Basecamp is an online project management tool built for collaboration. It’s been around in various forms for the better part of two decades, and it brings discussions, to-do lists, due dates and calendars into one place.
I had looked to use Basecamp for use in a couple of school projects, but kept putting it off because of the price. I came around after using it on a side project with a close friend who paid for it, and promptly started the 60 day free trial to see if it would fit for my work at school.
I was elated when on Day 55 of the trial I noticed that Basecamp had announced a free plan for teachers. I would have happily paid when the trial ended, but I was excited I no longer needed to. When I e-mailed to get on the teacher plan, they gave me 100 simultaneous projects, normally $100/month. Thank you Basecamp!
How do I use Basecamp as a teacher?
Collaborative course planning.
I work with other teachers in the district and state to collaborate on outlines, discussions, activities, and projects. We outline the semester, discuss how things went as we teach them, and we can look back at the archived project to review how it all went when we are planning again.
Student collaborative group discussions.
Each group in my Teen Entrepreneurship class gets their own Basecamp project where they can collaborate. They discuss their projects, assign each other to-dos, and build their businesses using Basecamp. All the while, I can monitor and participate in their progress, without standing over their shoulders. This is HUGE for young teenagers who can’t drive yet. And it makes me look like a true pro when parents can take a look at all of the work their students do for my class.
Plan conferences, service projects, and other events.
I run a chapter of FBLA at the junior high, and we use the heck out of Basecamp. We use it to plan and document regular meetings, service projects, our regional and state leadership conferences, and our business plan competitions. Each committee uses it to plan business tours, socials, and more.
Assign roles and responsibilities for our student store.
My Intro to Business class runs a student store at the school. We sell candy, drinks, t-shirts, etc. There are a lot of moving pieces. I assign weekly jobs using the Project Templates feature, and students get reminded the day before that they’re due to work the next day. The manager uses his Basecamp account to make sure the cashier and other employees get everything done. The cashier submits daily cash counts on Basecamp. I’ve run the store with and without Basecamp, and I definitely don’t want to go back.
Organize basketball practice.
I am the assistant coach for the 9th grade basketball team. The head coach works in real estate, and isn’t at the school during the day. So we plan practice, review games, and send announcements using Basecamp. Most of this could be done over the phone, e-mail, or text message. But it’s nice to have a home for all of our discussions, practice plans, and gameplans. It’s cool to look back at how much we did all season. We just used Basecamp to pull off our end of year banquet as well.
Work with TAs.
I have 3 TAs that help me get everything done at the school. They help prepare lessons, grade projects, and even teach some sections of class. We use Basecamp to keep track of what’s been done, and what still needs to get done. Indispensable.
When I started writing writing this post, I didn’t even realize how many different things I use Basecamp for. But I can definitely say that it’s become an essential part of balancing all of the different things we try and do at the school. I’m 100% confident in recommending Basecamp to all teachers. And with the new way that Basecamp is offering free plans to us in the profession, it’s an absolute no-brainer.