What Tech Tools Can I Use To Schedule Class Activities Efficiently?

Check Out the New Blog Teacher Helping Students With SchoolworkYou are an enthusiastic, committed teacher, convinced that education is more than just covering certain lessons printed in a book. So you devote a lot of your time preparing inquiry-based lessons, putting together activities that will challenge your students and then teaching or coaching in creative and engaging ways. But you want to go another extra mile and involve the community in the lives of your students. You want parents to know what children are learning, to be involved in their inquiry process, to give you regular feedback, to even volunteer for various activities. Your school and the parents’ community are very supportive of your ideas. But here’s the glitch – who is going to schedule these meetings, activities, feedback times? With all that you are already doing before and during your class, you are hardly left with any time or energy for all the back and forth that defines scheduling a meeting. This situation is undoubtedly familiar to most teachers.

Scheduling classes, lab timings, library hours, school-wide activities, parent-teacher appointments, potlucks and field trips, etc., can be as complex a task as any. What date suits most people? What time will everyone be available? If everyone is not available, how many are? These are just a few of the many details that usually fall upon the teacher to figure out, in addition to all their other teaching responsibilities.

Good teachers are not merely those who equip young minds with knowledge and add in a few engaging activities to sharpen the brain. Good teachers are also those who display meticulous management skills. The good news is that there are some great digital tools to help you out so that you’re efforts to enhance your students’ learning experiences don’t leave you feeling out of control and burnt out.

Let’s take a look at some useful web tools and consider how they can help:

Doodle : This is a free polling platform and functions as a great tool for scheduling group meetings with the input of all group members. To use Doodle you create a meeting title, select a series of dates and times for a possible meeting and then invite people to choose the dates and times that work best for them. You can finally set the final meeting time based on the most commonly selected date and time. This tool will work wonders for parent-teacher meetings or for deciding a good time for your meetings with other teachers and board members.

  • SignUp Genius: Replace the chaos of clipboards being passed around,with this free and easy way to create and organize online sign-up forms for all kinds of group activities. This platform creates a simple webpage on which people can sign-up for activities that you’ve specified. You can make your sign-up sheet public or private. If you want to schedule individual time with parents, this is a helpful tool as visitors can see which slots are already taken and sign up for the one that works best for them. What’s more, you can pick from a variety of themes and styles for your sign-up sheets, to make them more visually appealing.

Me: This is a free scheduling tool that allows people to book fixed blocks of time in your Google calendar. You can specify the length of each block of time and the dates and times you are available. Visitors to your calendar click a block and enter their email addresses to reserve time and an email alert is sent to you.

Wiggio: This collaboration tool makes scheduling group meetings easier with features such as a group calendar, a mass messaging system that works with cell phones and email, and a group polling system. It can also be used by groups to share files and links.

 Calendly: It integrates its entries into your Google Calendar and is an easy way of creating appointment slots. Those who want to schedule an appointment with you can do it by just clicking a time on your calendar and entering their names. Visitors don’t need a Google Account to view or enter information into an appointment slot. Calendly could be a great way of fixing time slots with students to discuss assignments or progress in learning.

ShiftPlanning: Among several other functions, the ShiftPlanning tool can be used for scheduling shifts for staff, lab timings, library hours etc. Hit the tab ‘Schedule’ to see the schedule page. Initially you will be at the current date (shown in yellow) and you can navigate forwards and backwards using the red arrows to the left and right of the ‘Schedule’.

  • Volunteer Spot: Volunteer Spot is a free scheduling service that teachers and coaches can use to coordinate volunteers efficiently. You can post calendars and sign-up sheets online instead of getting caught in chain mails, SMSes etc. Those signed up to your calendar will also be sent reminder messages to ensure your meeting goes as per plan. Another useful aspect is that when the quota of volunteers/appointments for a particular time or day is reached, Volunteer Spot won’t allow any more sign-ups.

Discuss Here: Which tech tools do you use to organize your schedule?

 

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