Ten Tech Tips for Taking Care of You in 2022

Happy New Year! I hope that you’ve had a chance to relax and recharge a bit over the last week or so.

Unfortunately, as I noted in a Tweet last week, I’ve seen more mid-year openings for teaching jobs than I can ever recall in nearly two decades of looking at job boards. One of my friends told me that six teachers in her school aren’t returning after the holiday break. I get it, people are stressed to their max and some have decided not to return. I’m not judging, at all. What I can do is try to help reduce some of that stress by helping teachers use technology to their advantage.

Using Tech to Make Time for Your Needs

I like to automate as many work things as I can so that I have more time for the things that matter to me, make me happy, and reduce my stress (by the way, part of this newsletter is automated and I rarely write it on Sunday evening). Here are some simple things you can do to automate the mundane or routine parts of your job.

  • Create and use canned responses and email templates. Here’s how to do it in Gmail and here’s how in Outlook.

  • Create and use comment banks for delivering feedback. You can do that in Google Classroom by following these directions. Alternatively, you can use Google Keep to create a comment bank that you use in Google Docs and Slides. For all other learning management systems, e-Comments is a Chrome extension you can use to maintain a comment bank. Here’s an overview of e-Comments.

  • When it comes to giving feedback, some of us can speak it faster than we can type it. If you teach in a Google Workspace environment, the Mote Chrome extension lets you record audio feedback to students in Google Docs, Classroom, and Slides. Here’s an overview of all the ways Mote can be used.

  • Set and maintain offline hours. Some of my friends are now including in their email signatures statements like “I endeavor to maintain work and life balance. Don’t expect a response after 5pm or on weekends.”

  • I use a Chrome extension called Stay Focusd (no “e”) to limit my own access to social media distractions so that I work more efficiently during the day and have more time for fun, de-stressing activities like riding my bike and playing with my kids.

Using Tech to Remember and Inspire

  • Did you get a new smartwatch in the last month? If so, turn on the “move” reminder that’s probably built into it. My Garmin Fenix 5 watch has one, Apple Watches have them, Suunto watches have them, and just about every other smartwatch I’ve seen has one.

  • Just like the reminder to move, most smartwatches can remind you to drink water throughout the day. The simple act of going for a little walk (or more) and drinking more water can reduce stress and make your day a little bit better.

  • Don’t have a smartwatch or don’t like wearing it all the time (sometimes the band on my Garmin watch gives me a rash if I wear it too much)? Then use reminders on your phone or computer. For years I’ve used Google Keep to set reminders to drink water throughout the day. Those reminders pop-up on my phone and desktop.

  • Perhaps my favorite way to stay motivated to excercise is to join into challenges on Strava. Strava is a social network for runners and cyclists (you can follow me). You can use it to track your progress privately and or to see how you stack up against other runners and cyclists in your area. There are also lots of professional endurance athletes on Strava and it’s fun to see just how good they are.

  • Finally, if you need a little inspiration, my pal Rushton Hurley has a knack for finding inspirational videos. He shares them on Next Vista for Learning’s Inspiring Videos collection, check it out.

And now back to the regularly scheduled program…

If this felt a bit too much like a human interest story crossed with a Tony Robbins seminar, don’t worry because next week I’ll get back to the regular program of just straight-up edtech tips.

50 Tech Tuesday Tips

  • 50 Tech Tuesday Tips is my new ebook curated from more than 400 editions of this newsletter. I put it together to provide tech coaches, media specialists, and teachers who need ideas to share in staff development workshops.

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