Even though I was absolutely against getting iPads (I was, and am, far more in favour of Android devices – more flexibility in purchasing options, cheaper… Just better!), one of the things that made me happy to get any tablet at work was that I could stop carrying around both a diary and a teacher planner. Unfortunately it’s taken me six months to find an app that I’m happy to use in place of my teacher planner. That app is Planboard.
You need to register to use it, but it’s free (sticking to my plan to avoid paying for apps for as long as possible – six months in and I haven’t touched my iTunes card). I found it easiest to start navigating and setting up my timetable etc by using the web version. I’ll admit, it did take a lot of mucking about with it to get it right.
Set up your semester (you can do this for a whole year), and then start inputting your classes. You can set up your timetable to reflect one or two weeks and a host of other options.
Your overall timetable should look something like this:
You also have the option of creating lesson plan templates that you can attach to particular lessons. This is useful if, like me, you teach across different departments and there are different planning requirements.
Once this set up is done, you can start planning lessons. I’ve been doing this on the iPad, but you can also continue to do this on the web version. To input your lesson, click on the edit button for that lesson. A fairly simple text editor appears:
You can type in the details of your lesson, add pictures or video if necessary, and you can also upload files relevant to that lesson. The free version of the app has a 500MB storage limit. A one year subscription to Planboard Pro, with 3GB of storage, is $29.95. It’s an expense I don’t really see the point for, given that I have cloud storage and all of my lesson resources are also on my network drive.
There are three options to view your planning – by day, week or by class.
One thing that I really like, given that I have a touch of OCD about my planner, is the facility to move or copy lessons. We’ve all been there – you have something planned and things change unexpectedly. You don’t have the right resources, there’s an unplanned assembly, you’re off sick and need to do something different for cover – whatever. I *hate* scribbling things out in my planner (and don’t particularly like writing in pencil either!). Planboard allows you to either move a lesson to a date of your choice, or to simply copy it. We do spelling every Tuesday and Friday period 1, so I can copy it week by week if I’m feeling to lazy to type it in.
Another great feature is the ability to search for lessons. You can also search for things like common core standards, but as it’s irrelevant to teaching in the UK, I haven’t had need for that. It’s worthwhile taking a look through some of the published lessons for ideas. You can also publish your own lesson.
Finally, you can also share your planning by printing, saving as PDF and emailing. I haven’t been using Planboard for long, but it certainly seems to meet my rather exacting needs.