Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cool Tools: Productivity Tools

The organization of my life is definitely digital. Paper just ends up in a random pile that disappears into other random piles! Yes, I have sold my soul/identity/privacy to Google.

Google Calendar runs our family life with color coded events for work, family events, and kid events. Conveniently, adding addresses allows Google Now and Google Navigation to get me where we are going on time. I then add Google Tasks for my to do list which works nicely with Calendar and 3rd party mobile apps. Everything I create is through Google Drive which has freed me from emailing documents or using flash drives (although, sadly, I will be moving over to Office 365 due to my district's commitment to it).

I enjoyed exploring the recommendations in this Thing. I love the concept of ifftt and Wunderlist, among others. However, I have found that many of these gadgets can actually turn into time-suckers rather than ways to increase efficiency. I have learned to briefly explore productivity apps or programs and make a conscience choice before the hours slip away setting up something that will not work in my life. That being said, I enjoyed exploring and feel as a library media specialist, I need a base understanding of these programs to aid staff. I will be diving back into Evernote after reading Vicki Davis's great blog post, 18 Epic Productivity Apps.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cool Tools: Coding

Coding has always been an intriguing endeavor to me. I have dabbled in it at different times, never quite having enough patience to see a project fully through. The use of coding in the classroom had not really been on my radar before Cool Tools for Schools. Reviewing the resources and programs has given me hope that it will be possible to incorporate coding into my K-5 library program.

First and foremost, I was encouraged and relieved to see that coding could be accessed through web programming. Lacking tablet technology, I am reliant on somewhat dated netbooks. Further hope came as I explored the programs and found options that did not require logins or registrations. Class times are tight, so to be able to use programs without burning up time on logins will be a major asset.

In terms of specific uses within my curriculum, I am obviously not at the point where I have a solid plan. I foresee myself  providing some exploration days for various grade levels and then monitoring student ability. I definitely plan on adding it as a station for technology development choices.