Julie Randles
G Suite + digital tools = sweet productivity

Busy educators are always on the lookout for ways to be more productive and save time. From streamlining repetitive tasks to plowing through an overflowing email inbox or planning for an event, there are a range of tools to help educators do more with the precious time they have each day.  

Albert Thomas, digital learning consultant for the Region 10 Education Service Center in Richardson, Texas, has another productivity hack up his sleeve. He combines G Suite apps with other tools to further amplify productivity.  

Here are some of his favorite combinations:

Google Chrome and OneTab: OneTab is a tool for information sharing and research. For sharing, OneTab lets you take a group of URLs and package them for delivery to others using a single QR code or link. On the research front, OneTab can be used to convert all of the tabs you have open into a single list.

Another cool benefit – if you’re working on a project and an interruption causes you to close your browser, you may later realize that you didn’t bookmark or save everything in your tab history. OneTab provides an extension icon that opens every tab instantly and combines it into one tab that can be bookmarked. When you’re ready to resume your research, simply click “restore” to pick up where you left off.

Google Chrome and PocketFor always-on learning, Thomas combines Chrome and Pocket. If you’re learning from your PLN using tools like Twitter, Instagram and blogs in snippets of time during the day, Pocket lets you save anything you’re interested in for later review. When you come back, you can read or listen to the information inside the mobile app and tag it to group with similar content.

G Suite and ZapierEducators tend to have never-ending to-do lists that can turn into enormous time sucks when spread across tools or platforms. When you connect Zapier to G Suite tools like Gmail, Docs and Drive (or Slack, MailChimp and hundreds of others), you can automate repetitive tasks, allowing you to buy back time for the important stuff.

It works by creating “zaps” that are blueprints for tasks you want to do over and over. For example, “When I get a new item in A, do this in B.” The first part is the trigger and the second part is the action.

Gmail and SortdSortd is an extension that adds a “skin” on top of Gmail, allowing users to create actionable emails. By adding columns to your inbox with labels like “to do,” “doing” and “done,” you can quickly sort incoming emails for appropriate action. Essentially, Sortd provides a clean interface that helps users see at a glance what needs to be done now and what can wait.

ISTE members looking for more tips for combining G Suite with other productivity tools can watch the recording of the members-only ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar Google-Infused Leadership.

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