Summer is here, at last. But, we all know that it will end too soon, and we will be back in the classroom, and we will be ready to do it all over again. Why not take this opportunity to get ahead of the pack, and make life a little bit easier? You may have heard of these services, but not had a chance to try them out. Now’s your chance…
1. Catch up on articles
Use a read it later type of service, like Pocket, or Instapaper to earmark interesting articles that you come across and want to read in more depth at a later date. Whether you have found a blog, a news article, or anything else that interests you, just share it with one of the above, and you will be able to access that text in a readable format on most devices. I usually surf the internet, and mark noteworthy articles, and then read them on my mobile device at my leisure.
2. Get organised
Use Evernote to file away any useful images, links, pdfs, thoughts, comments, guides, tips – anything. The fact that you can have as many virtual notebooks, and then search in all of them effectively makes this indispensible for many teachers. Be organised, and make sure that you use the tags to make sure you can find everything whenever you need to. It is so easy to create a note, it can be a very useful store for lots of digital items.
3. Keep everything close
Use Dropbox to make sure that all your files and documents are not only easy to download to you anywhere, but easy for you to add to, too. If you have the apps and desktop software installed everywhere you access, you will very quickly come to rely on this service. Add a picture from your mobile, and access it on your PC immediately. If you set up a shared or public Dropbox folder, it becomes very easy for a class to upload notes, images, music, or videos for everyone to access.
4. Keep in touch
Twitter, as it is well recognised, is great for keeping your ear to the ground. Don’t worry so much as to what you have to say – use it to “eavesdrop” on what others are saying. Twitter is usually the first place that any news breaks, information shared or opinions formed – it is a virtual staffroom in every sense.
5. Automate everything
Use a service like ifttt to keep everything running smoothly. Wouldn’t it be great that every time you favourited a Tweet linking to a blog post, it was automatically added to your Pocket reading list? Or, every time someone posted your picture on Facebook, it was automatically downloaded to your Dropbox account? Or, every time something happened, something else would happen – automatically? Ifttt does all this, in a really simple, simple way.
What else will you be doing over the holidays to prepare for the new term? And what tools will help you do it?
Image courtesy of Flickr, amalakar