How I Work – Evernote and Wunderlist

I have a difficult time organizing, as a technician. Being the only tech for my school that is responsible for the network, our 1:1 Chromebooks and pretty much everything else that has an ‘on’ switch I have a lot going on. Organization can be difficult, but I’m finding a few things that help a lot. I’ll highlight two of them here that I am currently using.

Evernote

Evernote is a pretty popular note-taking tool, so I don’t think it needs much introduction. I use it as a running documentation tool, more for keeping track of network management-y type stuff. For example, if I use a Powershell command for creating a student account, I’ll put that command into Evernote with a descriptive title so I can find it easily later, so I don’t have to go Googling around to find something I had already figured out three months ago.

I also use it during staff meetings to keep track of things that are going on, so when this time rolls around next year I can refer back to what we were doing.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a to-do list that seems to have an app for pretty much any device or platform. I was previously using Asana, and switched to Dayboard, but neither really did it for me.

Asana is more targeted towards teams, and since I am my team, it was helpful for project planning but not so much daily tasks.

Dayboard is awesome, as it requires that you list five tasks for the day, and then check them off as you go along. It really gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. This is quite important for me–most days, as soon as I walk into my office I’m texted or called about something not working, a teacher sub shows up that needs help or a student had problems with their Chromebook the night before. Being able to actually see that I did something other than run around all day putting out fires (as the cliche goes) is extremely helpful for me.

Wunderlist is a bit better, as it seems to combine a few features of Asana and Dayboard that I like. I like that Dayboard is a ‘new tab’ page in Chrome, so it’s pretty visible and easy to use. It’s main drawback is that Chrome is the only place it exists. Wunderlist has that ‘new tab’ page, but also syncs to my iPhone, laptop, and any other device I care to use. In that sense, it’s more like Asana.

I’m still very much in the beginning stages of working with Wunderlist–it has proved to be very helpful so far, but we’ll see if I’m able to stay with it.

Next Time

So I think this is going to begin a series of posts reflecting on tools that I use. Next time, we’ll take a look at Hours, an iPhone app that I discovered a while ago.

How I Work – Evernote and Wunderlist

Course Correction

Considering I wrote my ‘I’m Back!’ post back in October, and it’s now April, I would assume it’s safe to say I was a bit optimistic about tackling blogging again. Honestly, I’m a bit jaded by blogging–I mean, anyone can put anything they want on the Internet…and who reads it? It has to have some sort of value, some sort of worth to either the reader or the writer, or both.

I’ve been encouraged to become more a part of the community of Edtech people, but I don’t feel like I have a ton to offer as a non-teacher. I want to help, but how do I do it? This is the question that I’ve been trying to tackle for the past few months. I think, though, that in doing so I’ve arrived at a possible answer: self-reflection.

That feels a bit cheesy, but I think that it may be the key to what I’ve been trying to figure out. Why not make it my journey, my story? I’m a tech, and I’m pretty good at it (I think), so why not share stories of what I do and how I’ve tried to solve problems and help teachers in my school? Hopefully this will evolve into something that goes beyond reflection on the past and extends into puzzling over how to build for the future of education. By me reflecting, this provides me with value in a form that, because I’m writing for an unknown audience, forces me to reflect in ways that are hopefully clear and intelligent.

My goal: Two posts a month, for the rest of 2015. Let’s see if I can do it.

Course Correction

I’m back!!

It has been a LONG time since I’ve written a post on here…a lot has happened in two-ish years, and I’m excited to get that documented and shared. Reading back on some of my posts, I suppose I’m a bit embarrassed by some of the things I wrote, but it is just part of me developing and growing as an IT guy in education.

As part of my professional development, I am considering and almost committed to writing a blog post every couple of weeks. If we encourage our students to write for an audience, I probably should do that too.

So long.

I’m back!!

Technology for Technology’s Sake?

Here’s a note that I wrote to myself a while ago: Is it ok to implement technology in schools, for technology’s sake? There’s a lot of talk in our Technology Services department about the usability of some different technology (e.g. iPad, Android devices, Chromebooks, netbooks) and how they all compare to each other and what would best fit our students’ needs. This is all well and good, and I believe that it needs to be done. However, another part of me is wondering: why can’t we just put tech in the classrooms because it’s cool?

Sure, we don’t have any money. But the idea is attractive to me. Why am I a network technician today? I had a passion for electronics, computers, and fixing things when I was a kid. I loved (and still love) technology for technology’s sake, which is why I don’t think I’ve ever dreaded going to work. I love it. When I pick up an iPad, it still amazes me that I can hold the world in my hands, in such a beautiful device that is almost magical. Steve Jobs definitely got it right. This extends to non-Apple devices as well, but, of course, the iPad lends itself well to this question. Is putting technology in classrooms–say, an Apple TV, or, say, a interactive whiteboard–such a bad thing if we don’t necessarily have a plan for it? I would definitely recommend against doing this district-wide, and I’ve heard the horror stories of district-wide expensive interactive whiteboard deployments gathering dust, but I also think that when a teacher or student has a device available to them, creativity can and will take over. Creativity responds to opportunity. From my perspective as a network technician, I know I am not a teacher. Nor am I a student (anymore, although I’m fresh out of college). I am not in a classroom every minute of the day, therefore my view of a classroom, from my paradigm, is not a complete view. The ones who actually are in the classroom daily should have the frame of mind that would respond to these opportunities.

Perhaps technology, and the excitement of it when it’s available for no other reason than for the sake of technology, can help drive learning, creativity, and a passion for learning and discovering.

Technology for Technology’s Sake?

Google Apps Password Sync for Active Directory

Goodbye hacked-together Google Apps password sync with AD and hello to GAPS. Pretty excited about this one–it will automatically sync your AD passwords with Google Apps, (apparently) no special DLLs or storing passwords in reversible encryption, as third-party tools required (as far as the free ones went). Check out the official blog post here.

Curious how, or if, this will integrate with UMRA. Not sure how UMRA handled passwords, so this’ll be fun :) Nothing like unanswered questions to learn more, right? I’ll definitely update as I learn and go along here. Blog posts sorta result in self-documentation to some extent, so this is doing double-duty :)

Google Apps Password Sync for Active Directory