We often talk about education technology in terms of what happens in the classroom, but there are several technologies that can empower school leaders. The following tools have helped me in central office and school leadership roles
Calendly is a tool for scheduling evaluation meetings, classroom observations, and even parent meetings. Calendly works by syncing up with your calendar and reading your availability. You send a link to your teachers and they can follow the link to select times to meet with you or to come visit their class. With the free version you can create a generic 30 minute meeting that folks can use to schedule dedicated time with you. Once scheduled it will show up on both of your calendars, and can easily be changed if you need to reschedule.
Slack is an incredible tool for communication among teams and is very popular in the startup space. In schools it has tremendous potential for internal communication. In my last school our school secretaries were awesome at using Slack to find students and minimized interruptions in the classroom. We used it to communicate when there was a power outage and the intercoms were not working. Teachers knew they could try me there if I didn’t hear my walkie talkie. It’s also a great way to share shoutouts and build culture.
This is the 21st century notebook. For notes in meetings, tracking conversations you have with people, and learning at conferences Evernote is a great tool. It is searchable so you can quickly access old notes. You can also take photos of cards, docs, whiteboards, and sticky notes to collect everything. You can quickly capture screenshots and links for future reference.
When you feel like going analog Bullet Journal is the best “planner” I’ve ever found. This is because the planner isn’t pre-determined for you. Have you been caught in an endless planner loop- always looking for a better one? I’ve tried them all. Bullet Journaling allows for flexibility within form. You can bullet journal using any notebook. It is a super simple way to tie your long term goals to monthly projects to daily actions.
What tools help you stay focused and grounded? Is there an old-school practice that you’ve improved with a new technology? Please share! As leaders we should always be seeking new tools that could help us do the most important work of supporting teachers and students.
Education careers are tough. These entries are dedicated to making the lives of educators easier and empowering those who have chosen this path to reach their potential in work and life.