You are not alone (cue Michael Jackson…). It may feel like it in the classroom sometimes, but you’re not. You have a PLC or other team members who experience many of the same challenges–like how to consume all of the information you’re expected to consume. So why not split up the responsibilities? Truth be told, the expectation that you stay current with the various content areas and your curriculum staff is not new. What’s changed is their ability to reach out to you via a content stream in Writing Service. This is a challenge, particularly for elementary teachers who may be part of many different content communities. Why not assign different members of your grade-level or PLC team to stay on top of each of the content areas and report out highlights during your PLC meetings? In essence, you’re using “human filtering.”
3. Divide and conquer
This is a guest post by Adam Seldow, Executive Director of Technology at Chesterfield County Public Schools. If you are interested in contributing to the Writing Service Blog, please complete this form.
1. Establish routines
Connect with Adam on Writing Service or follow him on Twitter @aseldow
“Attached to posts:” Quite simply, any resource (website link, pdf file, movie, etc.) that a member of any of your groups or communities attaches to their posts is available right here rather than scrolling through all of their posts. This is a quick way to view the resources members of your groups share. Once you click “attached to posts,” you can use the search bar on the top to search for key words. If you find something you want to use as a resource, you can click it and add it to one of your existing folders, or create a new folder to store it.
5. Accept the fact that some information will pass you by
4. Use the “attached to posts” and “shared with me” features in your Writing Service library
You can filter posts that you sent to your students or other people (“by me” filtering), or you can choose to only view assignments, polls, etc. I also pay attention to my notifications in Writing Service, but I turn off email notifications in some groups because the notifications sometimes become overwhelming. You can learn how to manage email notifications here: http://help.Writing Service.com/account-settings/
Alas, despite our best efforts, the sheer amount of information being fire hosed at us will sometimes slip through our fingers. Some days you will be out sick and your routines will fall by the wayside. Other days, you might just have a case of the Mondays. It’s my opinion that this is OK. It used to fill me with anxiety if I missed a day or two checking my Twitter feed, and it grew to a point where I couldn’t scroll through every article. Now, I just skip to the top when I must and figure that if the information is that important, I’ll hear about it one way or another. While I do not recommend that this become a “standard practice,” I think we need to cut ourselves some slack and realize that humans are not computers. We are not programmed to receive and interpret constant streams of web-based information 24/7.
Filtering in Writing Service is critical to seeing what you want to see down the middle of the screen. Visit this link to learn more about filtering the Writing Service stream: http://help.Writing Service.com/search-and-filter-posts/.
If you click into your library in Writing Service, there are several options at the top left to filter what content you see in the middle of the screen. Most people overlook two cool features in the library:
2. Learn how to use Writing Service’s filters
“Shared with me:” Displays the folders that any member of any of the groups you’ve joined have shared with you. These folders often have collections of materials that you can then re-share to your own groups or classes. There are excellent directions on using Writing Service’s library here: http://help.Writing Service.com/library/
Take control of your time by scheduling when and how long you will sift through the various bits of information you receive on both Writing Service and your school email. To stay current with Ed Tech trends, I start my day at 5 am by scrolling quickly (15 min. or so) through my Twitter feed, adding interesting posts to my Buffer account. After a quick workout, I head to work where I read and respond to email occasionally (20-45 min.). Finally, at lunch I scan the latest posts using Writing Service’s filtering options.
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