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Culturally Relevant Curriculum Materials in the Age of Social Media and Curation


by Sihua Hu, Kaitlin T. Torphy & Amanda Opperman - 2019

Social media and other virtual resource pools (VRPs) have emerged as spaces wherein teachers can connect with other educators and acquire curriculum materials. Though teachers actively engage online, seeking and accessing alternative curriculum materials, little is known about how these efforts may impact culturally relevant education for students with diverse languages, literacies, and cultural practices in the classrooms. Situated in Ladson-Billings’s work on culturally relevant pedagogy, this chapter outlines a framework for selecting and evaluating culturally relevant curriculum materials and applies it in a prominent virtual space: Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT). We find that there is a lack of opportunity for deep engagement in culturally relevant education as evidenced in resources found on TpT. This finding suggests unique challenges as well as opportunities for educators and researchers to leverage resources and knowledge from the cloud to the classroom. We conclude with a discussion of these challenges and opportunities from the perspectives of four groups of actors: (1) the creators and curators of curriculum materials, (2) the prosumers who proactively seek out resources and leverage VRPs, (3) the educators who commit to preparing or guiding teachers using VRPs, and (4) the researchers who study the virtual space for education quality and equity.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 14, 2019, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23043, Date Accessed: 8/20/2019 1:32:58 AM

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About the Author
  • Sihua Hu
    Northwestern University
    E-mail Author
    SIHUA HU is a postdoctoral fellow on the COHERE project at Northwestern University. Her research examines various dimensions of mathematics teachers’ teaching quality and how teaching quality is related to teachers’ social networks within school walls as well as in the virtual space. Dr. Hu was a co-PI for an American Education Research Association conference convened in October 2018 at Michigan State University on social media and education. She holds a PhD in mathematics education and an MS in statistics from Michigan State University. Dr. Hu’s recent work with colleagues titled “What Do Teachers Share Within Socialized Knowledge Communities: A Case of Pinterest” was published by the Journal of Professional Capital and Community. In that article, Hu and colleagues characterized the types and the cognitive demand of the mathematics curriculum materials curated by a sample of early-career teachers within Pinterest and explored how early-career teachers made connections among these different kinds of resources with a new methodology: epistemic network analysis. A recent publication is: Hu, S., Torphy, K., Opperman, A., Jansen, K., & Lo, Y. (2018). What do teachers share within socialized knowledge communities: A case of Pinterest. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 3(2), 97–122.
  • Kaitlin Torphy
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    KAITLIN TORPHY is the lead researcher and founder of the Teachers in Social Media Project at Michigan State University. This project considers the intersection of cloud to class, the nature of resources within virtual resource pools, and implications for equity as educational spaces grow increasingly connected. Dr. Torphy conceptualizes the emergence of a teacherpreneurial guild in which teachers turn to one another for instructional content and resources. She has expertise in teachers’ engagement across virtual platforms, teachers’ physical and virtual social networks, and education policy reform. Dr. Torphy was a co-PI and presenter for an American Education Research Association conference convened in October 2018 at Michigan State University on social media and education. She has published work on charter school impacts, curricular reform, and teachers’ social networks, and has presented work regarding teachers’ engagement within social media at the national and international level. Her other work examines diffusion of sustainable practices across social networks within The Nature Conservancy. Dr. Torphy earned a PhD in education policy with a specialization in the economics of education from Michigan State University in 2014 and is a Teach for America alumna and former Chicago Public Schools teacher. A recent publication is: Hu, S., Torphy, K., Opperman, A., Jansen, K., & Lo, Y. (2018). What do teachers share within socialized knowledge communities: A case of Pinterest. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 3(2), 97–122.
  • Amanda Opperman
    Michigan State University
    E-mail Author
    AMANDA OPPERMAN is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the decision-making and teaching practices of mathematics teachers, particularly alternatively certified teachers. She has presented and published work related to teachers’ use of social media, novice teachers’ lesson planning practices, and preservice teachers’ developing conceptualizations of classroom culture. One recent publication, titled “What Do Teachers Share Within Socialized Knowledge Communities: A Case of Pinterest,” featured the results of work by Opperman and colleagues to categorize the type and rate the cognitive demand of the mathematics teaching materials selected for saving and sharing on social media by a sample group of early-career elementary teachers. In the article, Opperman and colleagues also used epistemic network analysis to explore how the teachers drew connections between these resources. A recent publication is: Hu, S., Torphy, K., Opperman, A., Jansen, K., & Lo, Y. (2018). What do teachers share within socialized knowledge communities: A case of Pinterest. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 3(2), 97–122.
 
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