Techspectations - Workload vs. Workflow
Workload. A concept that both drives and exhausts School Leaders. Our work as Instructional Leaders, Operational Supervisors and Visionaries, means that we must wear several hats. However, the work of today’s School Leader has evolved to also include the role of Digital Leader and Innovator.
If we are going to set high ‘techspectations’ for our students and staff, then we as digital leaders, need to set the same expectations for ourselves and model behaviours for both staff and students. When done effectively, these expectations do not add to our workload. Rather, using Web 2.0 tools to control, organize and manage our workflow enables us to become more efficient and focused digital leaders.
Let’s start talking about workflow instead of workload.
So, you have a task, a great link or an idea a colleague has passed along. Traditionally, we either write information on a sticky note, then place it in or on our day book or around our computer monitors or even better still we send ourselves an email with the information we need. I accepted defeat with these methods as I cluttered my day book with notes and pieces of paper, surrounded my monitor in a sea of pastel squares and I also lost emails as hundreds of other emails came in daily, all the while adding to my workload causing me to lose time and sleep.
I soon discovered Web 2.0 tools that helped me turn my workload into an efficient workflow. The first criteria for any tool I select is, it must be multi-platform; meaning it can be used across all devices. The second criteria I use is simple, I have to like using it. That’s it, that’s all.
In my quest to manage my tasks I found Wunderlist (www.wunderlist.com). This is just one of many task apps. Select the one you like best, to personalize your workflow. Wunderlist allows me to enter my tasks wherever I am and then act on them and check them off my list when completed. I can even share my list with colleagues. I use this app from my phone, my tablet and my desktop. Nothing is forgotten. I actually sleep better because I am not worrying about forgetting things.
My other great discovery is the Pocket app (www.getpocket.com). This app allows me to save web links that I discover, but don’t have time to look at. With one click, on any device, I can save and tag these items for simple storage and easy searching when I have time later. No more lost sticky notes or deleted emails, the information I need is at my fingertips, when I need it.
I have also found great curation tools as well to streamline my workflow and provide 24/7 access to my resources. This allows me to present content I have found for staff, administrative teams and so on. Two tools that I use are Scoop.it (www.scoop.it) for visual bookmarking and public consumption of links and I use Diigo (www.diigo.com) for more professional sharing of links. Think of these tools as portable bookmarks you use in your browser. However, everyone can access these wherever they are and from whatever device they are on. No more time wasted clicking around for lost links.
Through the effective use of web 2.0 tools I have been able to shift my workload to workflow. At the same time, I am able to model techspectations for my staff, and therefore, demonstrate the key qualities of a Digital Leader.