Want digital lesson plans? There are apps for that!

Q: Now that I’ve become more comfortable with my iPad, I’m ready to update my lesson plans and organize them in a more efficient way. What are your favorite apps for lesson plan digitization?

A:There are several apps out there, primarily focused on joining your lesson plans to a calendar for easier organizing. The two that I think do the best job are Planboard and Planbook Touch.

Planboard, at its core, is mainly text organized within a calendar—but it also allows you to embed video and pictures. If you teach in public schools, there is a place to add standards or benchmarks. The app has a library of standards, but there’s not much in it yet. You can add them yourself, though; then, for each lesson, just click on the specific parts of the standard you’re fulfilling with that lesson. There’s an option to print your lesson plan, convert it to a PDF, e-mail it or send it as a link.

Planbook Touch, which costs $9.99, is an app for iPads, Macs and PCs that is highly customizable and can be synced to your computer and tablet. You can create units for your lesson plans, add standards and tailor your plan format and schedule. It’s easy to move lesson plans from one device to another via Dropbox, and they can be synced with your calendar program. This requires some setup, but once you get the infrastructure up, it’s easy to do. The only drawback? You can’t attach video with this app.

And there are plenty of other options out there. When exploring other lesson-planning apps, narrow your search by asking yourself: How easy does the app make it to enter your lesson plan? Also, does the app allow you to group lesson plans into folders or by grade levels? This feature seems hard to come by, and finding an app that allows you to link videos to your lesson plans is rare.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends School in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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