I love teaching. Chances are, if you have made it to this blog post, you also love teaching. Among the myriad of reasons, I love the creative process teaching requires. We, as educators, must constantly go back and fourth between creation and implementation. Our work is never waiting for us. We must create it. I LOVE this aspect of the vocation.
Keeping the above in mind, I also, like you, find myself getting overwhelmed by not only the many innovative tools at our disposable, but more importantly, the innovative pedagogies I come across on twitter, reading blogs, and in conversation with other educators. It does feel counterintuitive that the abundance of innovation is also a road block to innovation.
Even more cognitively dissonant, is the overwhelmed feeling I get when trying to search for, and learn a new tool to keep track of, my thoughts and ideas. I've tried EVERYTHING and nothing seems to work. By "work", I mean, be a space where an idea is stored, removed from Working Memory, accessed, evaluated and used. One place.
This frustration has brought me back, in the past year to the joy and aesthetics of a simple paper notebook; a place where I jot things down, don't have to have any specific device, and can keep track of easily. Until, I lose it, like I did lost month at the movies (Catching Fire was #legit though...). Not only did I lose it, I swear, I lost 10+ ideas that could have benefited my students.
So, after that #ridonkylously long-winded introduction, below is what I am doing now. I needed a system that was grounded in technology, but a technology that is so old, that it transcends "technology" and is just a solid, branded part of our Long-Term Memory : TEXT MESSAGES.
I text all the friggin time! My mom, my dad (awkward, yes...but effective), my wife, my students, everybody. It's not only how I communicate, it is how we all communicate. Sad, yes, that I don't pick up the phone to call somebody, but prolific, and a space that can be leveraged to curate my ideas in a more efficient and more collaborative manner.
Below is the work flow:
Step 1: Sign up for If This, Than That account.
Step 2: Sing up for Google Drive, and make a sheet called "Idea Dump"
Step 3: Create the below recipe. This recipe will allow you to text If This, Than That, and they will subsequently, drop whatever you texted them in a row in that same spreadsheet.
Step 4: Save the number in your cell phone (and any other cell phone you might use from time-to-time...wife, husband, partner, etc.) as "Idea Dump". This allows you to pull up the number quickly, and "dump" your idea down without even thinking. See screenshot below:
Step 5: Share your spreadsheet as a "view only" document publicly with the world via your blog, website, etc. See screenshots below:
Step #5 is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT part, and the part that all other mechanisms missed. I am often asked questions like: "How did you come up with that?", or "I wish I could be in your head.". The deal is, we ALL have amazing ideas, we ALL LOVE our students and WE ALL owe to one another to capture those ideas, even if they are as simple as the ones you see above, share them BACK TO OURSELVES and OUT TO ONE ANOTHER.