10 Jan 2014

Going paperless in 2014

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Well, almost paperless!

I am determined to make 2014 the year of organisation!

When I sat down and really thought about how I plan, research, and locate resources, I realised that my first port of call is always at my computer, with my external hard drive and favourite websites ready. This is even though I have a large number of hard copy resources tucked away in binders all over my office. Is that the case for you as well?

Organising digital files rather than hard copies is just easier and more convenient in a lot of ways. For example:
  • There is a search function on all devices. As long as you name each file with suitable key words (or better yet, adding tags to documents), it takes seconds to enter in your search terms and find ALL the files you have on that topic. 
  • Files are easily updated, moved to new locations or shared with others. It's worthwhile creating a Skydrive or Dropbox account for sharing files between devices or with others. However, be wary of uploading sensitive documents (eg docs with student's personal info) because you cannot guarantee its security.
  • Instead of printing out a resource, I sometimes just flick it onto the interactive whiteboard to show the class.
  • It's portable! I can take EVERY SINGLE resource, file, piece of information, I have about school in a small hard drive - wherever I go. No more lugging around my school bag overflowing with random bits of paper.
So, I have decided to go paperless as much as possible. All those handouts I receive at staff meetings, PD sessions etc will be scanned and tagged for searchability.

Here are three tools that I'll be using this year to stay organised digitally:

1. Scanner Pro (just noticed it's 50% for the next 48 hours)
https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/scanner-pro-by-readdle/id333710667?mt=8
Allows me to quickly scan paper, name it, file it into a folder, or share it via email/skydrive/dropbox etc. I've already got named folders set up ready for filing!

2. Confer app

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/confer/id387777553?mt=8

You MUST check out the video tutorial here. It allows you to really easily take notes on students, tag your observations and sort your notes. Perfect for reading conferences and recording anecdotal data. No more carrying around my chunky observation notebook! I can do it all on my iPad mini.

I've tested the free Confer Lite version and I love it. It has features that other apps do not seem to have. The full version is $15.

3. Teacher tasks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teacher-tasks/id784276974?mt=8
There are other day planner/timetabling apps, but I prefer the design and layout of this one and it's more suited to primary school (rather than high school with multiple classes)

Just a note - get into the habit of making sure everything is backed up. My nifty partner has set up something on my computer that backs up my hard drive to a second location automatically every day, so that gives me piece of mind.I also do a manual back up every now and then to be on the safe side.

Happy organising!
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    Cheslea

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