Thing 21: Productivity Tools

Oh, my! I started reading the blog post and now realize why I have procrastinated so long in getting started. There is so much information to absorb almost to the point of giving up. But isn’t that a part of my job — teaching students to push through all the “stuff” and find what they really need for their particular task. So, I am pulling myself out of the abyss and will push through the anxiety and trepidation.

Dropbox

Although I had heard of Dropbox, I never really felt the need to open yet another account that I would forget about and never use until I was having trouble uploading something from the My Story app on my iPad and the app offered Dropbox as an option. I wanted a way for parents to be able to access the stories in a safe manner. So, I decided to open a Dropbox account and can now share the student’s work with their families using a Dropbox link (the link will take you to the mp4 version of the story but in order for it to work I had to open it with a media player).

I really like the fact that I can save something on my iPad and it immediately shows up on my computer and vice versa. Although I understand how difficult this might be to install on work computers, it would be really handy if I could drop a document I am working on in the Dropbox folder and begin working on the same document on my home computer. It eliminates the step of emailing the document to myself, downloading it, and then emailing it back to work for the next day. I know that I can use Google Docs (and yes, I do) but I find Dropbox very convenient and Microsoft Word has options that just aren’t available on Google Docs.

I discovered an unexpected use of Dropbox when my son used it to send me his college schedule. He regularly uses Dropbox to transfer files from his various devices and to share with his professors. Other than the fact that they wanted you to use a ridiculously strong password when you signed up, I think this is a tool that I will use for many years to come. Alas, I have discovered that it is far easier to upload my student’s videos onto my school YouTube account and give that link to parent’s instead but I will definitely continue to use Dropbox for storing pictures and documents that I don’t want to lose.

IFTTT

After exploring this tool and creating a few new recipes, I fear that it is something that I will never return to but then again you never know. As a person who is on Twitter but doesn’t really participate, this could be a tool that could help me become more proficient in tweeting things that I find important or exciting and actually several of the recipes I set up are related to Twitter because like blogging, it is something I should do but I just don’t make it a priority.

My take on productivity tools is that they are good in theory but in practice, I don’t use them or forget them or maybe I just don’t quite understand why I need them. Although not directly related, I use Pinterest in a way that many use bookmarking because I post pictures of activities or ideas and go back to them whenever I need them. Of course, once on Pinterest, my productivity can decrease from many hours due to all the wonderfully, distracting pictures. Maybe someday I will become a master of my time and become more productive. In the meantime, I’m going back to IFTTT to see what other recipes I can use.

A bonus for those who don’t want to download the video linked above, here it is. Let me know what you think!

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