Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Resolution Series: Get Organized



As summer approaches, I thought it might be a good idea to explore (and re-explore) some technologies that can help us all become more effective and efficient in the classroom. My next several blog posts will feature need-to-know tools for educators to implement next school year. I call it my "Summer Resolution Series!" Some of the technologies have been featured before, but are worth the re-write! In order to provide relevant examples, I will also share how I have used the technologies.

I recently listened to an audio version of the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In one of the chapters, he mentions a study that was done with patients who had joint replacement surgery. It was found that people who wrote down specific recovery goals actually recovered faster from the surgery.

Having an idea of what you want to accomplish is nothing new and is as old as time. We all keep track of what we want to do in different ways. Some of us fly by the seat of our pants, while others tend to be more strategic and write things down. Those who write things down tend to be more efficient.

I once had an assistant principal, who began each morning with writing down every single thing that he wanted to accomplish during the day on a legal pad. He began each day with rewriting tasks that were not accomplished the day before and adding new ones to the compiled daily list. It was a great way of getting organized, but very time consuming. Many of us want to create the habit of writing things down, but we don't want to waste time.

Tip 1: Get Organized with Wunderlist!

Wunderlist 2 could be a great way of organizing tasks into a virtual list that can be shared across multiple platforms. The newest version of  Wunderlist 2 has created an easy way of sharing and syncing tasks across your computer, smart phone, or tablet. This program has some pretty cool features, like:

  1. An Activity Center for users to filter their tasks more easily by alphabetical order, due date, or who you assigned the task to. The newest version makes it easier to assign due dates and set reminders. 
  2. Subtasks or detailed instructions can be added to your list. I often use this feature to add detailed information like links to websites, names, or notes from a phone conversation that I had. It's perfect for keeping information that you may or may not want to see later. 
  3. The Reminder Feature can send alerts in the form of desktop notifications or emails, so that to you can complete your task on time.
  4. Completed tasks can be viewed or hidden. It's perfect for the times when you may need to  revisit a completed task.
  5. Collaboration tools provide unique ways of sharing lists with others. You can invite friends to add, edit, and check off tasks on a shared list! Lists can also be shared by email. This is a great feature because I can collaborate with colleagues (asynchronously and at different locations) to create professional development opportunities for staff. We can create lists together without needing to be in the same room at the same time. I am also thinking about having my students use it next year as a way to teach collaboration and strategic thinking, as they work on projects. 
Wunderlist 2 may not be a bad way to get more organized this summer. It's a free and easy tool that can be used across multiple platforms. Why not give it a try? 

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