Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Online Planbooks

This past year I converted to an online planbook midway through the year.  There were two reasons that contributed towards this decision.  First, I always found my planbook being buried underneath a pile of stuff on my desk (I admit, I’m a little messy).  What was the point of me taking time to write in my planbook if I could never find it to look at it?  The second reason was that I felt that it was a waste of me time to keep rewriting my plans year after year.  Of course I change things up, but for the most part my plans don’t change too much year to year.

The first website I came across was PlanBookEDU and this is the one that I used last year.  I really like the way that it is set up.  I teach two different classes each with an extra period on a rotating basis.  I set up my planbook to have 4 periods.  One for each of my classes and one for each of the rotating extra periods.  It’s simple to copy things to show up every day, every other day or every 4th day.  For example, I have it set up that the title LAB shows up every other day on the period I have set up for my Chemistry lab.  Now I can look ahead a few months and not have to count days to see if it’s a lab day or not.  There are a lot of other features that are also offered, that I didn’t take advantage of.  These include things like attaching files and adding in standards.  One feature that I really like and want to point out is the bumping feature.  What happens to me sometimes, and I’m sure it happens to you too, is that something comes up (fire drill, students not understanding the lesson or other interruption) and you can’t finish your lesson.  Now everything needs to be pushed back one day and PlanBookEDU has a bumping function to easily do that.

The one feature that made me pick PlanBookEDU was the fact that you could copy your entire planbook over to next year and then go in and edit individual lessons that you would want to change.  Well, last month when I went to copy last year’s plans over to next year I found out that this was one of their premium features (of which you need to pay $25 a year).  Needless to say I was more than disappointed.  I have seen discount codes for this site before, so I’m hoping one will pop up soon as I would pay $5 or $10 for this feature (because it’s so much of a time saver), but for this one feature I think $25 is just too much.  I could simply just change the dates on my current planbook, but then I would loose any record of this past year’s book.

I went looking for another website that was similar to house my planbook and I came across Planbook Maker.  Once again, there are features that are free and some that you have to pay for.  While I don’t like the interface as much as PlanbookEdu, one thing I do like is the fact that you can copy planbooks as part of their free plan.  What I don’t like is that you can’t automatically block out vacation days and you can only copy things on a daily basis, you can’t copy things to repeat every 2 or 4 days.

In the end, I have to say that I like PlanbookEDU the best, but I just hate that you have to pay for the feature that I want the most (the feature to copy the planbook year to year).

Do you utilize an online or electronic planbook?  What do you think of it?  Which one do you use?


  1. I use Planbook (by Hellmansoft). I like it. It's got a Mac, Windows, and iPad version. The one big missing feature is compatibility between the Mac and Windows versions. The developer claims that's coming this summer, though.

  2. Is it web based or a program you how to download? How much does it cost?