2019 is just a couple of days away. I have New Year’s resolutions and I bet that you and your students do too. In my 40 years I’ve found that will power is the most important “tool” for maintaining a new habit, but there are technology tools that can help too. Here are some tools that can help you and your students keep track of your goals and record progress toward reaching them.
Google Tools for Reminders and Progress Tracking
Google Keep is available to anyone who has a G Suite for Education account or a Gmail account. I use it every day to remind myself of little tasks that I need to do. Google Keep works equally well on Android, iOS, and in the web browser of your favorite laptop including Chromebooks. I use the reminder feature in Google Keep every day. Any note that you make in Google Keep can be turned into a reminder by simply selecting the “reminder” icon on the note then choosing a reminder time. I use this feature to remind myself to do push-ups which helps me toward my fitness goal. Watch this video to learn how to use Google Keep to set reminders.
Google Forms and Google Sheets can be great tools for helping you help your students keep track of their progress toward goals. Flippity has an easy-to-follow template for making a progress indicator through Google Sheets. This video will show you how it works.
The shortcoming of Flippity’s progress chart template is that you have to manually enter the data on behalf of your students. If you don’t want to do that, you can create a Google Form for students to submit their own progress updates and then you can view those updates in a Google Sheets pivot table. I outlined that process in this video.
Microsoft Tools for Reminders and Progress Tracking
In the last year I have become a regular OneNote user. But there is one thing that keeps me from using it as a full replacement for Google Keep and that is the cumbersome manner in which reminders are handled through OneNote. Although, to be fair the process wouldn’t be cumbersome if I used Outlook. If you use OneNote and Outlook you can create task reminders through OneNote to display in Outlook. That process is outlined here.
In the section above I shared my video about using Google Forms and Sheets to collect progress data and then display it in a pivot table. You can do the same thing with Microsoft Forms and Excel. Collect data through a Microsoft Form and then view the collected data in an Excel sheet to create a pivot table. Watch this video for an introduction to pivot tables in Excel.
An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions
At this time last year I stumbled onto a short TED Talk by Matt Cutts. Cutts was formerly Google’s head of webspam and is currently the acting administrator of the US Digital Service. In his TED Talk Matt Cutts presents the 30 day challenge as an alternative to making huge 365 day goals or New Year’s resolutions.
Professional Development Goals for 2019
If your professional development goals for 2019 include learning new technology skills and improving how you use technology in your classroom, consider joining one of the three online courses I’m offering in January.