I have wrote here in my blog about using Padlet in EDU and yesterday the company itself announced that they are switching to a subscription model. They say there will always be a free option but it appears as if this version is extremely limited. This subscription they are pushing is a $99 per year per user. They did not offer any education pricing plan and needless to say, the response on Twitter has been pretty harsh. The feedback shows a mass of frustrated and disappointed teachers who are either asking Padlet for an education price or looking for alternatives to turn to.
I have a few thoughts on this subject, I’d like to share.
First… This reaction to this announcement is pretty telling. It shows that users of this tool love it and that they know how to use social media to try and demand change. From looking at Padlet’s responses on social media, it’s quite clear that they heard from the world of education. Now, it will be interesting to see how they respond.
Secondly, I am supportive of developers and feel that we as users should pitch in and help fund those who make programs we use. Many of us have grown accustomed to software being free. And to me this is quite odd. How many other services or goods do we use daily that we don’t pay for? But, the trend in software has changed from “buy it once and I own it” to “pay for a yearly subscription”. It's clear that the reason for this is that these developers need an ongoing stream of revenue. The problem for the general classroom teacher though is, “I like this XYZ program but do I like it and find it useful enough to pay for it yearly for god knows how long?”
In education we use tons of software on a daily basis and much of that is often district or site based and the classroom teacher does not take on the burden on paying for this out of their pocket. And as some of the news reports as of late from teachers in states standing up and striking is that many of us already are paying out of pocket for supplies.
So… if I can give some advice to Padlet, here it is. One… go back in time and don’t roll this out in the middle of the national dialogue about teachers not having enough funds for the classroom supplies. Two, talk to educators (and by this I mean REGULAR CLASSROOM TEACHERS) before you come up with your price point. The dilemma I see is
“do you charge a lot like $100 a year and get a small number of folks using it”
“do you drop it down to $20 a year and get a higher volume of teachers?”
I would lean towards quantity not quality.
For me there are several apps and tools I use which I love (Voxer for example) that I would really LIKE to pay for, but their pro account is just too steep
Lastly… I have an idea for those of you looking for an alternative to try out. I started this a year ago when I got more and frustrated with Padlet and their backgrounds. You see, I wanted to make my own graphic organizers and have kids add their comments and contributions to specific areas of the document. But, you see, Padlet’s backgrounds adjust based on people’s screens… which means that it is impossible to do a lesson like this. I decided after realizing this to switch to GSlides as backgrounds there are fixed.
So, I added a few more backgrounds plus added some tips for teachers and created this GSlides Template. For those of you who don’t play with the MASTER in GSlides, it's a neat way to create placeholders for text where the user will be forced to write. Once you get the document, look at the slides and then go to SLIDE LAYOUT and see how I changed all of these to different Brainstorming and Graphic Organizer choices to pick from. Please play with these and if you have a layout or idea you would like to see added to this, please reach out to me and I will try to add more.