Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Productivity

If you work with me, you know I get around a computer fairly well. What makes me so fast, you ask? Creativity and efficiency. Here are a few tips for you to get started:

A. Tools
  1. Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) - this is a free online storage utility with the option of downloading an application. The application will auto-sync all of your files from your computer(s) to the cloud. This tool is great for people working on different  computers, or who travel. It is also a wonderful  collaboration tool, as multiple users can be invited to access a folder(s). 
  2. Word/PowerPoint - I love these applications for many reasons, but one of the most  under appreciated features on these applications are templates. I make templates for rubrics, assignment sheets, and projects. 
  3. First Class - If you are already logged into First Class anyway, why not put files in there? :)

B. Strategies
  1. Workflow is everything! Try shaving a few seconds off those tedious mouse clicks: Click here for my blog on Hot Keys
  2. Try using multiple windows. It sounds simple, but I see a LOT of people  minimize/maximize/ minimize/maximize.... 
  3. Use the same formatting for multiple documents. Don't reinvent the wheel. Use rubrics on more than one project and create simple templates by opening old documents and "Save As"...
  4. Naming Systems. I am a strong believer in solid  nomenclature. If I am teaching Earth Science and doing a project on Volcanoes, I want to find my students' and my own files quickly and efficiently.  
EXAMPLE 1: Earth Science Volcanoes Project
ESCI_Volcanoes_Assignment = My Assignment
ESCI_Volcanoes_Rubric = Rubric
ESCI_Volcanoes_Template = Student Demo Example
ESCI_Volcanes_XXX = Student's Project with their initials on the end (XXX)

EXAMPLE 2: US History Constitution Project
USHIST_Constitution_Assignment = My Assignment 
USHIST_Constitution_Rubric = Rubric
USHIST_Constitution_Notes = Notes to students
USHIST_Constitution_Template = Student Demo Example
USHIST_Constitution_XXX = Student's Project with their initials on the end (XXX)