Sunday, March 8, 2015

Digital Tools for Digital Leaders

Digital learning Day is March 13, so I wanted to use this opportunity to share several digital tools that I use a school leader and a one that I hope to make more use of. School leaders must be willing to integrate digital tools to meet the needs of today's teachers and students.

Six years ago I created a Twitter account for my classroom. I tweeted the homework assignments, a summary of class and occasionally posted an question for students. This was one of the few times that I was ahead of the students in regards to technology and digital tools as the account never gained more than ten followers.

Since then, and corresponding to my switch from teacher to administrator, Twitter has exploded. Twitter allows me to connect to other educators, who like me are reflective and are constantly seeking improvement. I routinely participate in several Twitter chats and host #vachat (Mondays at 8ET). Twitter has been a game-changer!

When asked about my favorite tech tools, I tend to overlook Google Drive; perhaps because it's so ubiquitous, I don't even realize how often I use it. Google Docs allow me to share and, more importantly, collaborate with colleagues. Google Forms allows me to collect classroom observation data, conduct surveys and recently I've created forms to monitor to behavior and academic progress for select students.

Remind allows me to send blast text messages to our students and parents. We have six remind accounts (1 for each of our classes, 1 for faculty and 1 for our student mentors). We use Remind to send out information about schedule changes--recently our Remind account has gotten a lot of work because of all the snow days and delay. We'll also use it to remind students and families of important dates, deadlines and events. With the Remind app, it's a quick, easy--and free--way to send out information.

Zite and Flipboard (Zite was recently bought by Flipboard) both learn your interests and tailor articles from across the web to my unique interests.

Although I've had a Voxer account for more than a year, I'm just know beginning to actually make use of it. Like Twitter, Voxer is another digital tool that allows for communication and collaboration. Voxer allows me to "chat" with others through text or voice messages either one-to-one or as a member of a group chat. I have joined a couple of groups and in the future I look to start a couple of groups of my own. What separates Voxer from Twitter is the ability to hear a person's voice, which makes it more personal, and you're not limited to 140 characters.