I’ve investigated online planning systems before but never found an off the peg solution that worked for me. I moved instead to a combination of tools that allows me to work without paper – no paper diaries and worksheets are printed on demand.
I don’t write detailed lesson plans as I write my powerpoints (or smartboard notebooks) to be the lesson plan, leading me through the lesson and and acting as a prompt. I write my lesson plans in my online calendar (I use my work Exchange calendar but any online calendaring system should work as well). I set up a repeating lesson with an empty lesson plan template and then edit individual lesson plans with activities etc. I have blogged about my system before.
I create and edit my resources at home (my powerpoints all have a very similar theme with learning outcomes in the footer). I often grab YouTube videos using KeepVid which guarantees that they will play when I need them. I have Dropbox on my own laptop and Dropbox portable on an encrypted USB flashdrive so that each machine has the latest version of every resource. We have a Sharepoint drive at work for all our school documents so I only use Dropbox for my teaching outsources. An added perk of using online cloud storage platforms is the ability to share folders with other teachers when required.
Every professional needs a to-do list. I’ve tried all kinds of stand alone systems like Wunderlist but these didn’t work for me. Instead have two lists – my inbox and a tasks list in Outlook. I prioritise tasks to help manage my workload, marking tasks (and emails) for follow-up within a specific time frame. I always aim for inbox zero but tend only to achieve this at the end of term as I catch up in the holidays.
I sync this list using the Reminders app on my iPad and using Nine (my exchange client) so that I can always add tasks as they occur to me.
Teaching ideas and articles
I read a lot of teaching blogs and articles in the media. I’ve blogged before about using Feedly to keep up with blogs but I do follow other sources like the Guardian and the TES. Some teachers use Pinterest or Google+ to bookmark interesting sites. I did used to rely heavily on delicious.com but I have concerns about the longevity of this site and so I have come to rely on Evernote more and more. Evernote is hard to summarise in one sentence but I think of it as a sort of notebook and data storage/organisation system.
I store interesting articles into Evernote so I can find them later. I also store seminar notes in here, for example notes I took at the ASE conference together with handouts and accompanying resources.
Advantages of being paperless
I’ve mentioned that I use my work and own laptops (I prefer my own as it has a higher resolution screen). I also use an iPad and my phone. The beauty of running a paperless system means I can access my documents on any of my devices. Being paperless means all my resources are kept securely (with 2-Factor authentication protecting my accounts) and backed up by the companies who host them.