We have finally launched the latest version of Teacher’s Companion, which is now sporting a new calendar, reporting section and robust upgrade module. Everything has been tested and we are confident with the release.
Calendar and Reporting
What is a database if it cannot provide you with reports, especially on your financials. This version adds a neat little reporting section that is user-friendly and straight to the point. In a similar fashion, we have made the Calendar simple to use and flexible. For example, you can choose whether you wish to manually add tuition date/time entries via the Courses section or via the Calendar itself. The Calendar can also be used for other snippets of information such as notes.
Upgrading made simple
We have made the solution upgradable in a nice and seamless way. In other words, if you have ever updated an Apple or Android app on your device, well we have made TC update in a similar way. It was a huge challenge, but we persevered and got there in the end. Now when you update TC, it is a matter of receiving the new FileMaker file via direct download or email from the TC website, and then opening it on your iPad. The update module then starts kicking in by backing up your existing database, and transferring the data across to the new version – no manual intervention needed.
The long awaited reporting section is now being worked on. This is going to be massive and we hope to improve it with future updates. The idea is to keep it simple for now, but still providing massive calculating power to number-crunch all your financial data. We are aiming to launch the new Reports layout for the next major update (mid March 2015).
The design incorporates a Financials summary:
Payments: including the number of payment entries and total payment earnings. Note: payments are basically manual payment entries.
Invoices: including the number of invoice entries, the number of outstanding invoices and their total, the number of paid invoices and their total, and the grand total of all invoice earnings for both outstanding and paid.
We have included a filter that allows you to show a custom or predefined date range.
Earnings show the grand total of all payments and invoice earnings.
We have included a Student financials table that provides more details on a per-student-basis. This can be handy to see all of your students financial records in one place. This includes: the student name, payment earnings, the last payment, invoice earnings, outstanding payments, last invoice and a grand total of payments and invoice earnings. Again this is filterable via a custom or predefined date range.
We thought it would be very ideal to have a Reports section within the Contacts layout, so you can quickly see the financial information for the contact. We understand that some things are a double-up in the Reports layout, but that is not a bad thing. Sometimes, you may be already working in the Contacts layout such as working on student progress notes, or doing payment reconciliation, so it makes sense to put a Reports section in there too. This section will provide you with:
Payments: including the number of payment entries and total payment earnings. Note: payments are basically manual payment entries, and can be used when adding a payment (Cash, Direct Deposit, etc) for a lesson.
Invoices: including the number of invoice entries, the number of outstanding invoices and their total, the number of paid invoices and their total, and the grand total of all invoice earnings for both outstanding and paid. Both outstanding and paid invoices can be clicked to take you to those Invoices.
We have included a filter that allows you to show a custom or predefined date range.
Total shows the grand total of all payments and invoice earnings.
We are aiming to launch the new Reports section for the Contacts layout during the next major update (mid March 2015).
You cannot have a database solution to manage students and lessons without a calendar. We have been working hard to integrate a calendar that is not only easy and intuitive to use, but also complimentary to the overall design. We are aiming to launch the new Calendar layout for the next major update (mid March 2015).
It is a breeze to add lesson plans as calendar events. You simply choose the Course via the drop-down, click the Add Lesson Plan Entry icon (mini calendar icon), adjust the date and time, and add your plan description. It then adds the lesson plan onto the calendar and automatically adds the event in the chosen course, so you will also see it in the Courses layout. We have purposely made it powerful, seamless, and effortless. We feel we have achieved a nice balance.
We have just introduced some new upgrades in the Contacts layout, which will be released with the next major update (mid March 2015). Included in the Contact upgrades are:
Invoices: now you can see all the invoices associated with the current contact. This includes the invoice number, date, invoice description, amount, and whether or not it has been paid. You can also click the invoice row and it will take you to the Invoice itself.
Payment Notes: you will be able to create a payment note or reminder via a simple date and comment record combo.
Other Notes: similar date and comment combo as Payment Notes, the Other Notes can be used primarily for correspondence.
Progress Notes: similar date and comment combo as Payment Notes, the Progress Notes can be used to record student learning progress.
Teacher’s Companion was looking a little tired and old-school, so we decided to do something about that. We introduced a new modern look and feel that is optimised for both iPad’s running FileMaker Go and desktops running FileMaker Pro.
It has been rather challenging to create layouts that look great on iPad’s whilst being accessible and accommodating for fat fingers if you know what I mean. On an iPad, there is not a lot of screen real-estate to play with. So it has taken a great deal of time reorganising the design such as field spacing and portal widths and heights. We believe that just like responsive websites can work and look great on both iPad’s and desktops, so too can the Teacher’s Companion redesign.
I am please to announce that the website is now finished and the Teacher’s Companion is available as a sponsored download. You may be wondering what a sponsored download is? We have called it this because like all software it is a work-in-progress that will get a lot better in time. So your purchase will go toward sponsoring the project to making it better.
To add to this model, we have created a feedback box, where you can tell us the features that you would like to see. By listening to you – our valued customer, we are creating a product that you want, and not what we think you want.
We want you to feel assured that we want to make this project bigger and better. We also want you to be a part of the project and know that you will help with decisions on where this project is headed. We will eventually make this process much better with publicly viewable discussion, but for now it is just a feedback form.
We hope you can purchase Teacher’s Companion and continue to support us with this project.
Teacher’s Companion post version 2 is a joy to use and it is streamlining a majority of my teaching business. I especially like the storing of lesson template files so they can be exported using third-party software to do additional work such as printing work-sheets, etc. The Courses layout is a great section to create lesson plans, and even reuse earlier lesson components such as templates. Check out the short YouTube clip to see a quick overview of the layouts.
It has been weeks, and I am finally happy with the improvements in design and functionality with the Contacts, Courses, and Templates layouts. I especially like the way the Courses layout is looking as I was losing hair with this one. Check out these before-and-after animations.
It has been a long day and I am pulling my hair out trying to work out how to display the plan description when a lesson plan date/time is selected. I realise there is not a lot of real estate space for many portals and working with three columns whilst giving as much space to the third is where the creative wheels are falling off. I think the initial idea is good, it’s the layout that is terrible.
Changing the layout theme for an entire solution is a big job, but it needs to be done. You will notice a few new layout icons, including: Calendar, Suppliers, Reports and Options. We have finished the Options layout with a few global fields such as an image field for your business logo, and a footer template for invoices. The Suppliers layout is still in its infancy and needs a lot more work. The Calendar and Reports icons are just placeholders at this stage. Enjoy the sneak peek.
Looking at this unattractive user interface day in and day out is starting to take its toll, so I have decided to give the entire look and feel a make-over. This is the very first design for the Contact layout and I’m liking it.
Well, we are now at version 1.5 and I have been using Teacher’s Companion for my teaching business for a few months now and am starting to feel that the business processes such as lesson management, student payment and progress recording is becoming easier and much more streamlined.
Take a sneak peak at the various layouts as well as a few extras such as the Templates List and the generated PDF Invoice.
It is the 28th October, and this is the birth date for Teacher’s Companion. A time where I decided I need a database solution for my teaching business. I found myself getting totally swamped/lost with song and document files and I felt that if only I had a database solution that could manage both my students and also my courseware.