"Did I save that file in my documents folder, or is it on my flash drive? No, maybe it's in my downloads folder? Or . . . "
We have all experienced the frantic search for that one missing file or Word document we needed five minutes ago. I can remember having lesson plans on my home computer, work computer, flash drive, and even as attachments on emails from colleagues. Even after spending hours at the computer organizing my files into neat folders, the chaos would ensue within a few days of planning and creating content material.
Using the appropriate digital tools and resources allowed me to work more effectively and efficiently.
Lead from the Front
School administrators set the tone for their staff and learning environments. My experience in the Marine Corps has shown me time and time again that leading by example is an extremely effective leadership trait. Showing your staff members that you are willing to learn about technology and incorporate it into your daily routine can increase credibility and trust.
Being a digital leader is not without challenges and struggles, especially if you're not entirely comfortable with technology. In that case, it would be important to surround yourself with a solid team of educators and collaborate with them on the integration of technology.
Reduce Isolation, Increase Collaboration
Have you ever known a teacher that reminds you a little of Gollum from Lord of the Rings? These are the colleagues holding onto their precious lesson plans with such passion that you're almost afraid to ask them for a worksheet. Or, even worse, are you the Gollum of your school? If so, it's not too late!
Sharing your documents and resources on applications such as Google Drive or DropBox allows for instantaneous communication and collaboration. New administrators could especially benefit from a pool of sample parent letters, staff announcements, teacher evaluations, budget sheets, analysis of test results, etc. Storing all of these resources in one location is critical for effective collaboration between administrators.
Going back to all of my lesson plans being housed in different locations, I eventually learned that cloud computing has revolutionized digital storage. My school system has adopted Google Apps for Education, which includes Google Drive. Instead of having to be at my home or work computer, I can access all files on any device with Internet access. It took a little time to upload and organize my files on Google Drive, but now I could not imagine life -- let alone teaching -- without it.
Sharing resources with colleagues has led to amazing collaborations and immense time savings. I've detailed a few examples of file management using the SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition):
- Attach a document to an email.
- Save a document to a flash drive.
- Save a document to a school computer.
- Upload to Dropbox.
- Upload to Google Drive.
- Share folders and files on Google Drive.
- Share folders and files on Dropbox.
- Upload data and use Google Analytics to analyze school information.
- Using Google Drive, allow others to edit, comment on, and share your documents.
- Administrators share data and converse digitally for articulation meetings.
Based on your perception and tech-savvy abilities, some of these tasks may not fit your definition of SAMR. Please feel free to leave a comment below sharing your ideas.