Chances are, you lead a pretty busy life. Between balancing work commitments, family needs, and personal goals, most of us find it difficult to maintain a healthy work â€“ life balance.
There are lots of great systems out there to help us organize our lives and to keep our to do lists more manageable.
Great task management systems, but we had some technical difficultiesâ€¦ until now.
We wanted to keep our to do list on the computer. We wanted to be able to access our to do list from our laptop, our home computer, or our work machine. We wanted to be able to check things on our smart phone when we were on the go, and we wanted all of our information to sync effortlessly across our different devices.
We love using Google Apps for Education. Google Docs is an incredible tool for the classroom.
Here are some things we love:
- Set up Google Apps for Education for your school and it’s easy to create and manage student accounts.
- The coolest part about Google Docs is how well it handles student collaboration. Students can share a document with other people in their groupâ€¦ and everyone can edit the same document at the same time.
- Improve parent communication. Parents want to see what their child is doing? Just share the document with them.
- Track down cyber-vandalism or see who is doing all of the work. You can see the revision history to find out who typed what. Inappropriate comment? You can track that down. Did the partners divide the work evenly? Find out.
- Stop lugging home piles of paperwork – Go digital. When students are done their work, they can share the document with you, the teacher. Now you don’t have to bring home stacks of assignments because it’s all digitalâ€¦ in the cloud.
- Give immediate feedback to your students. Marking in Google Docs allows you to give immediate feedback. Ever mark an assignment and have it sit in a pile on your desk waiting. The moment you mark an assignment, students can see your comments right away.
- It’s simple to use. ‘Nuff said.
- Suspend student accounts. Have students misused their time in the lab? Need to remove computer privileges? Click of a button.
Update: Sign up for a new account with Dropbox using any link from this page and get an extra 250 MB of space for free. Normally you only get 2 GB of space, but if you use our referral link, you’ll get an extra 250 MB of space and so will we.
Another teacher at our school recently introduced us to Dropbox and it’s pretty darn cool.
Dropbox is basically a quick and easy way of keeping your files in the cloud. You install the dropbox app on your work computer, your home computer, and even your iPhone and Dropbox will keep all of your files automatically synced.
They have a cute video explaining the basics on their website: https://www.dropbox.com/
Why would teachers want to use dropbox?
- Access your files on the school server from home. Sure, you may be able to log into your school account through an Internet website, but unless you have a virtual private network (VPN), you probably have to log into your account, download the files that you need, work on the word document or PowerPoint at home, and then upload the files through a web browser or copy your files onto a USB key and bring it to school the next day. With Dropbox, it creates a special folder on your computer that is automatically synced to the cloud. This means that you can open Microsoft Word, and see all of your school files in your Dropbox folder â€“ whether you’re at school, at home, or on your phone.
- You can keep your folders private, share folders and files with friends and colleagues, or you can make your folder public. This might be useful if you want to share photos with other teachers in your school division. It also means that you don’t have to connect your phone to your computer or worry about transferring photos on a USB drive â€“ Dropbox syncs everything for you.
- Dropbox automatically backs up your files online. In our school board, if you save your school work on the network drive, your work gets automatically backed up by the IT department. However, if you save your work on your physical computer drive, then you have to backup your files yourself. Saving your schoolwork in your Dropbox folder means that your work automatically get synced and backed up into the cloud. The free account comes with 30 days of undo history. (Premium accounts allow unlimited undo.)
- Dropbox apparently uses “military grade” encryption methods to both transfer (SSL) and store (AES â€“ 256) your data.