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Where Does all the Money Go? Free and Paid Transactions on TeachersPayTeachers.com

by Matthew J. Koehler, Catharyn C. Shelton, Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Spencer P. Greenhalgh - October 23, 2020

Online curricular marketplaces such as TeachersPayTeachers.com (TPT) are challenging conventional notions of curriculum, the professionalization of educators, and the exchange of capital in P-12 education. In this research note, we explore these issues by presenting an accounting of: (a) the size and scope of TPT, (b) the number of TPT resources being downloaded, and (c) the financial transactions associated with TPT educator-storefronts. Findings indicated that TPT hosted 4,018,173 classroom resources from 208,748 educator-sellers with 1.5 billion all-time downloads and $3.9 billion in total sales. 69% of all TPT downloads were of free materials. However, an overwhelming 81% of total TPT sales were attributed to the top 1% of educator-sellers (n = 1,524). TPT’s massive scope suggests it has introduced an important disruption in P-12 curriculum, with implications for the professionalization of educators. Furthermore, TPT’s unequal distribution of wealth across educator-sellers suggests disparities in the extent to which individual sellers are part of this disruption.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 23, 2020
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23478, Date Accessed: 11/30/2020 9:17:37 PM

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About the Author
  • Matthew Koehler
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    MATTHEW J. KOEHLER, Ph.D., is a professor of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at the College of Education at Michigan State University. His work explores the pedagogical affordances (and constraints) of newer technologies for learning, the development of the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, and digital research methods for studying educational processes in social media and digital spaces. You can learn more about his work at http://matt-koehler.com/vita.
  • Catharyn Shelton
    Northern Arizona University
    E-mail Author
    CATHARYN C. SHELTON, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of education at Northern Arizona University. She studies how teachers lead, learn, and collaborate in virtual spaces. A recent publication on the topic of teacherpreneurs can be found at: Shelton, C. C., & Archambault, L. M. (2020). Learning from and about elite online teacherpreneurs: A qualitative examination of key characteristics, school environments, practices, and impacts. Teachers College Record, 122(7), 1-44.
  • Jeffrey Carpenter
    Elon University
    E-mail Author
    JEFFREY P. CARPENTER, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Education and Director of the Teaching Fellows Program at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. Dr. Carpenter was an English and ESOL teacher, coach, and department chair for 10 years in high schools and middle schools in Japan, Honduras, and the United States. His research focuses on educator collaboration and self-directed learning via social media and in unconference settings such as Edcamps.
  • Spencer Greenhalgh
    University of Kentucky
    E-mail Author
    SPENCER P. GREENHALGH, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Information Communication Technology in the University of Kentucky's School of Information Science. He focuses his research on the affordances and implications of digital contexts for teaching, learning, and other meaningful practices. Learn more at http://spencergreenhalgh.com
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