Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three Sweet Shortcuts

Need a Quick Rubric? Talented ed tech consultant Andy Mann showed me Rubistar, which is quite useful for whipping up a quick evaluation rubric for student work. It is preloaded with dozens of templates and categories. It is also fully customizable. In an hour I created three very different and detailed rubrics for my wiki project. While using Rubistar is not exactly intuitive, I have found my way around without the tutorials. (Here is an example: Peer wiki eval). Get your rubric right the first time if you can. Later edits are somewhat convoluted and very slow.

Labels for Gmail Like so many other things in life, I am slow to move toward a trend, but when I jump in I go head over heels. Such has been the case with Gmail. Despite the fact that my daughter and wife have been swearing by it for months, I only recently made it my main account. But when I commited to it, I decided to go through the entire Atomic Learning tutorial so that I would become aware of all of its nuances. I then discovered that many users don't realize how easy it is to "tag" one's mail with a label. I find that these labels are particularly useful for short term purposes. For example, when I was developing my staff development proposal I contacted several academics about their research. Five of them replied at various times and we began different levels of correspondence. By tagging each response with a label, I could bring up all the mail with a click whenever I worked on my proposal. This was much more efficient than the typical folder system.

Cross Platform To Do List. This tip is the most idiosyncratic, but it has been a major change in how I go about my daily business. For years, I faithfully carried a Franklin Planner through the work day. I'm a compulsive list maker and my planner kept me quite happy making daily list after daily list. But now Google Docs serves that purpose. I have created a Google Doc titled "To Do". This document is published to a url and I have tagged it with my most commonly used Delicious bookmarks. The bookmark then appears on my Firefox toolbar at home and at work, on my Macs and my HP. It updates through the day. It makes me oddly happy.

"Shortcut" Flickr Creative Commons photo by Wagman 30

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