By Teachers, For Teachers
For most teachers I know, life zooms by with few breaks to clean up the clutter and confusion that grows like mold over our everyday online presence. We're like hamsters on a treadmill, trying to climb the every-growing pile of classes, lesson plans, PD, PLNs, school blogs and websites -- our own professional activities. Little things like updating our virtual worlds with where we work, what awards we've received, who our latest boss is, get lost like a single snowflake in a snowstorm. Who has the time?
You do. Now.
When my students tell me they couldn't do their homework because they didn't have time, I refer them to the advice of Richard Sloma – never try to solve all the problems at once — make them line up for you one by one.
Line your online presence‘s maintenance issues up. Pick them off like metal ducks in a shooting gallery. One. At. A. Time.
Here’s my short list. It can apply to Facebook, LinkedIn, class wikis, websites, Moodle accounts – anything that you routinely update and share with colleagues, students, parents:
Crowd sourcing opportunity was out of date
Google Calendar no longer linked to an account
Blogroll linked to websites that were no longer in existence
Add new pieces (like awards and links) that add to your profile’s utility.
Move pieces of your website around to give it a fresh look.
Check the appearance of your virtual presence on a smart phone and iPad to see if they display well. I recently switched my blog theme because my old one didn't show well on iPads and smartphones.
Check your sites in different browsers to see if you should recommend one over the other for best viewing.
You're almost done. Do two more important maintenance issues before tucking in for the night:
Use a web-based back-up service like Carbonite. It will automatically and continuously backup to the cloud so even if you forget to do this, it won’t. Even better, you can access your work from anywhere with an Internet connection. I love that.
Email copies of your most important writing to yourself. For lesson plans, schedules, scope and sequence, report card comments, I do it every day. If you use Gmail, you can email up to 20 mb. If your file is larger than that (which some of mine are–and my RTFs definitely are) just upload them to the Google Drive associated with your Gmail.
Do you have any maintenance issues you suggest for the new year? I’d love to hear them.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.