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Education World Talks With

Principals Who Cant Live Without Technology

Part 3: Save Time, Increase Efficiency With Calendar Tools

In addition to using her iPAQ to create teacher evaluations, Amy Cole is adept at using it to keep tabs on scheduled appointments. She builds her calendar by using the calendar that is part of her Outlook email system.

My secretary has access to Outlooks calendar on her computer, so she is in charge of scheduling all my appointments, said Cole. She also inputs all school events so I know at all times what is going on at all grade levels. Each afternoon I synch my iPAQ to my computer so I can double-check my calendar for the next day.

The iPAQs calendaring capabilities enable Cole and her assistant principals to be in contact. We beam each other our daily schedules so we know where each other will be all day long, said Cole.

Principal Jack Noles says calendaring technology has made a huge difference in his life too. Although there are many cooler technologies being used in our district, I have to say the one that has streamlined an otherwise cumbersome process is shared calendars, said Noles.

I Love My Laptop --
No Yoke

Principal Tim Messick says the technology tool most valuable to him is his laptop computer. Although we have an abundance of techno tools in our school, I would be lost without my laptop, said Messick. It allows me to keep in touch, check my calendar, and work as needed, when needed. And I love the opportunity to take my personal machine with me when I travel.

Obviously, the downside is that a laptop can become a yoke that is hard to leave behind, added Messick, however I try to keep a fair balance, and I truly appreciate the laptop more as a tool than as work.

Rather than having to check in person or manage hard copies of written and re-written schedules, Noles and his secretary can simply access that information on their computer calendars.

Even more than the technology, it is the way in which we use that calendar that has helped the most. My secretary does all of my scheduling, which has freed up time for me. I merely follow the scheduled appointments. Of course, I have to remember to carry my PDA around with me so I have this information when I am mobile.

For ease of scheduling, I try to keep certain days available each week for appointments and others for classroom observations, added Noles, who is principal at Shallowater (Texas) Intermediate School.

Steve Whewell is another convert to calendar tools. It is the one technology tool I cant live without, Whewell, principal at Victory Christian School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told Education World.

I place everything on my electronic calendar, not just appointments, added Whewell. If I have to make a phone call, it goes on my calendar. If I need to speak with a student about something, I place it on my calendar.

Whewell says that having all his known tasks on his Outlook calendar helps him stay focused. It benefits me by keeping me on task and on top of the game instead of always trying to catch up, he said.

It also helps him follow up on situations he may not have time to attend to. If he doesnt finish a task by the end of the day, he moves it to the next appropriate day and time on his calendar. He also synchronizes his cell phone to his Outlook calendar each day.

I use a Sony P910, Whewell said, but there are many cell phones with Outlook synchronization capabilities these days. No matter where I go, I can always see my agenda for the day with a quick glance at my phone.

Whewell says his teachers are often impressed at how he doesnt forget about little things. My secret is my electronic calendar. It benefits my employees because I consistently follow up with their needs. Doing that sends a message to the staff that I care about their needs and am doing my best to give them all the support they need to do the incredibly tough jobs that they face.

Whewell recommends calendaring systems to every principal. Ive tried the paper planner route, and the electronic system is exceedingly better. We see enough slips of paper throughout the day. This system helps reduce paper clutter and the ridiculous train of yellow sticky notes that runs from the computer screen to the door clip.

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  • How Did We Ever Live Without Handhelds?
  • Using Technology to Improve Instruction, Boost Achievement
  • List of Principal Contributors

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