Last year there was a post by Stephanie (@Traintheteacher) about how she used her iPhone in class and I was jealous at the time, but then at Christmas I upgraded to an iPhone and was very excited at the possibilities. It was a huge jump in technology for me and has drastically changed the way that I am able to function as a teacher as I am now connected all the time and everything that I need is at my fingertips.
Some would argue that being too connected is not healthy and I would agree; I am still trying to find the healthy medium between home and school, but with the help of the Do Not Disturb function only those I mark as Favorites can call, email, text or tweet me after 9:30pm.
Notes & Documents
The three go to Apps for me are Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive. I now have all of my data at my fingertips and no longer need to cart around folders of assessment data, spelling scores or running records. When I am given a stack of test results I just walk to the office photocopier, set scan, set my email as the recipient and push start. That stack is magically sucked into the copy machine and transformed to a PDF that is in my inbox and able to be opened in any of the three above apps.
Communication and Connectivity
There are the basics of email and SMS, but to that I can add Twitter, Pintrest, WhatsApp, Group Text, Skype and Google+. I have a contact list that contains the email, home address, home phone and Mobile number of my entire class, as well as friends, family and colleagues. I now have almost 500 people who I share resources with, seek guidance from and collaborate with on Twitter. I can now send a text to every mother and father in my class using Group Text. Another big bonus for me is Pintrest as it is the best place to find that simple, yet effective, art lesson.
Now this is the biggie for me as I manage or co-manage 4 blogs and previously that was hard. Now I have an app for the family private blog, an app for the class blog, an app for my professional learning and reflective blog and then I have an app for the students individual KidBlogs. Each has all passwords entered, linked to my YouTube account and I can post or approve comments at the tap of the screen. If a student posts after dinner I can check it and approve it instantaneously, where as previously it would take at least 12hours. Last week during the school triathlon I was able to blog the event as it happened then put my phone away and follow the last of the group on my bike.
Now I am not the biggest fan of iBooks, but do have a large collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy novels saved in my Dropbox for easy access if I am stuck in a place without a book. The aspect that I have come to enjoy with regards to eBooks is when it comes to professional reading. I use the Kindle App and have it linked to my Amazon account; to but a text and have it shipped to New Zealand can cost upwards of $40+ NZ, but the last two that I purchased they were there instantaneously for less than $12NZ (And I can have them on multiple devices, highlight, book mark and keyword search them).
-If you have not checked out Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess you must! @burgessdave
Audio and Visual
My phone is now a walking AV Unit. Audioboo allows me to record students’ stories and comments and embed them straight into our blogs. Music performances can be recorded and shared through Twitter, Email or Blog or can be used as the soundtrack of a movie. I can record video and stop motion with iLapse and create movies with iMovie. My constant companion is the iPhone camera that I use to record and share all events at school and it is easy to touch up with Snapseed and store on Flickr or blog, tweet or email.
I am not the most organized of people in the world, but for the past week I have used Carrot, which is an interactive To Do list and the shocking thing is… I am getting things done! I think of a job – I add it to carrot. I am asked to do something – I add it to carrot. I wake at 3am and think of a something I have forgotten – I add it to carrot. I am now at level 30, have a few virtual pets and get abused by my ‘To-do’ list for not visiting often enough, but it is working and having a positive impact on my productivity.
Bonus Fact 1
My iPhone also makes phone calls and stores all of my very important music.
Bonus Fact 2
I have created this blog post, including all images (of which I had to crop all) and hyper-links, on my iPhone through the use of a Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard, which comes in quite handy at times like these.