Resource pack resource pack: a guide to producing and distributing resource packs

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

This is a guide for people who are producing, or thinking of producing, a resource pack -- in other words, it's a resource pack for making resource packs!

At Youth Music, we were interested to find out what you need to do to go about producing and then rolling out really effective resource packs. We weren't so much looking at what might be the best resource pack -- that will vary from situation to situation. So we brought together two groups of people from across music education, particularly those working with early years children, with experience of producing and rolling out resource packs. We asked them for their stories, what worked well and not so well, and what might be the key ingredients in making resource packs. Click on the dots to find out the what we all came up with.

Waypointwaypoint/why-do-people-develop-resource-packsWhy do people develop resource packs?25.5197.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/are-you-competitive-about-other-peoples-packsAre you competitive about other people's packs?173.5194.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/process-creating-resource-pack-importantIs the 'process' of creating a resource pack important?308.5194.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/how-do-people-create-engaging-high-quality-contentHow do people create engaging, high quality content?438.5230.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/how-can-you-measure-usage-and-impact-your-packHow can you measure the usage and impact of your pack?567.5191.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/are-there-too-many-resource-packs-out-thereAre there too many resource packs out there?22.5294.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-have-successful-people-done-make-their-packs-so-effectiveWhat have successful people done to make their packs so effective?169.5299.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/whats-easiest-thing-about-creating-resource-packsWhat's the easiest thing about creating resource packs?308.5344.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-can-go-wrong-when-creating-resource-packsWhat can go wrong, when creating resource packs?435.5368.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/should-you-charge-packShould you charge for a pack?570.5296.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/would-you-make-new-resource-pack-if-similar-one-exists-alreadyWould you make a new resource pack if a similar one exists already?25.5384.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-role-does-consultation-play-producing-resource-packsWhat role does consultation play in producing resource packs?180.5449.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-skills-are-needed-produce-and-distribute-resource-packsWhat skills are needed to produce and distribute resource packs?45.5501.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/do-packs-need-be-tailor-made-particular-circumstancesDo packs need to be tailor made for particular circumstances?323.5487.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/what-can-you-do-avoid-pitfalls-resource-pack-production-and-distributionWhat can you do to avoid the pitfalls of resource pack production and distribution?448.5446.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/where-and-how-do-you-disseminative-and-distribute-packsWhere and how do you disseminative and distribute packs?577.5477.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/who-resource-pack-resource-packWho is this Resource Pack Resource Pack for?453.516.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/why-would-i-want-use-resource-pack-resource-packWhy would I want to use this Resource Pack Resource Pack?548.518.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/how-did-you-make-resource-pack-resource-packHow did you make this Resource Pack Resource Pack?627.527.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/doum-teka-doum-tekDoum Teka Doum Tek 52.5821.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/melody-monkey-marvellous-music-box-producing-resource-packMelody Monkey Marvellous Music Box: producing the resource pack152.5795.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/20000-voices-early-years-cluster-programme-producing-resource-pack20,000 Voices Early Years Cluster Programme: producing the resource pack247.5786.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/first-notes-resource-pack-producing-resource-packFirst Notes Resource Pack: producing the resource pack364.5772.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/sounds-music-producing-resource-packSounds like Music: producing the resource pack470.5775.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/series-eyfs-accompanying-workshop-packs-producing-resource-packsSeries of EYFS-accompanying workshop packs: producing the resource packs588.5816.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/identifying-need-ingredients-effective-resource-pack-productionIdentifying the need - ingredients in effective resource pack production354.5996.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/understanding-your-target-audience-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsUnderstanding your target audience - ingredients for producing effective resource packs390.51022.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/understanding-your-target-audience-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packs-0Understanding your target audience - ingredients for producing effective resource packs390.51022.9""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/evaluating-impact-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsEvaluating the impact - ingredients for producing effective resource packs301.0998.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/marketing-and-distributing-effectively-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsMarketing and distributing effectively - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs.258.01037.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/creating-relevant-engaging-and-high-quality-content-ingredients-producing-effective-resourcCreating relevant, engaging and high quality content - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs248.01095.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/choosing-appropriate-presentation-media-and-format-ingredients-producing-effective-resourceChoosing appropriate presentation media and format - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs263.01138.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/strong-project-management-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsStrong project management - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs304.01164.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/building-right-team-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsBuilding the right team - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs357.01167.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/making-realistic-plan-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packMaking a realistic plan - Ingredients for producing effective resource pack398.01132.6""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/clarifying-your-intended-outcomes-ingredients-producing-effective-resource-packsClarifying your intended outcomes - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs411.01094.6""#0000002

This is a guide for people who are producing, or thinking of producing, a resource pack -- in other words, it's a resource pack for making resource packs!

At Youth Music, we were interested to find out what you need to do to go about producing and then rolling out really effective resource packs. We weren't so much looking at what might be the best resource pack -- that will vary from situation to situation. So we brought together two groups of people from across music education, particularly those working with early years children, with experience of producing and rolling out resource packs. We asked them for their stories, what worked well and not so well, and what might be the key ingredients in making resource packs. Click on the dots to find out the what we all came up with.


Click here for a text version of this visualisation

Why do people develop resource packs?

One answer:

To give the tools without the need for a musician / expert within the educational setting. To celebrate a music project and create a legacy which is used through personal involvement / connection.

Here are some others:

• To fill the void left when a musician leaves
• To sustain music activity in a setting
• As a legacy of the work done with settings
• Sometimes a funding bid activity – required to ‘leave something behind’
• What about supporting / complementing the activity as well? Developing ideas, skill base
• Packs can be valuable as a cumulative and collective souvenir / celebration
• To earn income
• To secure legacy
• To present a collection of new ideas and ways of delivering music making
• Fill a gap – wherethere isn’t a pack which currently does the job
• Teaching good practice
• Involving parents and children together

Are you competitive about other people's packs?

“Don’t ever be jealous – simply learn and improve.”

How do you compete with, or build on other people's resource packs?

  • Each pack is different so it's not really appropriate to be jealous – your ownership is of your resource pack and you'll often not have a full understanding of other people's packs and the processes they've gone through to produce them
  • Celebrate and acknowledge the work of respected authors / artists
  • You often wish you had come up with the ideas yourself but it others do something well, you should learn from it
     

Is the 'process' of creating a resource pack important?

“It is important to go through the process as it leads to discovering the needs of the target audience.”

Should you worry about getting the process right, or just get on with it?

  • "Yes - the process is important. Involving settings staff and musicians in the production and trialling is vital"
  • "Yes - the process is vital, vital for all learning, vital for creating anything"
  • "Evaluation / follow up has to be part of the process"


 

How do people create engaging, high quality content?

“Content needs to be relevant to current practice and based in established theory.”

Here are some important considerations for how to create high quality content:

  • Harness expertise
  • Share knowledge and experience
  • Try things out in practice, wotk with things that have have grown out of practice
  • Carefully consider the presentation (to make it engaging) – thinking outside the box
  • Consider the diversity of the users’ needs (e.g. clarity of instructions)
  • Make sure you work with the right team
     

How can you measure the usage and impact of your pack?

“Build success measurement into the design process and planning, and measure against agreed intended outcomes"

Here are some considerations and ideas for measuring resource pack impact:

  • The kind of measurement depends on what the pack is for – some need on-going relationships and follow-up
  • It's usually a good idea to plan for evaluation at the early stages of building a resource pack, rather than adding it on at the end
  • It can be resource intensive to measure / monitor impact so if you're going to do it, make sure you know why and allocate resource accordingly
  • Running follow-up training to go alongside the pack is a good way to assess impact
  • Online resources are easier to monitor in certain ways, e.g. you can monitor the regularity with which users access the resource, more easily than you can with printed resources
  • You can collect details on point of sale/ distribution then follow-up some time later (e.g. six months)
  • This kind of maintained contact can be a good way of building a relationship with constructive focus groups
  • Provide your users / audience feedback opportunities within or alongside the resource pack itself
  • Sales/distribution information gives indicative evaluation of certain outcomes (e.g. it can indicate popularity, rather than musical impact)
  • SurveyMonkey and other online survey tools can be useful
  • With online resources, you can set up feedback forums and other incentive for users to return to the resource pack
  • Events can be set up alongside resource packs
  • Random telephone calls can be intrusive but, if handled well, often give a uniquely accurate sense of how a pack is actually used.
     

Are there too many resource packs out there?

“There are a lot of out-dated resources as goal posts keep changing.”

Do we really need to make new resource packs all the time? Isn't there one already that will meet current needs effectively?

  • If there are we don’t know where to find them
  • There are lots of resource packs but if there really are to many, are they are sitting on a shelf and not being used? In which case the question should be more how can resources be better disseminated.
  • Resource packs can easily become out-dated, for example if a national curriculum changes or musical styles go out of fashion, in which case they may need to be updated or replaced.
  • Perhaps there are not too many, it's just that they're not all as effective as they could be
  • There are a lot of poor quality, overpriced resources
     

What have successful people done to make their packs so effective?

“They have worked closely and carefully to meet the identified needs of a targeted audience but not been overly specific into redundance.”

Perhaps this is the most important question!

Here are some suggested tips for resource pack success:

  • It's very important to have clarity on the target audience...
  • ... and to pitch it at the correct level
  • Packs need to be simple to use, and have clear guidance on how they can be, or are designed to be used
  • Packs need to be concise: as simple and concise as they need to be, but no simpler!
  • Maintain a sense of consistency - not a new style or approach for every idea in a pack
  • The target audience should consulted at the development stage (to identify the need and test out the approach)...
  • ...and towards the end (to trial the resource pack, whilst there's still time to make changes)
  • The resource pack should be appealing (in terms of design and content) to the audience
  • It's often helpful to build in or consider flexible uses / options for different groups of users
  • It's good to avoid things that age and become dated quickly
  • Do get sucked into following fashions and trends if your resource is a long-term project
  • It's important to get the right people with a creative group dynamic to run & develop the resource
  • Don't forget to plan early on for marketing, publicity and distribution


 

What's the easiest thing about creating resource packs?

"Coming up with ideas!"

What are the things that people find most straightforward in making resource packs, which, perhaps might be the things they do first, or best, or more than the other things?!

  • Having the idea and enthusiasm to create one
  • Procrastination
  • Probably coming up with the supporting material
  • 101 ideas! Which ones to choose?
  • Meeting a need.
  • Responding to practitioners needs…
  • Nothing!
     

What can go wrong, when creating resource packs?

"People don't use it!"

Here are some of the things that can go wrong:

  • Producing a digital resource that is too big for distribution (e.g. by email / CD-Rom)
  • Making the resource too finite, without including open-ended and extension activities
  • Making it too rigid and disempowering
  • Unclear, woolly instructions
  • Accidental use of copyright-protected material. (Under-researched copyright issues have a habit of coming back to bite you later.)
  • Over-thinking the process
  • Personality clashes
  • Not having consulted properly with the correct practitioners – need to make sure you speak to all the relevant experts
  • Too many ideas – not refined into a coherent package
  • Inadequate standards of documentation
  • Infeasible timeframe / deadlines
  • Under budget or over budget
  • Not following a process or sticking to a plan
  • Omitting to make sure that there is a market need
     

Should you charge for a pack?

“Create an intelligent pricing and distribution plan, considering audience, affordability, value and the practicalities of managing an income stream, and the purpose behind the Resource Pack itself.”

Does it help or hinder to charge for a resource pack? Here are some considerations:

  • Instinct is, certainly for funded projects, that charging hinders take-up – but it has a place
  • In many cases, making a small charge (some times as little as 50p) means that people value a pack much more
  • Charged-for packs often have a longer life - and are not relegated to the back of the cupboard with the other free stuff
  • In most cases it's inevitable that charging for a pack will mean it reaches fewer people
  • There are different ways to charge, for example as part of a package (with tickets etc.), or you might charge for an associated training event and then offer the pack at a discount.
  • Asking for donations is also an option sometimes
  • Online content is no more free to produce than offline content but people are often more reluctant to pay for online products and services, in which case you can try giving away the online pack so as to promote, for example, an offline service, like training.
  • Some projects give away resource packs free to the target group but then charge others (making it more widely available)
  • Charging for a resource can help make it more sustainable - so whilst you might be reluctant to charge, it could have more impact in the long run
  • A financially successful first pack can often be a strong case for progressing to a second pack.
     

Would you make a new resource pack if a similar one exists already?

"Only if a specific issue is not covered by a similar resource"

When should you duplicate parts of an already existing resource pack?

  • People will often be more likely to use a pack if they think you made it specifically for them, or if you've involved them in making it
  • Sometimes you need to personalise a resource for a particular audience / set of circumstances
  • Sometimes you might want to take the best bits of various resources into a really strong package for a particular audience
  • The process of making a resource pack can itself be a useful learning and development experience for staff and musicians, particularly in requiring people to reflect on what they do and what works well
  • Sometimes you have to create some kind of resource pack so as to be able to show a funder you're leaving a legacy at the end of a project
  • It's often difficult to find where these 'similar' resources are!

What role does consultation play in producing resource packs?

"It ensures creative ownership, sustainability and takes into consideration other people's expertise."

Some considerations around consultation, as a part of the resource pack process:

  • For some people, it's a vital and primary function throughout the whole process
  • It can allow for brainstorming and a free flow of ideas
  • It provides an opportunity for different people's perspectives, and their expertise, to be incorporated
  • Consultation helps to enable and foster ownership and, thus, tends to increase the chances of the resource pack being used, respected and shared
  • In most cases, there needs to be someone who's responsible for final artistic and educational decision-making, in response to consultation findings.

What skills are needed to produce and distribute resource packs?

"You will need expertise, an open approach, tenacity, marketing, legal knowledge..."

Resource packs are generally not thought of as the most interesting part of music education and music-making. It's not unusual for a resource pack to be a bit of an after-thought or a bolt-on, handed over to a single person to do singlehandedly. But many of the most effective resource packs combine the skills and experience of a wide range of different people:

  • Children and young people (coming up with, testing, and working out ideas and designs)
  • Designers
  • Practitioners and settings staff
  • Musicians
  • Educationalists and teachers
  • Specialist authors
  • Parents and carers (often the intended users of a pack)
  • Editors and proofreaders
  • Printers
  • Audio/video specialists (recording engineers, filmcrew, audio/video post-production and editing, CD/DVD mastering, CD/DVD manufacturers)
  • Legal/copyright advisers
  • Artists agents

It's common, it seems, for a great deal of effort from the creative production team to go into producing the resource pack. And then by the time it's finished, there's not much energy or motivation left for actually distributing and deploying the pack, or evaluating its success! So it's important to have people that will be successful at doing more than coming up with a fantastic product, for example:

  • Evaluators
  • Distributors (including distribution partners and partnerships)

Last, but certainly not least, with potentially a large crew of contributors, strong project management is essential:

  • Project managers and project coordinators
  • An effective leader who can hold in their head the big picture about what and who is needed, and where the process will lead.

Do packs need to be tailor made for particular circumstances?

"It's important to be bespoke when dealing with targetted issues; however, broader issues require a broader approach"

So the answer's Yes and No. Here are some of the considerations:

  • If a resource pack is very bespoke, e.g. for a particular educational setting at the end of a music project, then setting staff will often identify strongly, and feel more confident, with the pack; on the other hand, it's challenging and expensive to produce bespoke packs all the time
  • Highly bespoke packs tend to be less widely usable out of context, or indeed after time
  • In many cases it's more useful to think about 'relevance' to an audience than being 'bespoke'
  • Perhaps a reflective and evaluative resource pack process is as important, if not more important, than being bespoke to particular circumstances
  • Bespokeness, or relevance, is often a matter of getting the right language, in which case a resource pack can often be made relevant for a new audience by 'translating' into appropriate language whilst keeping the rest of the content the same.

What can you do to avoid the pitfalls of resource pack production and distribution?

"Speak to your market - engage them in development; and plan effectively."

Here are some tips to avoid the pitfalls:

  • Consult with people and organisations who have been through similar processes before
  • Think at the beginning about who you really need so as to make the pack as effective as possible
  • Plan and review throughout the process
  • Have a clear brief for contributors and participants so they know what's involved
  • Don't think too much bigger than you can realistically produce!
  • Always remind yourselves of the target audience and purpose behind the pack
  • Try the pack out as often as you can during production
  • Read the 'Resource Pack Resource Pack'!

Where and how do you disseminative and distribute packs?

"Clarify your audience and use your networks"

Here are some of the ways, and the means, in which people promote and distribute resource packs:

  • Distributed as part of a project (at the beginning, in the middle, or left at the end)
  • At conferences, seminars, twilight sessions and training events
  • Through training events associated with the resource pack
  • Through third party networks (e.g. Early Arts network, YMAZ network, MusicLeader network, ContinYou, Sing Up, Regional Hubs)
  • Through other partner organisations (e.g. music services, local authority Early Years officers, project host organisations)
  • Through private training companies (e.g. PFL)
  • Through publications (e.g. Nursery World, Teach Nursery, Music Teacher)
  • Through e-bulletins and mail-outs
  • Through self-publishing platforms (e.g. Amazon, Lulu)
  • Online in installments (including on a 'respond to this installment -- get the next one' basis)
  • Online via own and partner websites

Who is this Resource Pack Resource Pack for?

At the workshops that lead to this Resource Pack Resource Pack, we identified the following audiences that we hoped would find this resource useful:

  • Resource pack producers
  • Music-making organisations (community music organisations, schools, music services, hubs etc.)
  • Resource pack recipients
  • People who are reluctant to make resource packs ('not my department!')
  • People who feel over-awed or intimidated at making a resource pack
  • Funders
  • The people who came to the Resource Pack Resource Pack workshops, all of whom appreciated sharing their experiences of producing and distributing resource packs!

Why would I want to use this Resource Pack Resource Pack?

"We hope this guide will provide knowledge and advice to help to create unique, highly effective and high quality resource packs and other products and services."

It is hope that this guide will help you:

  • not to have to reinvent the wheel
  • to understand that you're no alone, nor are you always in competition with others producing similar things
  • to consider more of the options available
  • to ask yourself why and for whom you're making a resource pack
  • to consider the impact and effectiveness of the resource packs you make and use: thinking about the difference they make to children, young people, and the adults supporting them, rather than if they just capture and convey the content that you wanted
  • to instill confidence, quality and professionalism
  • to think differently, learning from other people's perspectives
  • to develop and understanding of what a quality resource pack process might be
  • to be aware of existing effective practice
  • to meet the needs and demands of your users.

How did you make this Resource Pack Resource Pack?

Youth Music wanted to convene a body of experienced professionals to identify examples of effective practice in producing and distributing resource packs, looking principally, but not exclusively, at those produced for Early Years settings. We weren't to looking to establish 'what is the greatest resource pack in the world?' but  more 'what do you have to do to produce and then roll out a resource pack that's really effective?'.

Aims: To bring together experts in the production and roll-out of Early Years and other resource packs share and distil effective practice.

Objectives: Increase the quality of resource packs produced, through clear guidelines and helpful suggestions, avoiding duplication but not preventing new innovative ideas for resources.

Possible Outputs: We plan to write up and disseminate the findings of these meetings, possibly as the following:
· Resource packs of how to create a resource pack.(!)
· Check list-being mindful of duplication, empathises consultation process etc. Pitfalls and how to avoid them
· Showcase of exemplary resource packs with a dialogue around how it was produced, processes and discussion.
· Content for website to initiate discussions on resource packs.
· Guidance for people who wish to produce a resource pack as part of their Youth Music grant.

Contributors: The following people attended one of two workshops, held in London and York, in September 2011: Chris Morgan (MADE), Judi Galbraith, Alison Blunt, Julia Roderick (Wigmore Hall), Jinx Prowse (Music Fusion), Sophie Matthias (World Beaters), Bethan Millet (Faber Music), Anne Suggate (20,000 Voices), Georgie Goddard and Gwyneth Lamb (Youth Music Regional executive officers), Delma Tomlin (NCEM), Barry D’Souza (Sound Futures), Sue Nicholls, and Leah Sellinger and Michael Smeaton (Youth Music Fundraising Team), Hayley Hazelby and Ben Sandbrook (Youth Music Programmes Team) and Amelia Lee (Facilitator, ICA:UK).

During the two workshops, the groups produced all the materials and text reproduced in this Resource Pack Resource Pack.

Doum Teka Doum Tek

How did we begin?
World Beaters delivered an after school Turkish speaking homework club. The project aimed to produce an A-Z list of what the children attending the club loved about their culture, bringing it to life with sensory references.

What did we do first?
The first step was to select relevant material from the enormous amount of information collected around all the children’s ideas. We underestimated the amount of work involved in transforming written ideas into images, text and sound recording.

The Early Days
We worked with musicians in the initial stages although it may have been a better idea to use them afterwards to explore the content once we’d decided what was going to be included.

Mid project
Staff illness meant delays in recording and trailing material so some activities were rushed. Budget restrains also meant that we had to choose a simple design made up of a folder with loose sheets. However, it was easy to produced and meant it was accessible and easy to use.

Nearing completion
The final issue was agreeing on the cover image. The image chosen was a girl wearing a headscarf hugging a girl without a headscarf. This triggered a cultural debate around issues surrounding the image but was finally resolved

What did we think was successful?
The resource proved very popular and is used throughout Hackney Primary Schools. We have been invited to conferences to share our working methods. We have created more resources with communities based on the same structure.

What were the challenges?
There were several challenges throughout the project including amount of time spent in the planning stage, delays because of staff illness and cultural issues that had to be talked through.

What did we learn?
“You can’t do it all” – a really important thing to understand with resource creation.
 

Melody Monkey Marvellous Music Box: producing the resource pack

Your name: Delma Tomlin

How did we begin?
Music 4U (The National Centre for Early Music ) found a gap in the market for teaching parents and children the joy of music-making. Having delivering Early Years projects (funded by Youth Music) and working with recognised early year’s specialists we have a good understanding of young people’s voices and were able to produce original music and materials.

What did we do first?
Developing the songs and music to go in the resource was relatively easy.

Mid project
We then started publishing the resource for sale nationally. The group decided to give all the music libraries in Humberside a free resource. We didn’t know however that we’d have to pay back the VAT on all the resources we’d given out for free.

Nearing completion
Youth Music set up training to use the resource through national SureStart and also celebrated the resource at Youth Music Week, at conferences and at several showcases.

What did we think was successful?
We sold all the resources we’d created. We are still selling the Melody Monkey song book and exploring opportunities for commercial development.

What were the challenges?
The difficulties lay around producing puppets and instruments to accompany the songs. The puppets and song book had to be child proof and sturdy and the instruments needed to be safety-checked for small children. Unfortunately we felt it was too complicated to produce the box and manufacture the puppets, which isn’t our core skill at Music 4U (The National Centre for Early Music).

Please see our website for various resource packs free on focusing on key stage 2 and 3 (www.ncem.co.uk)

What did we learn?
We learnt how important it is to teach parents as well as children the joy of music-making.
 

20,000 Voices Early Years Cluster Programme: producing the resource pack

How did we begin?
Our resource was based on the practical work delivered by 20,000 Voice’s for Youth Music’s Early Years Cluster Programme. The Cluster Programme supported orchestras and other music organisations to work with clusters of Children’s Centres local to them. 20,000 Voices worked with Sure Start Children's Centres in North Northumberland and Bedlington in a total of 10 settings.

What did we do first?
We collected all the session evaluations, reports, songs, documents, photos and other materials used at the professional development days.

The Early Days
We had to re-format all the material and decide what should be included with the help of our education consultant. We wanted the resources to be a record of the project and practical tips for other projects.

Mid project
We agreed that it should be a digital resource of PDFs and MP3s.

Nearing completion
There were many time consuming tasks which included; getting people to proof read and check every section, scaling down photo’s, adding format and designing the documents, checking the copyright for the MP3 songs and creating zip files to e-mail and CDs to post.

What did we think was successful?
When the resource was sent out we have good feedback from participants and practitioners. The group all had a good feeling of personal achievement.

What were the challenges?
The zip file was too big for some people’s e-mail facilities and due to lack of time we didn’t get a chance to follow-up how recipients had used and valued the resource.

What did we learn?
We learnt to get advice on using digital material to make sure it’s viable.
 

First Notes Resource Pack: producing the resource pack

How did we begin?
SoundLincs, in Lincolnshire deliver Early Years projects and were asked to produce a training resource by a local Early Years funder.

What did we do first?
First we needed to investigate what the resource would look like, who would use it as well as ensuring it met all the funders requirements.

The Early Days
We consulted with our music leaders and then more widely with our national partners.

Mid project
We wanted to link the content to the curriculum so worked with an early years practitioner to help us with the educational element of the resource. We also wanted to include song from ‘Sing-Up’ (Youth Music’s Partnership Singing programme).

Nearing completion
Once we had decided on the format and content we trialled the resource with Early Years Practitioners and early year’s settings to get feedback.

What did we think was successful?
Every early Years setting in Lincolnshire will now have a resource pack.

What were the challenges?
We ran into a few difficulties with the copy right of the songs we used.

What did we learn?
I would recommend double checking all songs to ensure authenticity of all the songs you use.
 

Sounds like Music: producing the resource pack

How did we begin?
We were asked to design a resource that could be used alongside the governments letters and sounds document.

What did we do first?
We looked at the government’s original document and then consulted with an Early Years advanced teacher, director and reception teacher.

The Early Day
We collected ideas and songs and trailed them with local pre-schools.

Mid project
We recorded the songs in a recording studio.

Nearing completion
I showcased some of the ideas and songs at a conference as a last opportunity to get feedback on the content of the resource. Once the resource was completed it was then distributed to councils and schools and pre-schools.

What did we think was successful?
The resource was used by lots of practitioners. We had also been asked to do follow-up training for the resource.

What were the challenges?
After the conference we discovered that the phonics angle wasn’t quite right and had to be changed. The final aspect needed to be changed after the event as the phonics angle wasn’t quite right.

What did we learn?
We should have spoken to a speech and language therapist initially to ensure the phonics element of the resource was accurate.
 

Series of EYFS-accompanying workshop packs: producing the resource packs

Your name: Sue Nicholls

How did you begin?
Client demand came first -- from local authorities, Universities and Sing Up Area Leaders. I started with a trawl through some best practice resources, as well as my own book and ideas. The I made a plan for the resources' structure, pace, content and themes.

The early days:
After a first compilation / draft, I checked through the material for a good balance across the series, ensuring that there were enough tasks for any given day of activity described in the resource, and that I was involving cross-curriculum aspects. I also looked through for the sense of overal timing and pace.

Mid-point:
Next I tried to have the resource packs catered for the the needs of different users, e.g. generalist Primary teachers and music leaders.I put in cherry pickers activities, in a way that gave flexibility for the user but also created a good balance of task / learning.

Final lap:
Check, check, check! Preparing mp3 audio files -- practicing delivery with the resource packs in the settings - sending notes to ‘client’ to print -- getting ‘Task’ sheets printed -- making a checklist of props required.

What did you think was a success?
The packs were endorsed by participants’ feedback, and emails from conference and training delegates. We've received evidence of the materials being used in settings.

What did we learn?
To exercise more consideration around practicalities, logistics, and the props that the resource packs would require. We also had better to address that some users have no music reading skills and have difficulty holding melodies when singing.
 

Identifying the need - ingredients in effective resource pack production

It seems that quite often people make resource packs without fully considering why. Many projects have been ultimately undermined by an under-researched need at the project outset. Ask yourself some key questions:

  • Why am I creating this resource?
  • Who’s it for?
  • What impact do I want it to have on them?
  • Do I have good reason to think they need it?’
  • What’s the best way of achieving this impact or outcome for these people, within my available resources?
  • If the best way is a resource pack, what kind of pack does that need to be?
  • In many cases, consulting with your target audience will help both to identify a need and also to assess whether what you’re proposing to produce will work.
  • Make sure you’ve done your ‘due dilligence’ and checked that the resource pack you’re planning to produce doesn’t exist already, or in a similar form that you might be able to build on and refine for your users.
     

Understanding your target audience - ingredients for producing effective resource packs

 

Making sure you’ve got a clearly identified audience can be crucial for resource pack success. It might be a very specifically focused audience, or a broad audience; it might be children, or their teachers, or their parents/carers, or children with teachers/parents/carers; you might have primary intended audiences and possible secondary audiences. Either way, it’s important to be clear on the audiences, and to make sure others working on the pack understand this too.

Having clarified your target audience, you can think about their needs, their circumstances, and how they will (or perhaps won’t) use the resource pack. It’s obvious but things like resource packs, CDs, online resources etc. are very different from face-to-face interactions: people can’t ask you if they don’t understand something; they don’t ‘have’ to use the resource in the same way as they might feel they have to or want to when you’re standing next to them; if they start using the pack in an unproductive way, you can’t react as you would in a face-to-face environment. All these things need to be considered when producing resource packs.

One of the best ways to understand your target audience, is to talk to them about the resource pack – describing what you’re planning to do, asking them for feedback, or to contribute ideas, or tell you what they’d really like to be in it, etc.

Understanding your target audience - ingredients for producing effective resource packs

Making sure you’ve got a clearly identified audience can be crucial for resource pack success. It might be a very specifically focused audience, or a broad audience; it might be children, or their teachers, or their parents/carers, or children with teachers/parents/carers; you might have primary intended audiences and possible secondary audiences. Either way, it’s important to be clear on the audiences, and to make sure others working on the pack understand this too.

Having clarified your target audience, you can think about their needs, their circumstances, and how they will (or perhaps won’t) use the resource pack. It’s obvious but things like resource packs, CDs, online resources etc. are very different from face-to-face interactions: people can’t ask you if they don’t understand something; they don’t ‘have’ to use the resource in the same way as they might feel they have to or want to when you’re standing next to them; if they start using the pack in an unproductive way, you can’t react as you would in a face-to-face environment. All these things need to be considered when producing resource packs.

One of the best ways to understand your target audience, is to talk to them about the resource pack – describing what you’re planning to do, asking them for feedback, or to contribute ideas, or tell you what they’d really like to be in it, etc.
 

Evaluating the impact - ingredients for producing effective resource packs

Evaluation often gets overlooked with resource packs – quite a few resource pack producers struggle to say exactly what impact their packs have had, beyond how many have been distributed. Meaningful evaluation is crucial for understanding if you achieved what you set out to achieve, identifying how you might improve in the future, and demonstrating the impact of your work. Here are some considerations and recommendations:

  • Where possible, plan for how you’re going to evaluate your pack from the outset. It’s generally much harder to build it in at the end as an afterthought.
  • Look at your intended outcomes and consider what the indicators might be that you’d achieved these outcomes
  • Consider if you can build these indicators into your resource pack, into the distribution process, or into any feedback mechanisms you put in place.
  • Really meaningful evaluation – e.g. finding out what difference your pack actually made to its users, rather than if they tell you they like it, or the numbers of packs you’ve managed to sell – can be hard and highly skilled work. If you’re going to do it, make sure that the human and financial costs are factored into your planning.
     

Marketing and distributing effectively - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs.

If you don’t get your resource pack out to its audience effectively, then the job’s only half done! It’s quite common for the creative team to put so much effort into research and producing the resource that there’s little energy or motivation for actually getting it out and used. Here are some recommendations for marketing and distributing resource packs:

  • Produce a marketing and distribution plan.
  • Make sure you’ve got the right people, partnerships and platforms in place for marketing and distributing (which might not always the same as those who produce the pack).
  • Consider an approach to pricing that’s appropriate to your audience and your means of reaching them.
  • Consider how you’re going to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing and distribution, and tweak it accordingly.

Creating relevant, engaging and high quality content - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs

The content is in many ways the most obvious part of a resource pack. So how do you go about producing relevant, engaging and high quality content? Here are some considerations and recommendations:

  • Focus on how you’re going to achieve your intended outcomes for your identified audience. Don’t try to do everything!
  • Focus on the users of your pack – your audience. Ask yourself, ‘how can my users learn X, or do Y?’, rather than ‘how can I communicate A or teach B?’ Think about the user’s experience of using your pack.
  • Make sure are drawing on the right sources of expertise (in music, in education, in design, in production etc.) and think about internal expertise (what you already have) and external expertise (what you need)
  • Work towards an engaging style of presentation, encouraging interaction and participation where possible.
  • Include what you need to include and signpost to other resources and materials elsewhere where appropriate.

Choosing appropriate presentation media and format - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs

The classic resource pack presentation medium is the printed booklet with accompanying CD/CD-Rom but you don’t have to default to this in all cases. If you ask yourself how your resource pack can most effectively support your target audience to achieve what you want them to achieve, you may come up with different options. Here are some options:

  • Printed booklet with CD/CD-Rom/DVD.

Strong project management - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs

With resource pack production and distribution being a complicated process, with many different contributors, stakeholders and expectations, it’s essential to have strong project management at the center. Here are some considerations, put forward from other people’s experiences of the resource pack process:

  • Make sure there is shared understanding of the audience, aims and intended outcomes of the pack…
  • … and of the project plan
  • Project managers need enthusiasm, tenacity and a constant eye on what everyone’s working to achieve
  • Manage expectations carefully, including of key stakeholders, such as the intended audience and funders
  • Be clear about what you can and can’t do, and what needs to be outsourced.
  • Manage project risks appropriately.

Building the right team - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs

Many resource-pack producers stress the importance of understanding all the different skills that may be required, and also of accepting that you probably can’t do them all yourself! Similarly, experienced resource pack producers point to how a really strong team, working well together, can produce a fantastically effective product. Make sure you have the expertise you need, in a team that works well together:

  • Children and young people (coming up with, testing and working out ideas and designs)
  • Designers
  • Practitioners and settings staff
  • Musicians
  • Educationalists and teachers
  • Specialist authors
  • Parents and carers (often the intended users of a pack)
  • Editors and proofreaders
  • Printers
  • Audio/video specialists (recording engineers, film crew, audio/video post-production and editing, CD/DVD mastering, CD/DVD manufacturers)
  • Legal / copyright advisers
  • Artists agents
     

Making a realistic plan - Ingredients for producing effective resource pack

Several scarey stories point to the importance of strong, realistic planning for resource packs! Here are some considerations:

  • Make sure your plan is feasible and realistic, and will achieve the outcomes you’ve identified to meet your audiences’ need, within your available means and resources. One of the easiest things with resource packs is coming up with lots of ideas – one of the hardest is making them all come together into something effective!
  • Build a realistic time-frame from beginning to end: from conception to distribution, and in almost cases it pays to include adequate time for consultation and testing.
  • Make sure that you’ve planned for all the parts of the production cycle: design, writing, filming/recording, editing and post-production, proofing, manufacture/printing etc.
  • Make sure you plan for how you’re going to distribute your resource pack – getting it out there to the places where it gets used.
  • Plan for how you’re going to evaluate what impact your resource pack – how will you know if you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve; how will you know if you’re pack’s made any difference? You might not know at the beginning what you’ll have produced at the end but try not to leave evaluation to the last minute as a bolt-on!

Clarifying your intended outcomes - Ingredients for producing effective resource packs

Having clarity of what you want to achieve is pretty crucial to any project, particularly one that involves more than one person so that there’s a shared understanding of purpose. This is no less the case with producing a resource pack than anything else, or any other part of a project. Common intended outcomes for a resource pack are that:

  • Our participatory project leaves behind some kind of sustainable legacy at its end.
  • Our participants can do music-making activities in their own settings, e.g. at home
  • More people are reached with a published resource than could be reached through participatory activity with the same budget
  • A geographically remote audience is provided with something useful
  • We meet a funder’s requirement to produce a resource pack, or to leave some tangible legacy
  • These are all quite practical outcomes, focusing on what the resource pack producer needs as much as what the user needs. By contrast, some other common intended outcomes are more user-focused, e.g. that:
  • Under confident school/nursery staff can support music-making activity with their children
  • Parents can understand and participate in their children’s music-making
  • Children learn about different kinds of instruments, the sounds they make and understand about how they work
  • Children develop their singing abilities, and cross-curricular knowledge, through singing songs
  • In many cases it’s important and practical to have both kinds. Either way, as long as you’ve cleared identified, and communicated, what you’re trying to achieve, you can make sure that your resource pack is the most effective way of doing it within available means and resources.

Finally, make sure that your intended outcome isn’t just that:

  • I will have produced a resource pack…
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