A Lesson Planning Power Tool – TeacherCal
TeacherCal is a feature-filled lesson planning calendar for teachers that integrates beautifully with Google Drive. To call it Google Calendar for teachers is a serious understatement. In addition to letting teachers plan lessons and units of study, it automatically organizes all resources within Google Drive, provides students with an easy way to access those plans and resources, and lets teaches roll their courses over to new calendar dates for future classes. TeacherCal is an organizational power tool for lesson planning.
Note: TeacherCal was free when this post was written. It’s currently available for $30/year, or 10/year with 5 or more accounts.
Since the real power of TeacherCal is it’s amazing Google Drive integration, you’ll want to sign up using your Google Account. Next you will specify the start and end dates of your course (school year, semester, etc.). This feature allows your course calendar to be rolled over to later dates for future classes.
Google Drive Integration
One of my favorite features is the ability to create new Google Files from within TeacherCal. When adding courses, units, lessons, events, etc. teachers are given the option to add a link, upload a file, or create a new file (Doc, Sheet, Slides, Form). TeacherCal organizes all files automatically for you in Google Drive (more on this below).
Next you’ll enter some basic information to create your first course. You are also given the option of syncing events from this calendar to any of your other Google Calendars. TeacherCal will automatically create a folder for your course in Google Drive.
Position your mouse over your course name and select Add Unit. Give your unit a title and start and end dates. You can also add standards, objectives, and attachments you would like. TeacherCal automatically creates folders for each unit in the course folder in Google Drive. Units are also color coded on the calendar, making it easier to see the big picture at a glance. You can continue to add other units, or work on your first unit and add them later.
Clicking on a date in the calendar will give you the option to add an event for that day. Select an Event Type: Assignment, Project, Lesson, Quiz, Test, Lab, Other. You can also include objectives, standards, and instructions. The same variety of attachments options that are available throughout EduSync can be added. Folders are also created for each event type you use within the corresponding unit’s folder in Google Drive.
Give Students Access
The student side of TeacherCal, EddyCal, is an incredibly simplified way for students to access the resources that their teachers have placed in TeacherCal. Student registration is very simple. Students simply enter the course code, provided by the teacher, when they sign up for an EddyCal account. Google Accounts are recommended, but not required. Students can still access the main features of EddyCal without a Google account.
The EddyCal interface consists of 3 panels:
- Courses I’m Taking – Students can select which of their courses they would like to view.
- My Agenda – Shows the events in that student’s selected courses. Students can filter events by event type (i.e. only show upcoming quizzes). Clicking on an event brings up that event’s full attributes along with access to any attachments.
- Communications – This is where class messages from the teacher appear.
Teachers can choose to enable Google Classroom integration in their setting menu. This will enables the “Classroom Share” button on all of your TeacherCal events. This option only works with Google Apps for Education accounts.
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