Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thing 14: Productivity Tools

I really enjoyed learning about some of the productivity tools that were in this lesson. I had never heard of Zamzar before and I think it has great possibilities for my work. Being able to convert a text file to a pdf so a student or parent can’t cause the format to be ruined is priceless. Zamzar also allows me to convert files that are in older formats into newer formats especially some work that I did using Corel WordPerfect.

I love using my Google Calendar. I have an app on my phone that takes me directly to all the Google Calendars that I subscribe to so I can keep up with both school and personal events in one place. Each calendar has a different color so I can reference who is doing what and where. I could see using Google Calendar to note test dates and other unique homework assignments. I use a Google spreadsheets for my quarterly plans currently but I could transition those assignments to a Google Calendar for students and parents to follow.

I like using productivity tools like this that are online web based rather than computer application based because I can share my work with others in the cloud without having multiple versions of a resource. I liked using Evernote and its web clipper function to create notebooks. I haven’t shared any yet, but I think that Evernote is a tool I would like to use for students to create portfolios of what they are studying. I see it complimenting diigo as a research organizational tool. I appreciate using a tool like Evernote because it will help keep my class paperless in the research process yet organized.

A big disadvantage of all these great tools is that if the internet isn’t working or the electronic device isn’t working, students, parents, and coworkers can’t use the tools. Another disadvantage is that sometimes lessons get thwarted from forward progress because access is limited by IT stipulations on which what tools are allowed for use in a school. As a technology using educator, it is my challenge to educate my co-workers, administrators, and IT staff about the great tools available and the rationale for their use.

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