Monday, May 13, 2019

🎶These are a Few of my Favorite (Organizational) Things

Throughout my career as an EdTech Teacher and Coach, I have sampled enough new “hot” and
“latest/greatest” products to realize that it is overwhelming to expect teachers to use everything that
rolls down the pike.  That sense of so much to choose from is often the barrier to using anything
at all.

Over the years, I have come to rely on the tried and true tools that truly help me get things done,
be organized -- both efficiently and easily.

Keep it Simple

As part of my job (and really, my natural curiosity) I read blogs, scan social media, attend workshops
and talk to colleagues in my field to stay up on what’s new in technology in the classroom and how
teachers are using it. I try to keep my personal tool kit simple so I can get the most out of it. One
of my multi-purpose go-to products is Google Suite.

Besides using it personally, our school decided to to become a Google school several years ago.
It has made management of my classroom so much easier. While I admit Office Suite products are
more robust in features, the Google package has made seamless work of assignments,
communication, collaboration, and work anywhere worth the sacrifice. With the Education version,
we also have unlimited storage for Google Drive. Plus, it has eliminated the “dog ate my homework”
and “it just deleted” excuses from students.  And for the most part, the Google team listens to

Reading Blogs in One Place

I look to others in my field to help keep me current. I rely on those Bloggers who seem to have
endless energy and resources to keep me up-to-date on how they are using various tools.
As my collection of bloggers started to increase, I wanted one place to read them all.  
These are the people who regularly post wonderful ideas, resources, and most importantly, are generously ready to share when I have questions.

I use Feedly to subscribe to my favorite experts’ blogs. It is cross platform (website & device app) and I catch up on all my reading in one place. (See my list of fav bloggers on the sidebar.)   

Website Curation

For all the websites I visit to keep up on online resources, finding a place to keep them all -- whether
for me, colleagues, or my students, I absolutely love Symbaloo. Symbaloo is a website-based
tool that lets you create tiles that link to websites. Tiles can be organized through “webmix” tabs,
can be color coded, and shared. Visually, I love it and have my webmixes curated by subject and color.  I have been using the free version for many, many years and last year started using
the Teacher premium. I can share out a Webmix to my students for a particular project or to my colleagues for some Classroom Tools.

I have also recently started using Wakelet, another website based curation product, for my lesson
plan ideas. This website allows me to use an add-on in Chrome to save things as I find them online.
I can add any number of items, from images, websites, videos, and more. So far, it has been a nice addition to my toolkit. (and it’s free)

Classroom Discussions and More

Another tool that I use quite often in my classroom is Padlet (formerly Wallwisher).  The app is
similar to a bulletin board where you can post/display various items -- like images, links, notes,
and videos. While originally free for unlimited use, last year a cap was put on the free plan limiting it at three.

I love using it as a discussion tool for my classes as well as way to display mixed media projects.  
It almost always plays into a lesson for feedback and idea sharing with my students. I post a
question or comment  and students can reflect on it, adding videos or images, even links to other resources. There is a comment feature which allows my students to exchange ideas with each other. This is especially great for those students who would rather not speak up in class,
but have incredible thoughts to add to the discussion.

Workshop & PD Notes

The final tool that I use quite often (and for many years now) is Evernote.  This cross platform app
has seen me through every workshop I have ever attended.  It allows me to take notes, add links
and photos, and organize it all in a “note” by date. I use it exclusively at workshops as it easily
allows me to organize with titles, locations, tags, and notebooks. This is free with an upgrade option.

These are a few of my favorite things that keep me organized. What keeps you in check?
Tell me what are your favorite things.

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links on this page - I make no profit from recommendations


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