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Reviews for Free Resources

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Compucademy, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    Here's something I find a bit strange - of the 157 people who have downloaded my "Caesar Cipher Practice Worksheets", NONE have left a review or given feedback. To me it seems like a simple and natural way to say "thank you" for making free resources available while improving an author's visibility on TES.

    Anyone finding my resources helpful - please give it a rating or write a review?
  2. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    You want to be thanked? I haven't downloaded it but live by the maxim that if you have nothing nice to say, don't speak. Perhaps that's what the 157 people are doing? I'm sure it's very good though. Where is it and I'll take a look when I get back from the pool.
  3. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry, but if you are waiting to thanked for providing free resources then you'll be there long after the hot place has frozen over.
    Under many guises, I've provided free on-line resources across a range of subjects for decades. While ,yes, the odd thank you is nice. That really is not why I and many other do this.

    For example under this pseudonym, my very ancient ICT skills audit has been on the resources section for 10 years ; has had 12500+ downloads and an average review rate of 3 a year

    You haven't been in the game that long , just wait until you find your free resources misappropriated by others - often for gain . Then you may have cause for complaint.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    finchy, ParakeetGreen and clickschool like this.
  4. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I had resources with thousands of downloads that hadn't received any reviews, and some that had reviews that were factually incorrect, which I had to ask the TES to remove. There were also moans about trivial things, such as the quality of the sites I'd linked to (i.e. not even things I'd made).

    I think it's part of the modern culture in which everyone expects something for nothing - people don't want to pay for news or music, and they think that they're entitled to high quality resources for nothing.

    I removed all of my resources in the end and just put them on my website - I don't check how many times they've been downloaded and there's no mechanism for leaving a review - and I'm much happier. I do bump into the odd person that uses them, and that's enough.
    ParakeetGreen and Compucademy like this.
  5. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    For what it's worth, JJL, I've used many of your resources over the years, the excellent ks 3/4 scheme of work, examples of coding esp javascript and algorithms approaches while I was teaching, and still refer teachers to your site when someone asks for help. You have a very clear way of communicating concepts that can be quite hard to grasp at first and the examples you provide are always really good. I learnt a lot and it made teaching easier. You should work out a way to make real money from it, before you find yourself working until 68!

    (from bar next to beach, Patong, Thailand, age 56, retired from full time teaching at 50 :) )
    ParakeetGreen and Compucademy like this.
  6. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    Binaryhex what is your secret to early retirement?

    It seems teachers are reluctant to buy resources, and the government unlikely to fund schools well enough to give teachers a resources budget.

    Funny that no one questions the need to pay for textbooks...

    Seriously I want to help people enjoy learning to program and succeed in software development, but I don't want to teach in a school anymore.

    Any genuine suggestions for making a successful business doing this? My efforts so far are here: https://compucademy.co.uk/blog/
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  7. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    I got very lucky. I started a business 20 years ago whilst teaching that in the early days made far more than I earned as a HoD. I used each year's divi to buy shares, dabbled in a second property, paid off the mortgage, got rid of credit cards and was generally mean with money! All my hobbies have been cheap (mountain biking, hiking and travels). The business sold ICT resources to schools, and for many years, ICT departments had huge amounts of money thrown at it from direct government grants, which were often ring-fenced for ICT only. Departments had loadzamoney to buy courses, videos, time, training, books etc and the LEA system made selling to schools even cheaper for schools but more lucrative for businesses like mine. But those days are long gone. Five years ago, the business income dropped to a tenth of what it was in the early days, and is now best described as a hobby business; departments changed from ICT to Computer Science departments, and budgets have all but disappeared now for any new resources, training or time away from teaching to upskill themselves. I think the numbers of pupils taking the subject is about to fall off the cliff this year as well, the number of schools offering the subject is falling, and LEAs coordinating ICT and sharing in areas are distant history.

    I really couldn't offer any advice on making money now from what seems to be a dying subject (in schools), which is a shame because people like JJL could write fabulous textbooks or workbooks that would make a massive difference to a student, especially as so many Computer Science teachers aren't proper Computer Science teachers and need a bit of guided hand-holding, and the NCCE's plan to sort out the problem is absolutely hopeless and so wide of the mark of what's needed. Some of the Subject Genius stuff JJL has done is inspired e.g. https://www.tes.com/blog/programming-using-arrays-selection .

    If I were young again, I'd be looking at GPS applications (Uber, Just Eat etc) and trying to dream up new ideas that can use this technology, especially anything that can have an "eco" credential! As it is, it's the beach for me, although I have been looking at bamboo clothing today - now that's an interesting eco idea ....

    Good luck with whatever you try. I guess keep trying different things until something looks promising. The idea that teachers need to teach til 67 or 68 to get a full pension is enough to give me a heart attack!
    ParakeetGreen and Compucademy like this.
  8. 3monkey

    3monkey New commenter

    Compucademy. I have used your site for lessons. Great ideas for youngsters. Thanks. Your blog and ideas are great, but how can you make money from it?

    I finish in 9 days, and got my first job abroad starting in August in Vietnam and am also going to tutor rich Vietnamese as have a great friend already there who does just that. I'm also going to export stuff from around Asia to my sister, who already has a fabulous and sucessful online business selling unusual presents from around the world to executives as presents, so it will be fun hunting for suitable quality items and will give me a great reason to travel the area.

    What I hope never to do again is work in a school in the UK. There's no future here and it's just depressing and not fun.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
    Compucademy and ParakeetGreen like this.
  9. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    Do you know the story about the steak and the buzzard? A man was walking back from town with a steak in hand. Suddenly a buzzard swooped down and flew off with the juicy steak. The man clenched his fist and waved it at the buzzard shouting: "You may have stolen the steak - but I still have the recipe for cooking it!"

    Anyway another pov.
    binaryhex likes this.
  10. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    If I had to redo my career and try and make enough money to be able to retire early and comfortably as well as have lots of fun and enjoyment at my job, the suggestion of working abroad and tutoring rich kids is not a bad one. I certainly wouldn't try to carve a career in the UK - I've seen Computer Science jobs advertised for £23k recently - What the feff! That's minimum wage! I'd aim for Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland or Moscow. With the Internet, mobile phones and the right customers, and if you have the right personality, you could do really well. Compucademy obviously has the skills and great ideas for teaching. The blog is really very good. Maybe that's an option. I hope you're not wasting away in a UK academy! Big fun world out there.
  11. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    This is a very interesting topic. In fact many of the commentators here are articulate and use clear reasoning.

    I'm finding the school-system is a big barrier to helping people enjoy to learn about computers, computing and programming and more. Still working on something here and will report back in the next 2 weeks, though I fear it will fall flat up against the school hierarchy and inertia.

    Failing that, how else to approach the problem as described perfectly by Compuacademy?
  12. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    Bottom line...
    "Don't give up the day job"

    (which, by the way, doesn't have to be teaching in a school)

    If you have to pay rent and put food on the table, then in the modern world you need a steady base line income of some sort. For most, selling resources and sundry other ideas does not offer that

    Yes, you could be lucky, resourceful, inspired enough to hit on some money making source. But experience, research and reality tells me that, more than like, this would be at best short lived and mostly famine or feast.

    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  13. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Sadly, got to agree with this these days.
  14. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    Appreciation is a basic human need. I expect in the UK school system it's fairly endemically unmet, which perhaps explains the low feedback rate on free TES resources. Thanks are not a reason to make them, but without some expressions of appreciation I am not willing to continue.

    I remember my trainer way back when, when I was training to be a maths teacher, going through my huge file of paperwork and telling me what was missing, and I cracked and said something like "you're telling me what is missing, but what about all the stuff that IS there? How about commenting on all the work I have done, and even thanking me for being there on the front line teaching these kids, some of who are pretty difficult to handle?" He got my point, and sincerely thanked me.

    So all you teachers giving your all in tough situations with little appreciation, for what it is worth, THANK YOU. What you do is amazing.
    ParakeetGreen likes this.
  15. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    It wasn't so much the lack of reviews that irked me, but the nit-picking reviews of free resources by people who'd contributed nothing themselves.
  16. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    I agree. It surprises me that basic courtesy "Good Morning, Thank You For the Lesson", etc are not standard protocols of engagement and disengagement in conduct at the beginning and end of a class for example. The Japanese are very good at these standard group cohesion practices. Then and again the teacher is respected in the first place...

    It does seem to be more sensitive with learning courses or materials. Just look at how costly a 3yr degree can be and the lack of return on investment. I think it's the size of lack of perceived return that people consider if they are sincere. I have seen books for learning that go for >£40 and are worthless or so badly constructed. Not just in academic education learning either.

    Then and again, the reviews you mention don't sound sincere aka anonymous online communication problem.
  17. ParakeetGreen

    ParakeetGreen New commenter

    Said I'd report back:

    No Luck. Hit a brick wall: Meeting with principle never got escalated apparently. The scrap of space I requested for an under utilized area of the school was DOA for all sorts of bureaucratic reasons ('elf and safety).

    Speaking of resources, I had plans for a dedicated "space" at the school I work at for a range of CS/ICT initiatives incorporating and extending beyond just the NC. I am not an honest believer in the classroom arbitrary at 3pm "you will learn x" context that dominates teaching atm in schools, especially for the technical teaching area.
  18. NeitherMouseNorSock

    NeitherMouseNorSock New commenter

    I really don't know what's happened to the profession to be honest. Teachers used to build their own resources, acknowledge contributions etc. Certainly since the rise of CAS, teachers say 'has anyone got...x'? and people seem happy to give away their resources for free. Never been tempted personally. I'll give someone advice, but resources that I spent time making? No thanks.
    T0nyGT likes this.
  19. Compucademy

    Compucademy New commenter

    Hey, Binaryhex, I wonder if you might be willing to let me pick your brains about running a business in the CS education space? I've pivoted my career too many times to give up without giving it a serious attempt to be successful, and it's possible that we're entering a new era in terms of how and what students learn about computing. It would be great to get a few tips from a veteran! I couldn't find your contact details here, but you can contact me at https://compucademy.co.uk/contact/ or info@compucademy.co.uk if you are willing to help.
  20. nwilkin

    nwilkin Occasional commenter

    I have been selling resources full time since I stopped teaching 8 years ago. It has changed in that time, I used to sell large SoW for a whole year and schools paid out of their department budget. Now budgets are tighter, smaller sources are selling and many teachers are having to pay out of their own pocket. I think diversity is the key to making a full time living from selling resources and you cannot rely on just one income stream, I sell through TES, another resources website based in America, and also my own website. I have also had a book published, I write commissions for companies and I have just started running training courses for teachers. I do make a full time living from it, but it is hard work and I work around 120 hours a week at my business. I know, nearly as many hours as a teacher :)

    I get a review for around every 1000 downloads on TES, slightly higher rate on Amazon but still not many. You also need to consider the worth to the teacher, if you can create something that teachers can't create themselves, either because it is a tricky area, or it would take up too much time then people will buy it and review it more readily. If it is something they feel they could have created themselves they are much less likely to leave a review.

    Good luck with your business but don't worry about the reviews, they are very infrequent for all of us.

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