and easy to fit in with their other resources and curriculum. They should be able to use them all seamlessly.
2. Thoroughly researched and tested: Teachers need materials that are compiled and curated with all the best information available for a subject matter, curriculum, or class. There may be hundreds of hours of editing, illustrating, writing, and creating content for teachers and students to ensure the quality standards meet expectations.
3. Factual and trustworthy: Teachers must be able to trust the accuracy and professionalism of the materials they’re teaching.
4. Differentiated: Teachers have multiple levels of learners in the classroom. Resources need to be applicable and relevant to all students in order to provide an equitable learning experience for everyone.
5. Realistic and Practical: Teachers need resources that they know will really work in their classrooms, and can be used during the allotted class time with realistic expectations.
The need for quality resources that inspire curiosity and learning remains as important as it did 40 years ago. No matter the format, the materials must be engaging to keep students’ attention and build them into lifelong learners.
There are many free resources available, but what makes Teacher Created Materials and other commercial publisher materials’ different is the way the products are curated, written, edited, and illustrated, often resulting in hundreds of hours of work to make the materials relevant and aligned with standards. This results in the kind of educational resources teachers enjoy using and students are engaged with.