Thing 10: Productivity Tools

For this last lesson in Cool Tools For School, I have decided to talk about Wunderlist and Google Drive. Wunderlist is a new tool for me, but Google Drive has been a favorite productivity tool for years.

Wunderlist

After looking at the selection of tools under reminders and to-do lists, Wunderlist was my first choice. I usually keep a notebook with multiple to-do lists on the pages. However, I tend to forget this notebook at home or at school. This does not help when I need to remember what is on a to-do list. So, why not try an app that acts as a to-do list? The iPad and iPhone are usually with me more than the notebook, so maybe this could help increase productivity.

I immediately liked how you can access this tool across multiple devices, as I’m always going back and fourth between the iPad and the iPhone. Installation was easy; simply log into the app store on both devices and install. The list of categories was another neat feature of Wunderlist. I can separate school work, personal lists and shopping lists, but still have these lists on my person at all times.

Last night, I made added items under each of the categories. Later today, I took a look at the items on the lists and slowly started to check many as completed. There is something satisfying about crossing an item off a to-do list. Having an iPhone with this app made it easier to go through school work today.

Overall, this app has been helpful the past day. I plan to use it more for personal and professional purposes. However, I do not plan to use this app with my PreK-6 students as many do not have access to a mobile device. If I was at a middle or high school, then yes.

Google Drive

How I love Google Drive-let me count the ways. I have used this tool since graduate school in 2010. With many collaborative projects with peers, we needed a tool that allowed us to edit papers and projects. Google Docs allowed us that capability.

Instead of using Microsoft Word, I solely use Google Drive for file storing and sharing. I use Google for a calendar and for hangouts. I use it to collaborate on documents with colleagues. You can access files remotely, only needing an Internet connection. Connectivity to my school’s server from home is slow, but Google Drive provides an excellent alternative. Edits to documents save every few minutes.

My lessons are organized into folders, as well as assessment data. I keep files of letters to students, parents and teachers. I keep records of my professional development credits and APPR. I keep a daily log of lesson summarizations for my classes.

One of my favorite aspects of Google Drive is the Google Forms. Students ask for so many books in the library: books to put on hold and books to order. Instead of collecting scraps of paper or trying to memorize what students want, I tell them to go to the book request form on the library’s website. Students put their name, book title and author (if remembered). This helps me stay organized for students requests. Every week, I’ll review the Google Form and add books to my book-order lists or order books through ILL for students. The organization of Google Forms is done well. I like how there is a dates tamp for each request a students completes. When the request is done, I can initial on the side.

At my school, I plan to send home a permission letter for students to access Google Apps for Education in September 2014. We will hopefully start to use Google Drive and learn more about email/messaging netiquette.

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