November 27, 2012 by Brad Currie
During my time as Middle School Vice Principal in the Readington Township School District from 2009-2012 I was exposed to best practice communication techniques related to Microsoft Outlook, specifically its email and calendar features. Obviously face to face or voice to voice communication can never be replaced, but being able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues using 21st century technology is imperative. In particular, being able to schedule observations through Microsoft Outlook was very effective and put everyone on the same page. It allowed administration and staff to see what days were available and time slots that would work. You could invite people to pre and post observation conferences as well as the observation itself. Once the other party accepted the invite it showed up on their Microsoft Outlook Calendar and sent reminders to their computer or mobile device. The same sort of process was used to schedule I&RS meetings, parent/teacher conferences and subject area meetings to name a few.
Fast forward to the present, I am now the Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. The district is totally Google based and moving forward with best practice technology and communication initiatives. I have been using Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive to schedule observation times and share out pre and post observation questionnaires with much success. Though my time here has been brief, I had a teacher comment to me that they truly appreciated scheduling appointments this way because their smartphone would beep to remind them that something was coming up. I am curious how other districts are using the various Google apps to streamline communication efforts and go paperless. Also, I wonder if there are even more efficient and effective web tools to communicate and collaborate in the school setting. I have played around with Doodle and currently researching the many uses of ZippSlip. Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated as I am sure all school stakeholders appreciate the value of innovative communication and efficiency.
Video Credit: https://www.youtube.com/user/dottotech