Cool Tool of the Week: Your Phone (Part 1)

Having never been labeled an early adopter…or even an “on time” adopter, I have long been using my cell phone to, well, make phone calls.  Oh, sure, I have finally moved on to texting (never while driving!) and checking email.  And I am getting a little better about maintaining contact information. I have even learned how to snap a photo and, wonder of wonders, send it to another person’s phone.  However, I can honestly say that I have never played a certain game dealing with irritable fowl.  Just yesterday our IT superhero had to show me why I couldn’t get my ringer to come back on after I had silenced it.  I find myself handing the silly thing over to my son or my gal pal Kristy to make it behave when I’m frustrated with it.

However, a series of unfortunate events has given me both the time and the impetus to explore some of the cute but mysterious icons filling the tiny screen in my hand.  I was able to use the “Maps” app to navigate the NYC transit system and to guide me through the maze of streets once I left the subway.  I had made minimal use of the “Notes” tool in the past, but I have started using it to keep grocery lists, a Target list, a list of websites I want to peruse, a list of books I intend to read, and a recipe or two I want to try.  Cool.

My new favorite tool is “Reminders.”  This handy helper allows me to make a list of all the stuff I wanna, gotta, need to, absolutely must do.  Now for the good part:  There is a wee box beside each item on the list that I can check off when the deed is done!  Instant motivation.  As if that were not enough, I am rewarded with a running tally of the number of tasks completed.  Today it says “26 completed” for the whole world to see.  Go, Me!  The next time I open the list, the 4 items that I just checked (Gosh, how I love to do that) will have vanished in a satisfying “poof.”  Almost as good as a gold star.

As an anatomy teacher, I can use the list to help me remember things I need to take to class, things I need to restock in lab, things that need fixing in the lab, recommendations I have promised to write, items I have promised to post, and anything else I need to check on.  No more PostIts clinging…or not…to the front of my notebooks, my purse, and my desktop.  (Don’t worry, 3M, I still love those little guys.)

What are your favorite apps and tools for your phone?  How have you used them to make teaching a more pleasurable experience?
—Karen

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