September 18, 2012

Calendar Awesomeness

I like blogs that get right down to business, so I'm going to go straight to the important stuff here and then if you feel like reading about why I wrote this blog you can keep going. 
If you do, I promise you a good laugh at me and my ridiculousness by the end (rolls eyes).  
Here goes: 

How to Get in The Google Calendar Game:
There is plenty written about this, so I'll just provide some links.

1. Get a Google Account if you don't have one. This will give you access to Gmail (though you don't have to use it), Google Docs (another amazing collaboration tool), Blogger (which is how I'm writing this blog right now), and tons more.

2. Go make some Calendars. This link is for a 9 minute video for those of you who like to walk through set-up with a video tutor. But Google Cal is pretty intuitive, and you'll get pretty far by just playing with it. If you need to know how to get to it...just go to a Google search page and look at that top black bar.

3. Share. Just like with our kiddos. Share your tools :)
4. Sync your Calendars with your laptop and other devices...if you want. This link is to a blog post that gives good details about how to do this. But know that this step is only a convenience. Even if you don't sync, your Google Cal is available everywhere just by going to it on the web. :)

Note: Yes, it will sync with Android as well, but I didn't put a link for that here. If you want a hand with that, leave me a comment and I'll find a good resource for that too!

Now here's the rest of the blog about why you should do Steps 1-4 above!

At school last week we started a Calendar conversation. 
I made promises of Awesomeness. 
I stand by those promises, because...i.LOVE. my Google Calendars. 
I have 17 of them (yes one of them isn't showing up in this picture if you're the type who just counted.  I'm positively fond of you, if you're the one who just counted. hee.)

But change is never easy and many of us have other calendars we already use and don't want (need?) one more system.

We should never add technology layers if they won't make things simpler, easier, more efficient, more collaborative, etc.

My litmus test for my teachers this year is this:
Will this technology save them time and effort while helping them do what they do (engage kids in meaningful learning) even more awesomely?   

If the answer is, "no but it's a neato technology...," then I won't bring it to them. That's my commitment to the Rockstars I work with.  In the case of Google Calendars though, there is so much potential for simplicity, time-saving and collaboration over any other tool available to them that it's well worth bringing to the table. (And it's free...what?!)
What are the benefits:
  • Google Calendars can be shared. This means that I can set up a Calendar for my team, share it with them and now we all can make changes to it, see each others schedule, etc. At school, our Principal can put important info (assemblies and recess duty) on a master calendar and the teachers can all see it in real time right up against their own personal calendars. That brings me to the next awesome feature...
  • Google Calendar can send you a Text or Email reminder. So in the case of my teachers, they can go into the Principal's Master Calendar on their recess duty entry and ask it to send a reminder to their phone the night before they are due on the playground. The beauty of this is they didn't have to remember to add their duty schedule to their personal calendar. It's already there on the shared one! They just ask for a reminder.
  • Everything is in one place and available wherever I have internet access. I can log on to any computer or internet device anywhere and have access to my calendar. I don't have to be on MY laptop. I can also have access to my boys schedule and my husband's work schedule
  • Everything can be Simplified. But I don't have to look at everyone's calendars most of the time. I can turn them on when I need to check and right back off. 

Now the part where you laugh at me.
Yeah. That's us the day I remembered to take him to 7th grade.
I believe in humor as much as I believe in leveraging technology. This is why I often do stupid things. Remember this blog post about my parental awesomeness?
I'm happy to report that we do have improvement since the first day of 6th grade, because we did in fact make it for the first day of 7th grade this year. 
We celebrated with cake.
Today I forgot him at Cross Country practice. Didn't even think about him until my phone buzzed at 17 minutes past. 
Ask me why I forgot him. 
I was writing a blog post about how awesome Google Calendar is because you can have it send you text reminders so you won't be late picking up your kids.
He laughs at me, this boy. I do too, thank goodness. (I've always said, "if your kids know you're really, really crazy about them you can make a lot of mistakes and they'll be ok." I've now added, "but start a therapy fund just in case...")

I just set a reminder that will buzz my phone 17 minutes before I'm late next time.
Did I mention that I love my Google Calendars?

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