Teachers & Home School Educators
Buying new educational materials can be very expensive. Whether you are teaching in a home-school environment or in a public/private school, you know what I'm talking about. And because you want the best for your students, you frequently buy supplemental materials out of your own pocket when the school budget is all spent.
There is an alternative to buying brand new materials.
Gently used educational materials are an excellent choice to consider whether you are looking for a basic tool or for something a little more special. A wide range of gently used material can be found for sale on eBay every day. Everything from Pre-K cd-rom games through college level courses are offered at substantial savings.
There are a few things you want keep in mind when looking at used educational supplies. I've highlighted the most important ones below.
Condition of the material for sale:
The following is a list of the preferred conditions you'd like to see in any used item you are considering, but keep in mind that a small amount of any of these points shouldn't knock them from consideration. It may not matter to you if some of these conditions are present. NOTE: If any of these points are present in an item being sold, they should be clearly identified with the listing.
CDs & CD-ROMs:
- what version? You want to know the version so you can be sure it will work on your computer, but don't automatically rule out an older version because most of them will work on the newer machines.
- any scratches? Light scratches or surface marks are ok if they don't interfere with the program.
- system requirements? platform? This is important to know. You don't want to buy software for a Macintosh when you have a PC. Having said that, I must point out though that a lot of software will work on either platform. Just be sure you know what you are looking at before buying.
- anything else needed or required? Does the program require any additional components or equipment to operate?
- owner's manual? Most software will have easy-to-install instructions. Most, but not all. However, I've found even those without instructions are still easy to install.
- teacher's guide? Some software even includes a teacher's guide or provides a web address for further support for the software you are considering. This is not especially common, but it does occur.
Textbooks & Workbooks:
- no pen/pencil/highlighter markings
- no torn pages
- covers/ bindings are tight
- pages are clean
- does it include answer pages? If not, decide if you really need one before you bid.
Audiobooks & VHS tapes:
- Cassette tapes on both audiobooks and videos must be in good working order.
- The case should be in reasonably good condition. Remember, this is a used item and will probably show some wear on the storage container. If it doesn't have a case, the seller should state that in the listing.
Other points to consider:
- Teacher Guides with answers are NOT permited for sale on eBay.
- How to decide if it is age-appropriate? Some companies rate their products on the student's age, some use a grade-level rating. You'll need to determine if the product will meet your student's educational level.
- The seller should provide a brief scope of the material and the expected outcomes so you can make a clear decision.
- A listing description should tell you how many CDs, cassettes, or books are included in the sale.
- A workbook can be sold as a stand-alone item. It does not have to be sold with a textbook in order for it to be educationally useful.
- Be sure to check out the seller's feedback before you bid/buy. You want to be sure you are dealing with a reputable person.
- If you have any questions about the item you are looking at that isn't mentioned in the description, contact the seller, they should be happy to find the answer for you.
- Be aware that some of the "used educational material" has never really been used. It's remainders or stock that was never in a schoolroom. In essence, you are getting brand new for gently used prices! I know that a lot of the things I sell fall into this category and I usually mention the fact in the description.
Some of the best names in educational materials are:
I hope this guide has been helpful to you and you now feel comfortable buying used educational materials. By saving money this way you can afford to add more materials to your collection.