Is it worth the cash?
I was browsing through the App Store (remember my buying advice? If not check it out here) and came across this lesson planning program and thought I’d give it a try. Of course you can’t do that through the App store, but I went the to developers website (Hellmansoft) and found it five dollars cheaper and a free trial. The program is solid I’ll say that right now. The real question I have, is it worth $35 (from the App store) or $30 (from the developers site) direct from the site? I mean I currently use iCal for my lesson plans so have I changed my mind? To get my answer, you guessed it, you have to read on past the break.
As I mentioned above, this program is solid. It’s well thought out, well laid out, and has a small learning curve. Yes, there is a learning curve, but it is due to the fact that there are so many options that it may take a little time to figure out what everything does, what you can do, and where everything is. Hellmansoft has some quick instructional videos that are easy to follow and get you up and running in no time. Another thing I do like about Planbook is that it works with Mac and PC, so no matter what platform you are using at work Planbook will work with you.
When you open up Planbook for the first time, you will need to fill out some basic information: the start and beginning of school, the courses you teach, what days of the week you teach, and what type of schedule you work on. Like I said above, this is a well thought out program.
Once that is done, it is time to start planning. You will see a weekly layout of your classes, the dates up top. On the right hand side is where you will enter in your information for your daily lesson. There are three categories (all of which can be changed) and a place for you to add attachments.
Let’s check out that right panel a little closer. I’ve filled it out and here is what it looks like on the right. It will color code all of your lesson plans, so it is easy to quickly scan and view all of your lesson plans.
You can also change the view from day, to week, to month which makes it really easy to get an overview or focus on details about a particular lesson. You can also add standards and quickly add them to your lesson so you can see if you’re meeting all the requirements of your state. What also makes Planbook really nice is the fact that you can upload the lessons to a remote server. You can upload to your own server, MobileMe or a free server on Planbook.com. This is nice. This means that they are public and others can view them. Also you can sync Planbook with iCal too if that contains your life.
There are a lot of other features here, but I don’t want this review to drag on and on. Let’s move onto my decision. Is Planbook worth your hard earned money? My verdict is no. Now, now, now before some of you out there get all huffy and puffy and start pointing out the virtues of Planbook and how it is worth MORE than the current cost. Here’s why I’m gong to pass.
My school does not require me to submit lesson plans. My school does however expect me to put my unit plans on Atlas Rubicon (a curriculum mapping website). I already do my lesson plans on iCal. I also use Edmodo and Edline to publish all my assignments onlineI just don’t have the need for this program. It could be ten bucks and I’ll probably pass. I just have no need for it.
On the other hand, if your school DOES require those lesson plans and if you collaborate with a few teachers and/or have no way to publish your lesson plans, then this may very well be what you are looking for. Like I said it is polished and a well made program, I just have no need for it in my educational pursuits right now. Feel free to agree or disagree with your comments below.