Planbook: The traditional teacher planbook powerfully implemented

August 16, 2007 in Educational (E)


Planbook is software designed for teachers and professors that use Mac OS X. Planbook is a computerized replacement for the traditional paper plan book used by teachers all around the world. While Planbook replicates the features of the paper book, it offers the benefits provided by computers as well. Teachers will save hours of time by using Planbook and can spend their precious planning time preparing engaging lessons rather than searching throughout their classrooms for scattered papers.

Pricing and Availability:
Planbook is available only via download; A trial version of Planbook can be downloaded and allows entry of up to 20 lessons per course. Registering Planbook is as simple as using a menu item built into the software that allows the purchase of a license for 30 USD. Site-licensing options are available on request.

At its simplest, Planbook allows teachers to record, organize and print updatable lesson plans including homework assignments. Planbook features a simple, intuitive interface for lesson entry.

Planbook expands on the paper plan book by allowing teachers to attach handouts directly to their lesson entry. Currently, teachers look in their paper plan book to see what handouts they need and then physically locate the paper documents. With Planbook, teachers simply double click on an attached handout (in any file format) and can modify and print what they need. Teachers can also attach web links to their plans for those times they want to use any resource available on the web.

Planbook also features rich reporting capabilities. Often, teachers and administrators want to see a hard copy of a weeks worth of lessons. Planbook enables you to print professionally formatted weekly reports for posting on your classroom wall, submission to administrators, sharing with colleagues or for archival purposes.

Planbook also allows teachers to create fully customized reports that help teachers manage absentee students or track time spent on any number of user-defined tasks. When a student misses a week of school with an illness, teachers can simply run a report for the week of school missed and hand the student a printout with what they missed, including homework. Providing handouts is again a two-click process.

Planbook also enables teachers to tag lessons with keywords of their choosing. Teachers can organize lessons by unit, track the educational standards addressed by each lesson, monitor time spent on grant-related activities in the classroom or keep track of any other needed activity. Tagging is simple and the reporting feature allows teachers to see lessons tagged only with certain keywords and even lets teachers see statistical data about their lessons.

Publishing to the web or .Mac is a one-click process. Once the teacher has entered the necessary information (ftp server or .Mac username), right clicking on any lesson enables instant publishing. Planbook automatically builds monthly calendars for each course a teacher teaches and links in these calendars allow retrieval of the lesson plan entered by the teacher. Attached handouts are published to the web so students may download what was used in class should they forget their assignment at school or need another copy. Of course, teachers have the ability to choose which handouts are published- tests, for example, can easily be excluded from the publishing process.

Searching your planbook couldn't be easier with the built in live-updating search box. Simply enter a word and Planbook begins looking for lessons containing that information. If you ever need to know when you taught a certain topic, search will save you precious time.

Planbook also features tools to help deal with schedule changes. If you miss a day for any reason (weather, for example), you can simply "bump" that day's lessons to the next. Holidays can be entered and are reflected in the published output.

Planbook is designed and programmed by a full-time teacher for other teachers. Teachers always need more time in the day and Planbook reclaims the time spent organizing so teachers have more time to do what they love: Teach!

Hellmansoft is a company founded by Jeff Hellman. Hellmansoft focuses on developing Mac and Windows software to help teachers manage their teaching lives. Jeff is also a full time Physics and Chemistry teacher at Elmira High School in Elmira, Oregon (15 miles west of Eugene, OR). Hellmansoft is located in Eugene, Oregon.


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