If there’s one feeling many edtech coaches can relate to, it’s a sense of being pulled in several directions. After all, coaches often serve multiple grade levels and school sites and wear many hats.
“The good news is that once teachers get a taste of working with a really good coach, they can’t get enough of it and they want them there every day,” says Katie Siemer, director of curriculum and technology for Forward Edge.
The (sort of) bad news: Coaches have to find ways to be efficient in order to survive.
“Web tools can be a solution to staying organized so productivity doesn’t suffer,” Siemer says. And she’s got a list of favorites to help:
YouCanBook.me. This tool simplifies scheduling and eliminates a bevy of back-and-forth emails to set up meetings. Siemer finds this resource particularly helpful for coaches who work at multiple sites. Plus, coaches can include a link to their YouCanBook.me calendar in their email signature to speed things along.
todoist. Coaches who find project management platforms overwhelming or too in-depth for their needs will appreciate todoist, a tool for managing tasks and projects both online and offline. Siemer appreciates that you can create projects based on specific activities or by the building where you’ll be working and can create to-do lists for each project that include due dates and reminders. Todoist is accessible from any device – as an extension in Google Chrome, an add-on in gmail or outlook, as an app, or online so your to-do’s are always in front of you. A paid version let’s you collaborate on checklists with teams.
“It’s simple, it does what it’s supposed to do well and it’s always accessible,” Siemer describes.
Noisli – Siemer finds working in silence impossible, preferring to work with white noise or ambient music in the background. Others might prefer the sound of fire, water or a thunderstorm. Noisli lets you create a sound environment by choosing sounds or mixing them to help you remain focused and boost your productivity. It’s also a perfect solution if online music streaming services are blocked at your school or district.
Onetab – This Google Chrome extension allows you to take a number of URLs and save them as a group. It’s a great solution for coaches who want to share, for instance, multiple websites, videos and Google Docs with teachers by combining them in a single URL. “It’s a great way for a coach to deliver professional development, and it’s especially nice if your school doesn’t have a learning management system,” Siemer explains.