3 tools that have helped me evolve as a teacher in a digital world

Want to be a diversified and innovative teacher?

I found myself reluctant at times to migrate towards the digital world of teaching. It has been very easy for me to utilize the tools I am familiar with and reuse methodologies from my past teaching experience. In a world that is moving increasingly faster towards the digital space I am making an effort to better utilize the cloud as part of my teaching strategies. 

Here are a few of my favorite tools and ways that I have implemented them into my workflow...
3 tools that helped me evolve as a teacher in a digital world
There are many similar tools (i.e. Evernote) that allow for notebook style organization of my data. Things like lesson planning, daily schedules, contact lists, etc. have found themselves throughout the years in many different and confusing formats. A tool like this has transformed the way I prepare for, sort, and store the large amount of classroom related information I have accumulated over the years. 

1. OneNote

It allows for me to take a layered approach to my organizational scheme and have the peace of mind that it is archived for posterity. With handy search functions, I can recall lessons, student notes, etc. quickly and easily. It also grants me access on many different devices and anywhere I have internet access. 

It has been a process to convert from my analog ways to fully leveraging this tool in my day to day practices. But gone are the days of file cabinets full of papers and clippings. Now I am simply able to take pictures of or scan these documents into my Notebooks.

2. Google Drive

Due to the fact the school that I work at uses Google Apps for Education I have been using Google Drive to store the plethora of files that I have accumulated over the years. There are however a number of good solutions like Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. I find myself not only using this tool as a way for me to store my own personal files but it has become a handy resource to share and collaborate with students and parents. A common practice for me has been to create drive folders for each of the parents in my classroom, sharing student work, classroom updates, flyers, etc. thereby giving them a cumulative portfolio of students’ progress and a repository for sharing with me. Many academic software applications/suites provide for this type of file sharing/distribution, but I have found this a useful way to maintain a proper backup of my correspondence and files for future use. Similar to the notetaking application this cloud service again allows access to these files from anywhere without having to carry stacks of papers to and from the classroom.

3. Teachers Pay Teachers

Welcome to a wealth of support, inspiration, and resources! One of the greatest online communities I have discovered has been Teachers Pay Teachers. It has revolutionized the way I prepare for and accumulate ideas. With a host of seasoned veterans in the field making their materials available at the click of a button, one can create or supplement their curriculum with high-quality concept/grade/age content. You also have the peace of mind knowing that you are supporting hard working professionals in the field. I am relatively new to the site but have already endeavored in producing some of my own content. I have had meaningful interactions with other sellers and have found great encouragement and inspiration in the community.

I am only scratching the surface of the vast array of online services that are out there but I am extremely excited to continue to investigate and gain experience in implementing new services and technologies all the time. These were just a few that have greatly affected my workflow. My school has recently incorporated a 1:1 program and working with the tablets and numerous applications that they afford is also expanding my horizons to the digital world. The landscape of teaching is rapidly being impacted by these technological advances and the wealth of knowledge the internet possesses. I am motivated to continue to embark on the journey of developing as an instructor.

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