I've been told that I'm a dreamer, but lately, I really feel like I am living "in the cloud!" We hear a lot these days about saving work, music, and more to "cloud" types of storage spaces. Now, I'm not even sure exactly what that means... but I have made some changes this year that have helped me tremendously. All of these tech tools are web-based and have apps that I can access as well. Because they are housed this way, I can access them easily from any device! Fabulous!
I switched from keeping a paper log of my lesson plans to using Planbook. I. Simply. Love. It. I love that I can access it from my home computer, school computer, iPad, cell phone... any time! If I think of something I've forgotten, I can log on and quickly enter it in. I was able to set up each of my "subject" areas as well as "specials" classes. From there, I can then enter specific lessons, ideas, mentor texts, and more. I can even link to standards or create a printable PDF of my plans. I was a little worried at first because it looked as though the only schedule option was to have a Monday-Friday type of schedule. After a little more investigating, I was able to enter our A-E schedule. The best part about this comes when we have a day off of school and our schedule then changes. Simply enter the day(s) off and Planbook shifts the schedule for me! So easy!!
I have blogged a little bit about how I'm using this site/app to help me with my reading conferences. More and more, I'm finding how much better this has been than my old paper binder method! It's fantastic to have my notes at my fingertips any time I need it. I'm still learning how to use it to its full potential, but I love it so far! When I confer with a student, I take notes directly in the Evernote app on my Droid phone. I still keep a paper calendar to schedule conferences, but all of my notes appear in Evernote. Handy to have it with me any time I need it!
Booksource's Classroom Organizer
This is the newest tool I've "discovered!" My Twitter friends at Booksource have been advertising this tool for a while, but I only recently started looking at it. This offers a website and an app for logging in your classroom library. Not only can I manage my enormous library, but there is an option for having a check-out system if I so choose! I love that there is a barcode scanner attached to it so I can grab a book, scan it, and BOOM! It's saved to my library! Because I have a ginormous classroom library, right now I am just using the Classroom Organizer to keep track of my read aloud books. I am so excited to get more of my books scanned in! I actually just sent an email to them about some suggestions I have and heard right back. Now THAT is good customer service! :)
What new tools have you discovered this year?