Friday, 15 December 2017

Making lists and checking them twice




At this time of year we're making lists (and checking them twice) in both our personal and professional lives: things we need to do at work before the end of the term, presents we still need to buy or shopping lists for the festive period - and the lists go on...

So we thought it a good time to revisit our posts on Google Keep. Keep is a fantastic note-making app (along the same lines as Sticky Notes, Evernote etc) which you can add lists, photos and handwritten annotations to - and then in true Google style, whichever device or computer you are using, you have access to all of them. So making a shopping list in your lunch hour at work means it comes with you to Tesco in the evening. Making a to-do list for the last few days of term whilst sitting in front of the tv means you can log in to your PC tomorrow and have the list in front of you. Really handy, and so simple to use.

It's incredibly simple but can also be supercharged - Docs and Slides now have a 'Keep Notepad' under the 'tools' drop-down menu so you can see your notes within Docs and Slides. Coupled with the ability to tag your notes and colour code them, we are finding new ways of using Keep all the time.

For this time of year though, we love it as a simple to-do list maker. There's nothing more satisfying than being able to tick things off a list!

All of our posts on Google Keep, including training videos on how to use it, can be found here, covering everything from the simple to the supercharged.

Now, where did I put that shopping list.....


Monday, 11 December 2017

School closures not as they used to be

The 'Snow Bomb' that hit over the weekend has led to school closures in some areas today. 

Thankfully, with the way we work and teach these days, coupled with the way pupils learn, it doesn't necessarily have to mean a wasted day.

Our eBook library at books.dret.cloud has already seen a spike in hits this morning. Stuck knowing what to read? Why not check our recommended reading lists at reading.dret.cloud.

With tools such as Google Classroom being used widely across the Trust, teachers can stay in touch with their students remotely as required - either using it as a message board, or setting work, directing students to websites or eBooks, or other general updates that don't need face to face interaction.

With such a widespread geography of schools, we have been keen on video conferencing for ages - but on days like today, these tools really come into their own. We love Appear.in and Google Meet for meeting online, and I for one plan on using it lots today with colleagues up and down the country.

It's also days like today where tools like Google Drive really stand out. An unexpected planning day for teachers, or catch up admin days for office staff? No problem - you can access all your files without needing to be at school or needing to access the 'shared area'. A bonus revision day for students, or wanting to carry on their work away from school? Again, no problem if their files are saved on Google Drive! Need to hand something in to the teacher or the teacher needs to share something with students? I think you get the idea...

For our staff, we have online CPD that can be undertaken remotely at awards.dret.cloud without needing to be in school. Already today we have seen staff taking advantage of a school closure by signing up for courses which is fantastic to see.

Times really have changed! Remember the days when there was nothing else to do apart from pull the duvet back over your head and hibernate for the day?!

If you are a DRET staff member or student, you can see all of our training videos on the tools mentioned above at training.dret.tv or if you want to practice video conferencing then I can be your guinea pig if you need someone to call.

At least this weather is a good excuse for an extra spoonful of marshmallows in the hot chocolate ☕