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Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Part 5 - Editable vs. Non-Editable

What do you mean it's non-editable? I eat it all the time!

Yes, I know. Bad pun. Just remember, I am both a grandfather and a middle school teacher (in that order, I hope), so I am allowed to make bad puns. Just ask my kids. They have learned to groan softly so as not to disturb the class next door.

To be editable, or not to be editable, that is the paraphrase...

So to topic...should you create your resources in an editable format or not? Believe it or not, this is one of the most often asked questions I read in chat rooms about product creation, so if you are asking it, don't feel alone! The short answer is...it depends. It depends on what the product is, how 
Power Words! FREE Introductory Set
much flexibility you need to provide your customers, and what the expected outcome should be. For example, Suzanne and I have a line we call "Power Words! Vocabulary Building Flashcards and Word Wall". Each set of cards has 24 cards (approximately). Each card has: a vocabulary word; it's part of speech for this card; verb tenses, if appropriate; a sentence showing the proper usage as an example; and, finally, a student-friendly definition. These are all non-editable. If a teacher doesn't like one of the words, they can remove the card. If they want to give students an additional definition, they are welcome to do so. But, they don't need to be able to change the cards.

However, we also have products that we KNOW teachers may need or want to tweek, such as the Writing with FRAMEs that we discussed in Part 3 of the series. A teacher who was interested in the product asked if the sentence stems were editable. This immediately hit me as a great idea, so, four hours later, they were! I let her know, and she purchased them. And so did a LOT of other people! Another item I make editable is our "Focus on Grammar" series, which I will discuss shortly.  

Creating Editable Content Resources for Your Store and Customers

Now, a little bit of less than stellar news. If you are going to provide your customers with a product/resource that they can edit for their classroom needs, you are going to follow all of the steps outlined in Part 3. When I created our "Focus on Grammar" series, each slide had to be worked four times to have everything flattened that needed to be flattened, and everything animated that needed animation. And I created a full year's worth of grammar bell work...in less than 14 days. Who said anything about having summers off? Why do it? Two reasons.

180 DAYS of Grammar
Bell Ringers
First... I will never have to create another bell ringer in my life.

Second...Cha-ching sounds really nice!

Now, why do it the way I did, with all the extra steps? First, once you get used to it, the extra steps (the flattening) don't take a long time. Second, I wasn't making it just for my classes to use, or my own use. When you add Entrepreneur to the Teacher-Author label, you can no longer think in terms of your room or your school. Now, instead of looking at it through a magnifying glass and seeing how it impacts the learning of 24 kids at a time, you have to look at it through a spy satellite lens, so to speak, and see how it could impact a global classroom of a few million students at one time.

Before you panic, here is an important fact to remember. You are the expert in how to teach, and reach, your students. And although your students are uniquely themselves, and they are not the same as my students who are also uniquely themselves (Thank God, right?), your students and my students together become our students; between these groups, there are enough areas of commonality that, grade level and background knowledge being similar, what is sound pedagogical practice in my classroom is sound pedagogical practice in your classroom, and vice versa. This means that what works for you may work for me. I say may because there are always other variables. Some of my lessons don't work in my partner's classroom next door, and some of hers don't work in mine, let alone in classrooms in other hemispheres!

This last point is the reason that "Focus on Grammar" is a line of products in a series, and not just one product as well. It is made up of six 6-week sections, or units, which can stand alone, but also build off the preceding units. Would you spend $42 (US) for a one-year product that might not work for your class? Doubtful! Would you spend $7 (US) for a 6-week product that might work in your class so you can try it with fidelity? Quite possibly! (So why haven't you yet? 😁) Additionally, when we bundle our 6-part series into one "Bundle", we then discount the $42 to $33.60 (US), and offer a refund on the original $7 purchase. Upsell! Would you like fries with that?

By creating it as a line of products, I am giving my customers the option of purchasing one 6-week part of the whole program to try and experiment with. Hopefully, they will return for the rest of the program later - which many have! This came from thinking globally and not locally.

So what is editable in these PPTs? Vocabulary word lists, and animations. The vocabulary words that we use in "Focus on Grammar" are also the vocabulary words from our "Power Words!" line. Why? Because either product can stand alone, or each can support the other. However, the teacher who purchases the "Focus on Grammar" may not want to teach the "Power Words!" vocabulary words I have chosen. Therefore, I make it editable so that they can change the vocabulary lists on Monday's slide if they wish to do so. Flexibility and a global rather than local lens. Your students vocabulary may be much more advanced than my students - and vice versa. In addition, we have a line of "Power Words! BINGO!" game sets that also support the power words vocabulary, and by extension, "Focus on Grammar"!

A Word About Animations

If you are creating a PPT of Google Slides presentation, you will always make it editable. Why? Because once flattened, the flattened material cannot be animated. And you will ALWAYS flatten any product to protect the content from theft. This means that you HAVE to use the Step 3 process in order to use animations. On the plus side, you automatically get to advertise the product as "Editable", which can be a big boost to its perceived value and attractiveness. Admit it, isn't there something about your partner you would love to be able to edit? I know Suzanne would like to edit a thing or two about me! Additionally, teachers may need presentations that do not have animations due to students with special needs. This allows them to remove the animations if they wish to. 

Some Resources We Never Make Editable

So, other than vocabulary cards, what do Suzanne and I NEVER make as editable? 
  • Word puzzles, both crosswords and word search, as well as color by numbers;
  • Assessments (I mean, why would you?);
  • Novel study guides. If teachers want to add to them, fine, but ours are so in-depth that they shouldn't need to, and if they want to cut anything out, just remove that page during printing;
  • Bookmarks;
  • Bingo and Dominoes games;
  • Classroom posters EXCEPT CHAMPS;
  • Prezi Presentation; 
  • Cloze Notes;
  • FRAMEs that are not for essay or summary writing;
  • Checklists that don't change.
  • Terms of Use (ToU) or Terms of Service (ToS)

Our Wrap Up on Editability...

So, it is entirely up to you as to what you make editable and what you do not for your customers. Here is one final point to remember: even on a product that is "100% EDITABLE", it isn't. You are going to have your copyright, at a minimum, on the product, and you never want it to go away. If you create clipart, the art may not have a copyright on it, but your ToU or ToS will, and you will need to include the statement that credit must be given, and the product must be flattened.

Follow these links to go to the other posts in this series!

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Steps 1 and 2

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 3 - Creating a Secure Product

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 4 - Creating with Encryption

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 6 - Creating Covers and Thumbs

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Part 7 - Pricing and Tax Categories

Guest Blog - SEO for Teacher Sellers

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 8 - Using Graphic Elements in Products

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