Wednesday, August 6, 2014

5+ tech tools to try this year

Today is the official first day back at school for me (students return on August 11th).  For the first time in 10 years, I will be going back as a music teacher.  A ton has changed since the last time I was in the classroom and I am excited to be able to use some new tools.

Here is a list of 5 tech tools I am going to try this year:

This year I will be working with student from 4th and 5th grade at three different sites. This will be an effective way to communicate concerts and rehearsals as well as reminders to students and their families. Gone are the days of paper notes going home.

Not having to maintain a gradebook for many years has been a blessing. Now that I have to again, I am eager to use this one. Having a portable gradebook to record progress of students on instruments is going to be helpful. The website has extensive 'How To' instructions and it seems as if the tool is well supported and maintained.

Google Drive
I have spent so much time getting others to use Google Drive in their classrooms the past two years I am excited that I finally get to use it for myself.  On a personal note, this summer I removed Office from my desktop and do 95% of my work on Drive.  The other 5% I do on LibreOffice which is free and does what Google Drive doesn't (envelopes!).  I am also looking forward to sharing documents with students and parents.

I currently use Evernote to "remember everything."  From little notes to myself, to planning, to web clippings, and anything else I need to remember, this is the tool.  This tool I use for myself to stay organized and on top of things.  I have a good system right now but I am sure it will improve and adapt to meet the new challenges before me.  I am sure it will be invaluable while I am  at 3 different schools each week.

GarageBand (iOS)
I am a bit rusty on my accompaniment skills with piano and guitar.  This will be my replacement while I beef those up (they were never beefy to begin with).  I will eventually look at ways to have students do the creating (or accompanying).

Bonus: iOS Apps I will be using and trying:
insTuner - Chromatic Tuner
WunderList - hear very great things about this, going to give it a try as my to do list.

Do you have any tech tools that you use or are going to try?  Would love to hear about them below.