One of the hardest things about being a “connected” teacher these days is keeping track of all the seemingly endless information bombarding you via twitter, facebook, RSS feeds, and blogs. Developing a system to organize and manage all of the useful information I come across daily is an ever evolving process. I think every connected teacher has their own system, and I thought it might be useful to outline my own and to discuss some of the cool discoveries I’ve made in the past six months.
Of all of the tools I’ve adopted this year,Evernote is by far my favorite. I use Evernote to catalog and keep track of my lesson plans, readings, documents, as well as all of the useful articles and ideas I come across during regular twitter chats and via rss feeds. The ease with which I can save, organize, clip from the web, and search through documents and notes has made it my go to tool for all my teaching and many of my organizational needs. I really can’t say enough about how amazing Evernote is and I know I have just begun to scratch the surface of what this tool can do. Right now, I am enjoying using an IFTTT recipe that allows me to move articles of interest from my feedly and flipboard accounts right into an Evernote notebook. IFTTT is a web based application that allows you to create recipes to make your applications and programs work for you. For example, you can create a recipe that allows you to send starred email directly to a special folder in your evernote. Again, this is an application I have just started playing with but the potential is limitless and it is definitely worth checking out if you are looking to save yourself a few steps.
The 23 Things course and my desire to keep track of my favorites on twitter made me take a closer look Diigo this summer. I’ve had an account for a few years and frankly haven’t utilized it very much. I know I am quite late to the diigo party as many of the members of my PLN already use it extensively much in the same way that I use the evernote webclipper . What I learned by going back to Diigo is that it has become so much more than just a social bookmarking tool. They have added the ability to annotate and highlight texts both from your computer and using the web highlighter for Ipads or the chrome extension both of which are great tools. Diigo is a great tool, but for now I will just keep using it to catalog my twitter favorites before moving the best of them into my Evernote folders. I think Diigo is great, don’t get me wrong, but for me right now it is a place just to keep track of things to look back at later and then either pitch or save.
Obviously finding great resources and information on the web is wonderful and truly has made me a better teacher and a far more informed human being, but sharing what you find is a vital part of being a connected educator hence this blog and my absolute love of twitter. One of the coolest curating tools I’ve used this year is Learni.st which functions a bit like Pinterest for teachers. With an bookmarklet that allows you to put things right into vertical and visually appealing boards you create and Ipad/Iphone Apps, it is a very easy tool to use and one that I have come to rely on especially for curating for my PLN. Check out my learn.ist board on twitter for teachers for a good example.
So for now basically that is my system. I rely extensively on Evernote and use a variety of other tools to help me keep track of all the amazing things that come across my screens every day, and I use twitter, this blog, and learni.st to share my learning. I am always adapting and updating this system and would love to hear other ideas and learn what works best for you!