While listening to the Podfather, Leo Laporte, over break, I was reminded that the new year is a time of renewal, of hope and of putting our best foot forward and starting this New Calendar Year off right. For teachers, it also gives us a chance to change and correct our course the middle of a school year. I give you my tech resolutions for 2017, and hope that I can inspire you to do at least one, maybe two and hopefully all of these common-sense style Tech Resolutions and get 2017 started right!
Back-Up- both school and personal
If your laptop or phone was (tech-gods forgive) stolen today, how much irreplaceable data and memories, lesson plans and records, would you lose? Do you have any backup solutions? According to the Podfather, it is best to have 3 sources for your most important things: the original, an on-site backup (portable hard drive or flash drive depending on need) and on offsite backup. For my offsite backup I use an internet service to keep my files in the cloud. My work also offers OneDrive for employees to keep files safe and secure. Look into buying some piece of mind if you do not already have one. And don’t forget about your phone! Would you want to lose those photos? For your phone there are nice online backup solutions through Apple, Google and Android, and it doesn’t matter what type you do, the important thing is to do it! They can be free (like Google photos) or a subscription (like Apple’s iCloud) now would be a good time to start your backup plans.
The new year brings about a perfect time to change your passwords. The average American only has 2 passwords, and they use one of the two for all their accounts. Change it up, and if it is too much for you to remember, use a password generator, like LastPass, Symantec’s Secure Password Generator, Dashlane, Stickypassword, or password boss. I read a great article about passwords for our podcast recently. Check it out for more info http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp
Digitize your files!
Will 2017 be marked as the year you moved it to the cloud? There are many choices for cloud storage, and maybe your district has one they provide, like Google Classroom or Microsoft Office365. The best thing about these online Solutions are the big names are 100% safe and secure: no one else has access to your files. Also, you can access all your files from anywhere you can access the internet. 2017 is the perfect time to stop saving to a hard drive and start living in the cloud!
A fantasy for some, a reality to others. Why is inbox zero important? Why is it even a thing? I keep my inbox at zero to know when I get new email can quickly address anything and it isn’t lost in a ton of SPAM. If you do get a lot of SPAM, label it and get on with your inbox being cleaner. Check out these articles about the two sides of the Inbox Zero Story: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/05/why-some-people-cant-stand-having-unread-emails/394031/ and http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/ultimate-way-inbox-zero.html
(Warning, this will cause you to gross out a bit! Do not read while eating!)
The mark of a new year is a perfect time to make sure all your devices are up to date, as that can help with performance issues and out of date apps can have vulnerabilities that let the bad guys in. You will thank me when you are all updated. This includes backup and physical cleaning of your phone. Think about it, your phone goes everywhere you do, and for some of us, that is EVERYWHERE! Think about that, your phone is filthy. It sits on counters and tables, in pockets and on things that you would never let touch or face or mouth, yet your hands touch your phone constantly. Then you touch your face or your food. Check out this article for more info, They have an aim at selling you something, but the info is spot on. But get a Clorox wipe and get to cleaning your phone first. You have been warned! https://www.phonesoap.com/how-dirty-are-cell-phones
That’s a wrap. Have a great and tech-happy New Year! (Seriously, clean your phone, and your keyboard now!)