Quick tips for developing compelling resources

by Gabe Baker

You’re working on creating the resource that every educator will be racing to buy or download, and you’re wondering if you checked all the right boxes. Have no fear! We’ve written up some quick tips for developing compelling resources that you can use to make your resource be an educator’s go-to in the classroom.

Essentially, you’re looking to create and upload a quality, successful resource. From our experiences both in the classroom and at TES, we’ve found that a quality resource is:

Engaging: Resources that are engaging to students perform well in the marketplace. A resource can be engaging for a number of reasons. For example, they could have a playful, interactive approach to learning, show how a topic is relevant or applicable to students’ lives, or include multimedia such as video, images, or audio (check out our article on designing resources that foster 21st Century learning). Engaging resources are challenging, interesting, and lively.

Comprehensive: Resources stand out by virtue of their length, breadth, or depth. Resources are valuable if they can support a teacher through multiple classes, or if they provide a particularly extensive look at a topic. You’ll also want to include everything needed to use your resource successfully (e.g., assessments for lesson plans, activities for presentations, and answer sheets or suggested responses for assessments) and material that supports differentiated instruction and extension activities.

Accurate and typo-free: Resources that are well-researched, have been fact-checked, are organized, and are free of typos are always more successful.

Organized and easy-to-use: Some resources stand out by being particularly easy-to-use from a teacher’s perspective: files are organized, presented well, and described in detail. Step-by-step guidance on how to implement a resource can be quite helpful either in the description or in a standalone file within the resource. If you want to leave the implementation of your resource more open-ended, provide at least a few ideas as starting points. Check out our golden rules for success: formatting and presenting your resources for more tips.

Scott McLeod, an educator from Iowa, posed these “four big questions to ask about a lesson, unit, or activity…” on his blog “Dangerously Irrelevant,” and we think his advice is great:

Consider whether your resource provides opportunities for:

Deeper learning. Did it allow students to go beyond factual recall and procedural regurgitation and be creative, collaborative, critical thinkers and problem-solvers? Did it really? [If not, why not? Our graduates need to be deeper learners and doers so that they can add value beyond what search engines, Siri, and YouTube already can do.]

Student agency. Did it allow students to drive their own learning rather than being heavily teacher-directed? Did it really? [If not, why not? Our graduates need to be autonomous, self-directed, lifelong learners so that they can reskill and adapt in a rapidly-changing world.]

Authentic work. Did it allow students to be engaged with and/or make a contribution to the world outside the school walls? Did it really? [If not, why not? Our graduates need to be locally- and globally-active so that they can be positive citizens and contributors to both their community and the larger world.]

Digital tools. Did it allow students to use digital learning tools to enhance their learning beyond traditional analog affordances? Did it really? [If not, why not? Our graduates need to be digitally fluent so that they can effectively navigate our technology-suffused information, economic, and learning landscapes.]

Excerpt reproduced here with permission from the author.