All teachers have to make lesson plans for their classes every day, often written on paper which can be messy and hard to organize. By writing lesson plans on paper, it is often hard for teachers to incorporate various media sources, such as videos or websites, into the activities in class. There will always be absent students who miss out on the lesson plan of the day and it is a struggle to give them the work that they missed because they miss what you talk about off of your lesson that day. Overall, handwritten lessons are a hassle to handle on a day-to-day basis. Thanks to the vast online resources that are out there for teachers, there is a way for teachers to create interactive lesson plans online.
Alchemy SmartBinder is a tool for teachers to create an online “binder” that contains different course subjects where lessons can be created. These online lessons can include text examples, videos, files, images and links to websites. A mastery question can be created for each of these aspects of the lesson and the answer data can be looked at in pie charts or bar graphs. This tool allows teachers to incorporate course standards into each component of their lesson, even letting teachers create their own standards. Each lesson includes whether it is designated as in-class work or at-home work.
The YouTube video below, Lesson Delivery and Student Data in SmartBinder, briefly shows the components of a lesson, how students view it and how teachers can view the data. This video fails to demonstrate how the lessons are created and how they can be shared with students.
The Alchemy SmartBinder created an additional video advertisement in Vimeo that describes some of the features of their tool, which is seen in the video below.
I created a sample lesson plan using Alchemy SmartBinder about Westward expansion to show how the tool works. I incorporated the multiple types of features that can be used in a lesson, such as videos and pictures. The image to the left shows what a sample lesson plan would look like from the teacher’s point.
After the Lesson title is created using the Add Material key, + on the bar along the lesson title, the lesson material can be added. For each type of material, there is the ability to provide student instructions, any information you want the students, notes that you want to include for only you to view and inserting a mastery multiple choice question. There is not a limit on how many text, image, file, video and web materials are included in each lesson.
The student view of the lessons are different than what the teacher sees. Once the lesson is created the teacher can send students the link to the in-class material and the at-home material. My sample lesson includes both in-class material and at-home material, which the students can complete on any device that connects to the internet. The student view of the in-class material in my sample lesson is shown to the left.
In Richard Byrne’s blog, Free Technology for Teachers, his post titled Create, Organize, and Share Lessons In Alchemy SmartBinder he discusses how the tool efficiently organizes and creates lesson plans online. He discusses how this is a great tool for sharing lesson plans with students, parents and other teachers. Paper lesson plans often get lost and are very hard to give out to parents. With this tool, a teacher can create lesson plans for each unit and send the link to all of the parents in the classroom ensuring they know what their children are learning. Alchemy SmartBinder also allows any student who was absent to complete the lesson, either at-home or in-class material, outside of the classroom and still remain connected to the learning that is occurring in the class.
To find out more on the uses of Alchemy SmartBinder, visit some of these sites:
- Alchemy Learning Launches SmartBinder is a post that describes some of the benefits of the tool.
- Alchemy SmartBinder: The Free Digital Lesson Binder is an excellent post from Ed Tech Roundup about the different steps in creating a lesson.
- Alchemy SmartBinder is a brief post that discusses the purpose of using this tool.
- Alchemy Learning’s YouTube Channel features four videos that briefly discuss the features of the tool.
A similar cool tool that students and teachers can use to create presentations and lessons is Metta, which is discussed in Sara’s post Metta: A New Kind of Presentation.
I hope you think Alchemy SmartBinder is as great of a tool as I think it is. Have fun creating your own online lessons! Do you think this is a tool you would use in your future classroom? Did you find it easy to create lessons with this tool? How effective is using online lesson plans, rather than paper lesson plans? Thanks for reading!