As a Director for the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), I am often asked, what are some must-have tools for school administrators? Well, here are my favorites in no particular order.
Dropbox. Online storage is a must for any busy administrator. You no longer need a flash drive when all your documents are stored in the cloud. Plus, if you are not on your computer you can log in from any Internet connected computer and access your documents. Sharing is simple too. You can share one folder with your teachers and another with fellow principals.
Sugarsync. Sugarsync is much like Dropbox with a few exceptions. I use Sugarsync to sync all sub-folders in the My Documents folder. Thus my work computer, home computer, Macbook, and iPad have the same folder, the same structure, and the same documents. All of which are backed up online. Of course folks ask, is there a difference between Dropbox and Sugarsync? The short answer is yes and no. You can find reviews on many websites.
Google Docs. Keep and work on all your documents online. Google Docs allows you to share your documents online and collaborate. Now you can work on that grant collaboratively without sending the same document back and forth worrying about versions. One cool feature is you can work on the same document at the same time.
Google RSS. Use this to have new content from your favorite websites come to you. It is a great way to develop your own personal learning network.
Jing. Do you ever need to capture a webpage and want to share that image? With Jing, you can capture images and videos then share via a web address. Thus that image or video is stored online. You simply share the link and not a big file that may get marked as trash!
Text Expander. Administrators often get the same questions. Why not write the reply once, use a predetermined keystroke, and have the software fill in the text for you. This is a big timesaver.
Twitter. The beauty with Twitter is you can follow topics as well as people. Want to know what folks are talking about regarding educational technology, follow using #edtech.
Animoto. Use this to make a snazzy video about an accomplishment in your school. Drag in pictures of the football game or the spelling bee, add music (queue school band? or use Animoto’s stock of music) and the program builds a professional video that you can post to YouTube and share with the community.
Google Calendar. As a busy administrator you need your staff to know your availability. Using Google Calendar and making it open (you can hide what you are actually doing so those viewing simply see ‘busy’) others can see when you are free.
Doodle or Timebridge. These online schedulers are great. I use Doodle more often because it does not require a login or account. Both allow you to send dates / times either via email or a web link and determine when you should set a meeting. This is great when you have busy stakeholders to talk to.
If you know of others, feel free to drop the URL in the comment section and tell us how you use the tool!