Ok, the title is a bit dramatic, but I have been working toward streamlining technology use for the better for a long time, and in a more focused way for the past month. Here are some ways I have found to streamline administrative tasks. While this is not explicitly about teaching in the sense of student collaboration, the more organized one is with technology use, the more effective other uses of technology can be. Getting more efficient with communication and organization means more time to focus on real priorities.
Password management: One of those things that I had been meaning to research for awhile, a password management tool has become essential. After some research, I went with Dashlane, and after the free trial was finished, I did not hesitate to purchase the premium version. While I find the android version a little clunky (doesn’t work in apps, just the Dashlane browser), I can always look up passwords as needed. For adjuncts teaching at multiple institutions, password management would be extremely handy. There may be other timesaving ideas with autofill that I have not explored yet.
Organize by rules: Why not have technology do what it does best through some automated routines?
- Ifttt: I want to like ifttt, but haven’t found it very handy yet, and this is going on two years. A challenge is that most functions are for public sharing, and I like to be mindful of what is publically shared. Does anyone have any recipes they can’t live without?
- Hazel: I was going strong with Hazel for awhile, especially for desktop cleanup. Especially for photo and video management, this is great for fike management.
Visualize it: Awhile back, I experimented with kanban products for visualization. I landed on kanbanflow for its intuitive design, making it very easy to get started. I wanted to like trello because of its mobile app, but it iust was too much ti get started. Introducing it to my work team changed project tracking for the better.
Sync across devices: I try to choose tools that will work across the myriad devices I use. I am writing this on my phone on the subway. Later this am, I will be using an ipad for note taking and other tasks. Later on a Mac book air. Whatever device I use, I don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out where my “stuff” is.
- Evernote: Saving all notes from meetings in Evernote is handy. Organizing in notebooks with a good tagging system is something that I try to do consistently. Using skitch for images alongside evernote has a lot of potential. I met a pre-k teacher at an edcamp awhile back who used this combination to develop portfolios for each of her students.
- Dropbox: Very widely used because their free version gives quite a bit of space AND because they have a model of spreading their product that anyone looking for adoption should study, dropbox lets me sync across devices and customize which folders I access on each device.
The key to creating a better workflow for me has been consistency. Setting up rules for file management is a little challenging. However, with free storage capacity reaching into terrabytes and the ability to quickly upload files and sync all aspects of one’s life in the cloud– having good systems for virtual management feels increasingly critical.
Anyone have any other favorite tools or strategies for managing information to recommend?
- Mindmapping the Needs Assessment
- “Invisibles” and instructional design