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10 ed-tech resources for school administrators


You don’t have to be a technology-savvy administrator to start implementing these resources today

technology-administrator-educationSometimes it may seem like teachers get to experience all the technology “fun,” but there are many education technology resources that school administrators can use to meet the unique challenges they face.

For example, many school administrators spend time reviewing and revising handfuls of crucial documents. Administrators also need to be able to communicate with staff anytime, anywhere; appease anxious parents; know learning standards and implementation strategies; and provide 21st-century professional development for staff–not an easy job.

However, it doesn’t always take the latest and greatest (sometimes even in beta) technology to make an administrator’s job more efficient; sometimes, it’s the often-overlooked technology, or vetted technology an administrator may not know about, that can help juggle multiple tasks within a day.

Keeping administrator education technology fatigue in mind, this list presents often-basic, yet tried-and-true technology resources that can help administrators complete tasks more easily and with greater efficiency.

All technologies listed (in alphabetical order) have a relatively easy learning curve and are often free to use.

Know of any technology resources for administrators we may have missed, or just some that you want to share? Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments section below, or eMail me at mstansbury@eschoolnews.com.

(Next page: Resources 1-4)

1. Apps for documents

Reading articles sent by colleagues, annotating documents, working with excel files, bookmarking resource sites and archiving eMail are all part of an administrator’s day. And when administrators work as part of larger district teams and task forces, they need a way to share their work.

There are many apps, available for tablets, that can help organize files and allow for note-taking and distribution:

  • Instapaper (Android and Apple): Provides a mobile-optimized Text view that makes reading internet content a clean and uncluttered experience. Saves most web pages as text only and stores up to 500 articles on your iPhone or iPad, and stores unlimited articles on the Instapaper website. Read offline, and send to Instapaper from 150 other iPhone and iPad apps.
  • CloudOn (Android and Apple): Makes Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) docs more accessible and useful by letting you edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations from anywhere with complete functionality.
  • Pocket Cloud (Android and Apple): A secure and fast way to remotely connect to your Mac or Windows desktop with your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Access your files, pictures, and applications like Outlook, Word, Photoshop, games or any other program.
  • GoodReader (Apple): A super-robust PDF reader for iPad. Besides reading, you can also sync your files with remote servers, such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync and any WebDAV, AFP, SMB, FTP or SFTP server.
  • iAnnotate PDF (Android and Apple): Use iAnnotate to read, mark up, and share PDF, DOC, PPT and image files.
  • Evernote (Android and Apple): Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

2. The Cloud

Many educators have used products like Apple’s iCloud and Google Docs—both free applications—to store documents in the cloud, which can then be safely accessed anywhere from any device. Documents hosted in the cloud are accessible by anyone given access to that document, which boosts collaborate working efforts.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs and videos anywhere and share them easily. Put your stuff in Dropbox and get to it from your computers, phones, or tablets. Edit docs, automatically add photos, and show off videos from anywhere. Share photos with friends, or work with your team like you’re using a single computer. Everything’s automatically private, so you control who sees what. Dropbox also secures your files with 256-bit AES encryption and two-step verification.

4. edWeb.net

edWeb.net is a free professional social and learning network that provides an intuitive Web 2.0 platform that includes webinars, blogs, discussions, file-sharing, shared calendars, wikis, live chat, messaging, polling, and shared links. Administrators can share best practices, information on what’s working, and support each other across schools, districts, states, the country, and even around the world. Forums cover a variety of topics and include everything from the characteristics of a 21st-century school leader to game-based learning. A full list of communities can be found here. All communities have free webinars and all webinar attendees will earn CE certificates. A webinar calendar can be found here. To watch the webinars or participate in communities, visitors must register, but registration is free and edWeb.net does not spam mail.

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5. eSchool News

Our publication’s coverage spans across K-12, but did you know that we also have a section dedicated specifically to tech-savvy administrators? Topics include the challenges of rural schools, areas that can improve teaching quality, how K-12 leaders can cope with power shifts, how to turn data into achievement, and much more. Check out our microsite here.

6. Padagogy Wheel

This wheel, created by Allan Carrington, learning designer with the eLearning Development Team at the University of Adelaide in Australia, is less about the iPad than it is about technology integration, encouraging education leaders to focus on redefining current standards and the current role tech plays in the classroom. The wheel depicts Bloom’s Taxonomy as Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy—a must-use for all administrators interested in implementing mobile learning.

7. Parent Portal

Appeasing parents and allowing them to interact with their student’s schedules, homework and assessments is crucial for any 21st century administrator who’s looking to bridge school and community. If you don’t have one already, parent portals allows not only parents, but administrators who want a quick snapshot of a student’s progress, to view schedules, teacher contacts, end-of-term grades, state assessment results from previous years, and more. More resources on creating parent portals can be found here.

8. Skype

Make internet calls for free and cheap online calls to phones and mobiles with Skype—a great way to hold a meeting with work colleagues. You can use Skype on whatever works best for you—on your phone or computer or a TV with Skype on it. It is free to start using Skype, but if you pay a little more, you can call phones, access WiFi or send texts. You can pay as you go or buy a subscription, whatever works for you.

9. Tablet or iPad

Now is the time to buy a tablet or an iPad, thanks to upgraded operating systems and better design functionality. Tablets can connect wirelessly, enable on-the-go eMail and app access, and more.

10. Twitter

Twitter has come a long way for educators, and now include many hashtags specific not just to education, but to administrators as well. By joining Twitter, you’ll be able to follow groups such as #edchat, #cpchat (connected principals), #edadmin (school administrators), #edtech, #commoncore and many other groups. By following specific groups, you’ll be able to keep in touch with colleagues, meet and share ideas with other administrators, and find new ideas and solutions for your workday challenges.

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Meris Stansbury

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.

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