There is no denying there are many educational resource platforms out there. Being able to have confidence in the platform’s resources, though, is very important to picking the right one and making sure you have a quality product.
Lesson Planet is a teaching resource site where every resource is teacher-reviewed – ensuring resources are ready for the classroom. In addition, the site also offers other tools such as a curriculum manager to make the site even more valuable. However, do these features make Lesson Planet a good choice compared to platforms like Zenva Schools when it comes to teaching technology subjects?
Keep reading to learn all the primary services of Lesson Planet, what they cost, and more!
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What Is Lesson Planet?
Lesson Planet is an educational resource site with a review system where qualifying teachers review and approve the content. The review feature gives them optimal quality control and entices other educators to the site by the sheer trustability of their resources.
Lesson Planet’s initial plan was to use this review process to save teachers time searching for high-quality resources. However, their many additional features now make them a key competitor in the educational resources industry.
Who Is Lesson Planet Targeting With Their Service?
As you can most likely guess, Lesson Planet targets teachers with their services. Specifically, they want to attract teachers with their review system by giving them resources approved by other experienced educators.
By association, the site also targets homeschool parents and schools as a whole, as their resources are also applicable in those situations.
This being said, there is a notable gap in features for students. By comparison, sites like Zenva Schools do this a bit better by providing features such as courses that can be accessed at home and Certificates of Completion to help motivate individual students towards success.
Who Founded Lesson Planet?
Jim Hurley is the founder of Lesson Planet. He has experience as a teacher, and some of his best experience comes from teaching educational technology courses to other teachers (K-12).
He could see that the other teachers enjoyed finding helpful resources on the internet – but realized they spent a long time searching through insufficient resources to find the right ones.
After he realized this, he created Lesson Planet to give teachers properly reviewed resources.
What Are Lesson Planet’s Main Aims And Values?
The first aim of Lesson Planet’s founder was to use their resource review process to save time and effort for teachers when they need to find resources to construct a lesson plan. They wanted the main feature of their service to resonate with teachers the most.
Lesson Planet’s founder has additional values they ensure that all their employees have:
- Resources by teachers for teachers: As well as a teacher-reviewed system, Lesson Planet’s employees mostly choose content made by other teachers before looking elsewhere.
- Features that inspire fantastic teaching: The employees of Lesson Planet see their resources as a long-term service to improve the quality of education. They want teachers and schools to invest in their service for a long time to achieve this goal.
- Personalized student learning: Another aim of Lesson Planet is to create a personalized learning experience for students, so every student values the teaching resources.
All this said, most other platforms arguably have the same sorts of goals. For example, Zenva Schools also has its content not only reviewed by teachers, but mapped to Australian and US curriculum standards. Zenva Schools also designs their course material to be modular to a certain extent, so teachers can customize which courses will actually go into their classroom from a variety of different, fully realized topics.
What Services Does Lesson Planet Offer To Teachers?
Now you know the primary aims and values of Lesson Planet, we will take you through all of the direct services they provide to teachers, including their review system, resources, teacher training options, and more.
Here are all the primary services Lesson Planet can offer to teachers.
The Resource Reviewing System
The resource reviewing system is the feature Lesson Planet uses to attract most teachers to the site because it fulfills its primary aim: to save time for teachers and give them great resources quickly.
Here is what the qualifying teachers do to get resources ready for Lesson Planet:
- Follow the guidelines set by Lesson Planet to inspect and thoroughly review every suggested resource (researchers find the OER resources).
- Use the same process to review every teaching resource. This maintains an acceptable level of quality.
- Double check every resource to be sure they are up to standard.
- Share their ideas and teaching tips based on their own experience. This can help educators teach the lesson using the resources.
- Take Lesson Planet teacher courses to avoid missing education trends or teaching standards.
All this being said, it’s hard to say other platforms aren’t comparable in this regard. To example one, Zenva Schools not only has teachers review the content for the purposes of creating high-quality lessons plans, but also has each course made by industry experts.
In this way, Zenva Schools not only maintains a very consistent tone to the resources they provide, but ensures students are learning actual life-long skills that will be verifiably applicable to their careers.
The Teaching Resources
Because they primarily use OER resources, Lesson Planet has a lot of different teaching resource types. Some of the most popular resources types on Lesson Planet include:
- Graphic organisers
- Interactives resources
- Lab Resources
- Learning Games
- Lesson Plans
- Primary Sources (for assessments)
- Printable activities and learning resources
- Professional documents
- Study guides
- Full units
- Writing Prompts
- AP Test Prep
With this many resources across different subjects, though, as you can imagine none are particularly tailored to a specific experience. Instead, that is up to the teacher to decide.
Other platforms like Zenva Schools may be better in this instance, as they can offer full video courses where extra resources – like written text summaries, interactive lessons, and quizzes – are tailored specifically for that course. Thus, students get a more fulfilling and connected experience as they learn.
The Curriculum Manager
When a teacher saves a resource on Lesson Planet, it gets sent to their curriculum manager tool. The curriculum manager allows teachers to organize saved resources into a comprehensible curriculum, saving time and preventing teachers from having to find that resource for a second time.
However, while a good feature, this is still a lot of time and effort for teachers. It can be challenging to create a comprehensive curriculum when many of the resources are from different providers.
In contrast, Zenva Schools offers fully comprised courses that achieve many different learning goals with each one. While teachers do need to choose the courses for their classroom, the courses come fully loaded with lesson plans, supplemental materials, and more – so teachers don’t have to spend extra time looking for every small piece they want for the curriculum they want to teacher.
The Teaching Training Options
As well as giving educators resources to teach their students, Lesson Planet can also offer teacher training classes. These can involve online courses (including courses that teach them the content in a particular syllabus) and more.
Keep in mind, though, that lots of other platforms have more comprehensive professional development services. Zenva Schools, to name one example, allows teachers to access all courses on the site, with teachers receiving their own professional development section to take them. Additionally, teachers can also check out Zenva Schools’ consumer platform, Zenva Academy, to expand their skills even more.
How Is The Interface On Lesson Planet?
If you want to find a teaching resource on Lesson Planet, you must head to the “Discover Resources” or “Browse Resource Directory” section.
The “Discover Resources” page is a traditional search page with subcategories like the curriculum, subject, and resource type. The “Browse Resource Directory” splits the resources into subjects and then divides them further into resource types relating to that subject.
With so many resources, though, navigating through them can be difficult. Other platforms like Zenva Schools often offer a cleaner user interface that makes finding resources much simpler to teachers can get to the important part of their job: teaching students.
What Are Lesson Planet’s Low Points?
Despite the unique features it can offer, Lesson Planet does have a few significant setbacks that hold it back in certain situations.
First, having so many teaching resources on the site creates a problem – the tone of the resources can be wildly different because they come from various providers. While they are definitely reviewed for quality, inevitably the lesson plans created by teachers can come off feeling confusing or less engaging.
Likewise, the layout on Lesson Planet can also be incredibly confusing because there are two completely separate functions to find resources and a ton of different filters. If you know exactly what you want, it works out fine. But for first-time users, there’s just a lot of choice overload.
Lastly, while the number of resources offered are great, they don’t offer a lot of other tools that other services offer unless you’re part of a school that is purchasing a bigger bulk package.
Taking a look at Zenva Schools again, while the amount of content is much smaller and specifically focused on digital technologies, the tone is much more consistent. Everything is designed by the same key industry experts to ensure ultimate quality. Less content also means teachers don’t have to sift through hundreds of resources to find what they want.
In addition, Zenva Schools also offers plenty of additional tools for teachers, including extensive classroom management tools, lesson mapping to both Australian and US curricula, and analytics to find which students are struggling.
What Are The Pricing Tiers For The Lesson Planet Subscription?
There are two main pricing tiers for Lesson Planet.
The first Lesson Planet tier is the pro tier and costs $108 per year. The features in the tier include:
- 2.5 million teacher-reviewed resources (new resources come in daily)
- A resource collection builder that allows you to find, edit, and share the resources on the site.
- Multiple resource research options
- The option to save resources and add them to a curriculum
- A secure storage section to store your saved curriculums (1000GB).
- A support system for members.
The second tier is the Learning Explorer tier for schools. You need to get a demo and a quote to purchase this tier. It comes with everything in the Pro tier and some additional features, including:
- Admin management and reporting tools.
- Unlimited storage to save any created curriculums.
- A complete onboarding system is performed by an account success manager
This is fairly comparable with other services though. Zenva Schools offers its service via a yearly subscription that is priced per number of students needed. For this price, though, teachers unlock everything – both the content and their administrative and analytics tool. Thus, plenty of other platforms can match or beat Lesson Planet in terms of services offered.
Do The Features On Lesson Planet Make It A Useful Tool For Teachers?
Lesson Planet can be a good tool in the right circumstances. If you’re the sort of teacher who likes to meticulously plan their curriculum, this is a good platform choice. You can be assured that the resources are vetted and that you have tools to support this endeavor.
However, if you want to save your voice and time, there are a lot of better competitors out there. Zenva Schools offers plenty of technology content, for example, while providing useful classroom tools that save time on organization and planning as well. Thus, it’s a more robust time-saver with content sure to engage students.
This by no means Lesson Planet is bad though – remember to review your options, and remember that you can use multiple platforms to help support the student learning journey!
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