MTNA resources

It was such a pleasure to speak at the MTNA National Conference in Orlando today!  I loved seeing old friends and making new ones.  I hope that I was able to inspire you to start thinking about how YOU can use the flipped classroom approach in your studios.

I hope everyone grabbed a printed handout at the conference, but if you didn’t, that’s OK!  I’ve highlighted everything I covered in the talk here in this blog post, with links to the resources that I use to create my online courses and resources for my students.

Dream big everyone – let’s create new and exciting resources for our piano students that will continue to educate students for years to come.

Here are the resources that I use. (Click on the titles to be directed to the webpage.)

Teachery

If you want example of amazing customer service, this is it!  I’ve been using Teachery for my course platform creation for several years now, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s easy to use, intuitive, clean, and integrates payments seamlessly.  Their customer service is one thing I absolutely love – Jason, the owner, replies back to questions within minutes of asking.  I love the care and attention that he gives to his customers.  Yes, you will have to pay a monthly fee to use this service, but if you are creating a course for your own studio, perhaps you can charge a technology fee to offset this.  You can create course modules, link to video content, link to PDF files, embed additional files, set up comments, add affiliates, and much more.  I love this platform.  If you are curious about Jason, the developer, you can read about an interview that I did with him in this blog post.  

PianoProgram Music Theory Course

This is the music theory course that I created for my own students, and I also offer it for sale to other students and piano teachers.  I have levels 1-7 created, and I’m working on developing levels 8-12 by the end of this year.  You can have your students purchase the levels individually (a steal at $15 per level per student), or you can purchase a studio license for all each level or for all levels.  I’m going to be offering a studio bundle license for all MTNA members soon, where you can purchase all of the levels for a one time fee.  Interested in receiving the offer or just want to know more?  Fill out the form below and I’ll email you more info.

Google Classroom

Free.  Need I say more?  You can link your google classroom to your students’ google accounts (or their parents’ accounts) to interact with your students at home.  Assign videos to watch, or PDFs to read, or multiple choice tests through google forms.  Encourage student interaction through discussion comments, or set up a practice challenge.  Honestly, the possibilities are endless through this platform.

Quizlet

Create a quiz about anything!  Quizlet uses a flashcard format, as well as other format, such as matching, memory games, etc.  If you don’t want to create your own set, there are other sets created by other teachers that you can use.

Kahoot

Such a fun way to get your students to interact together!  This is always a blast when I use this during studio class.  Create your content beforehand (or use another set that another teacher has already created), and then do live games with your students when you have them all together for lab time or studio class.

Evernote

Organize and share notes, files, videos, recording, etc. with your students.

Go Formative

I don’t use this resource (yet) but it is used by a lot of public school teachers and integrates well with Google Classroom.

Ipad apps

The iPad apps that I mentioned during my lecture were: Tenuto, Piano Maestro, Note Rush, Notion, Heads Up, Quizlet, & Book Creator.

There are hundreds more apps that you can also use to create your own content, or use content that others have already created.

FreshBooks


Some of you were interested in the invoicing system that I use for my studio.  This is it.  Not exactly a flipped classroom concept, but automatic credit card invoicing for lessons saves me TONS of time.  With that time, I get to create more flipped classroom lessons for my students.  🙂

Acuity Scheduling

Ditto the above.  This is not a flipped classroom resource, but having online scheduling saves me so much time.  I know some of you were interested in this concept – this is what I use!

I’d love to answer any more questions you might have about using and creating flipped classroom resources for your studio.  Feel free to email me at any time!

Creating your online course – an interview with Teachery founder Jason Zook

I’m a lifetime member of teachery.co, and I use their platform to create ALL of my courses.  It’s a wonderful platform – easy to use, simplistic, yet powerful.  I wanted to share what I love and trust with all of you in case you are looking yourself to create some online courses.  (*Disclaimer, I do receive a small affiliate fee for this referral, but this is absolutely a product that I love and obviously use myself!
 
I am preparing to present at our National Conference for MTNA.  My topic is “The flipped classroom” and how we, as teachers, can integrate online learning in music lessons.  In preparation for this event in March of 2018, I asked Jason Zook, the creator and founder of teachery.co to answer a few questions from me in an e-mail interview.  I was so excited when he agreed to this interview.  I know many of you might find this interesting as well, so here is the interview.  Enjoy!
 
1.  I read that you started Teachery after experimenting with creating some online courses yourself.  Looking at all of the accomplishments that you have had so far in your entrepreneurial career, what made you decide to commit to creating an online course platform?
 
As cliche as it sounds, it really happened by accident. When I tried to cobble together my first online course in 2013, I ended up with a really fancy WordPress website (paying a developer almost $2,000 for his time and efforts). As soon as I showed my online course to friends, they all asked what “course platform” I was using. That was a light bulb moment. From there I met my co-founder Gerlando at a conference and he mentioned he was looking for some side development work. One thing led to another and Teachery was born!
From that Teachery-birthing-moment, I’ve continued to believe that everyone has something to teach. That’s why we improve Teachery and why I continue to encourage people to jump into online learning.
 
2.  What sets Teachery apart from other course platforms?
I have two answers to this question: One is “I don’t know” and the other is “I know!” Haha.
I don’t know – Truthfully, I’ve only ever logged into one other course platform. And I think I spent all of 10 minutes until I realized there was no point in playing the comparison game. For me, and for us at Teachery, watching our competition would be a race to the bottom. We aren’t funded (by choice). We don’t have ALL the features (by choice). And we don’t want to keep up. We want to build our own little online course creation space and attract people that resonate with our decisions and ideas.
I know – All that being said, Teachery is built with user-friendliness in mind. My goal from the beginning was to make course creation intuitive and simple. You shouldn’t need a bunch of tutorials and walk-throughs to setup your first course. It should just work. As we’ve grown over the years, we have some more advanced features so we need help documentation, but we still believe Teachery is very intuitive and friendly to use.
Oh, and we also don’t charge extra fees to use Teachery. You don’t get punished and have to pay us more if you’re popular (selling your courses).
 
3.  To date, what types of courses have you seen created on Teachery?  
You name it, it’s on Teachery! There are courses on yoga, meditation, becoming a professional bowler, knitting, dog training, health and wellness, book writing, photography, parenting, coaching, art, mindfulness, productivity, crowdfunding, and probably 100 other topics I can’t think of at the moment.
 
4.  Is there a course creator that you have in mind who has successfully used Teachery to grow his or her business?  Can you elaborate on this?
We recently created a User Spotlight section in our documentation area to highlight these folks. While we only have a handful of spotlights up at the moment, there are hundreds of stories we’ve yet to tell. One that comes to mind right away is Kelsey Baldwin. Kelsey is a single mom who learned how to sell products on Etsy and make a good living. She turned her experience into an online course and was able to support herself and her daughter on revenue from that course alone. Kelsey has gone on to create multiple other courses and I’ve really enjoyed watching her journey (just as I have with many other course creators around the world!)
 
5.  How do you think online learning via a course platform such as Teachery can change the traditional form of education?
The numbers don’t lie: Online learning is disrupting formal education. It’s a $50B (with a “b”) business and it’s only getting bigger and bigger as people realize we’re in an on-demand learning economy. What I mean by that is we get to choose our teachers, our topics, and WHEN/HOW we want to be taught. No longer do you have to spend time in a fixed/rigid education system that might not work for your schedule or how you like to learn.
For me personally, I love the idea of being able to learn specific skills from specific people. If I want to learn photography from a local college/school, I’m probably not learning from someone who is taking photos for National Geographic or UNICEF. Yet, on Teachery, we have professional photographers who shoot photos for Nat Geo and UNICEF and you and I can learn from them on our own time. That’s extremely powerful. That’s the future of education as we know it.
I won’t get on a soap box about student loan debt… but let’s just say you’d have to purchase an astronomical amount of online courses to even come close to the average student loan debt a person incurs.
 
6.  If you could take any online course, what would it be about?  
That’s an interesting question, because I’ve never… not once… signed up for an online course of any kind. That may be mind-blowing coming from someone who owns an online course platform, but, I’m a consummate creator. I learn best from my own experience. I’m also extremely stubborn, so I believe I can figure everything out on my own. Hah!
That certainly doesn’t mean I think I know how to do everything, it just means that I gain incredible satisfaction (and enjoyment) from figuring things out through my own trials and tribulations.
 
7.  Are you yourself working on creating any additional online courses?  
I’ve been in creation-mode since 2013. In that time I’ve created, or co-created, over 20 online courses. That’s a lot. From a business perspective, running an effective online course can eat up a good amount of your time (especially if you’re trying to actively make money from your courses and support your students). My wife and I are trying to condense down our offerings and we may be creating a few courses together in 2018, but those will most likely be repurposed/updated version of multiple courses we’ve already created. 
 
8.  What types of additions and changes are you working on currently for the Teachery platform?
We brought on a second developer who has some ownership in Teachery this year. That was a huge decision for us, since it’s just been myself and my co-founder Gerlando since 2013. In the past six months we’ve completely redesigned our course editor, added a second course template (no small feat), beefed up our payment engine, created an affiliate system, and built out a ton of documentation. Looking ahead, we’re working on better landing/sales pages, much better image/file support within courses, and a ton of backend optimizations that will make Teachery extremely fast (and even more secure).
 
9.  As a lifetime member myself, I hope that Teachery is around for a very long time!  I’d love your comments on the future of Teachery.  
We’re super excited to have our Lifetime members, especially because we’re getting rid of that option very soon (crazy, I know!) The Lifetime Plan was an idea I had in 2015 and it’s not the best financial decision for us from a business perspective (haha!) For the first time, we’ll also be slightly raising our Monthly membership, but that won’t happen until we knock out a ton of new features.
The future is bright for Teachery. We haven’t spent a single dollar on marketing or advertising and have grown our audience and customer base solely through word of mouth. That was an intention I set at the beginning of Teachery, and I’d like to continue that way. I believe if our platform is great and our customer service is stellar, awesome folks like yourself will do our marketing and advertising for us. It’s worked so far, no reason we can’t keep doing that for many years to come!