Chris Baily was interviewed on the Zapier Blog about how he defines productivity:

The biggest misconception is that productivity is about getting more done. The reason we have that misconception is because there usually aren’t enough hours in the day to do all we want to get done.

Baily goes on to discuss how technology, mindfulness, and habits impact our productivity.

Defining Productivity

How many times have you felt guilty because you slept in, got lost in a new book/TV Show/podcast, or simply had a lazy Sunday? It is important to look at how we intended to spend our time to determine if we were productive. Sometimes that day of relaxation enables us to be more productive in a few days because we are well rested and not burned out. Baily provides a great example of productivity:

If our intention is to empty our email inbox, write a report, and update our budget in Excel, and we do, I would argue that we’re perfectly productive. The same is true if we intend to rest and unwind on a beach with a piña colada, soak in the sun, or drink coffee all day. If that’s our intention and we do that, we’re perfectly productive.

Technology is a Tool, Not Productivity

When evaluating an instructional technology tool for the classroom I ask myself: does this technology allow students to do something they weren’t able to do before without the technology? If not, there might now be an intentional purpose for the use of the tool. Baily discusses this as well when he talks about how technology can be distracting or over complicate a process:

There are some people who use technology to become more productive, and there are some people who are more distracted by it. I think the difference is whether we use technology with deliberateness and intention, and whether we take control of it.


K12 Six has a K-12 cyber incident map that details different levels of security breaches at schools going back to 2016. As of February 11, 2021 there have been 1180 cyber incidents. The incidents on the map include unauthorized disclosures, breaches or hacks, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, and denial-of-service attacks. The K12 Six website also includes a video playlist of news reports about the cyber attacks. This is a great way to raise awareness at schools about the severity, frequency, and impact of cyber attacks on schools. It also helps to facilitate conversations with educators about how they can protect themselves as well as their students from cyber incidents.

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Podcasts are an engaging way to expose students to topics, non-fiction, and current events. State standards often focus on improving student listening skills and podcasts are an effective way to meet these standards. If you are looking for podcasts to use in your classroom you should check out the education focused podcast website Listenwise, NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast, and Radiolab for Kids. Once students become familiar with different types of podcasts they can begin to create their own. Here are some podcasting project ideas you can use in the classroom.

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Jennifer Gonzalez recently spoke with Kareem Farah on her Cult of Pedagogy podcasts about creating a self-paced classroom. I found it difficult during my first year teaching to differentiate instruction and address the wide range of learning needs of my students. When I implemented a self-paced classroom it allowed me to provide additional support to struggling students while also appropriately challenging students who were ready for more advanced content. Jennifer’s conversation with Kareen discusses several questions and strategies teachers may have about creating a self-paced classroom.

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UPDATE: Added new templates from We Are Teachers.

Jamboard is a great digital whiteboard tool that is part of Google’s suite of products in Google Drive. Just like other Google Drive documents like Docs and Slides you can create templates for your students with Jamboard. Over the past few years Google has been adding additional features including adding pictures, shapes, backgrounds, and text that have made Jamboard a fantastic digital whiteboard tool. Here are some resources and templates to help you get started with Jamboard.

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Update: Added Coverr which is a resource for free stock video footage.

When creating digital projects students often need to find images, photos, videos, music, and sound effects to include in their projects. It is important to teach students how to find free multimedia that are allowed to use in their projects. The resources listed after the break are great to include in slide decks, photo slide shows, podcasts and videos. While not all of these resources require you to cite the source it is a good practice to provide credit to the author.

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Google Classroom is a great learning management system that helps to facilitate the distribution of learning materials and allows teachers to provide feedback on student work. There are many features and best practices that students can utilize to make the most of Google Classroom. Here are some tips on how to make the most of Google Classroom

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WIth the shift to hybrid / remote / blended learning many schools have purchased Chromebook for their students. The trackpad on Chromebook includes powerful features for multitasking. Robby Payne at ChromeUnboxed made a fantastic video that reviews all of the different gestures available on Chromebooks.

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I like to call Padlet the swiss army knife of instructional technology tools. There are so many creative ways it can be used in the classroom. If you aren’t familiar, Padlet is a collaborative board that allows teachers and students to add various types of multimedia content including text, images, videos, links, drawings, audio, and video recordings. Padlet boards can be organized into several types including a wall to organize content in a brick-like layout, a free form canvas, stream, a shelf to organize content into columns, backchannel, map, and timeline. Let’s take a look at some creative ways to use Padlet boards in the classroom.

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