Become a Productive School Leader

On the afternoon of Saturday, December 12th I will be presenting a three hour workshop for school leaders at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. This is offered in conjunction with the annual TIES conference which begins the following Monday. Here is the official workshop description:

An important part of being an effective school leader is managing the large amount of information we encounter daily. We will explore tips and tools for how to create a workflow that allows principals to effectively manage information using mobile devices. Experience real-world examples from an elementary school administrator that can be easily adapted to your situation. Walk away with many ideas for being a more productive and efficient school leader.

Space is extremely limited in order to allow for one-on-one instruction. If you are interested, I recommend registering ASAP.

Cultural Proficiency Resources

This morning I moderated #catholicedchat, a gathering of Catholic school educators that takes place on Twitter on Saturdays at 8AM (Central). We discussed cultural proficiency and inclusiveness. Here is a list of resources I recommend for those wishing to learn more:



Designing the New Google Logo ⇢

Though it seems to have attracted quite a bit of criticism, I’m actually a big fan of the new Google logo. This article goes behind the scenes and explains the thinking behind the new logo. I think the new design meets all four challenges that they set out to address:

1. A scalable mark that could convey the feeling of the full logotype in constrained spaces.
2. The incorporation of dynamic, intelligent motion that responded to users at all stages of an interaction.
3. A systematic approach to branding in our products to provide consistency in people’s daily encounters with Google.
4. A refinement of what makes us Googley, combining the best of the brand our users know and love with thoughtful consideration for how their needs are changing.

What’s New in iTunes U 3.0 ⇢

Fraser Speirs has an overview of what’s new in Apple’s education platform. I have yet to hear of a school in my area using this instead of Google Classroom. That’s not to say that they aren’t out there, but Google seems to be the preferred platform in my admittedly limited experience.

iTunes U 3.0 brings three key features to the platform:

  • Assignment submission, grading and feedback.
  • Per-assignment private communication between instructors and students
  • A unified course grade book for all assignments given in the course

Jim Dalrymple’s Apple Watch Review ⇢

I realize this won’t necessarily be the case for everyone but this is still impressive:

I have been reporting on Apple for more than 20 years now, and in all that time no product has had such an impact on my life as this little piece of hardware and software. I don’t say that for dramatic effect, it has had a profound effect on the way I live. As you will read later, this is the most personal review I have ever written.

Drag Omnifocus Tasks Into Fantastical ⇢

Though I don’t typically schedule my tasks in this way, it is really neat that tasks can be dragged from OmniFocus and dropped into Fanstastical in this way:

When you drag and drop a tasks from OmniFocus into Fantastical 2 you not only get a link back to that task in OmniFocus, Fantastical also honours the Estimated Time for a task if set in OmniFocus and adjusts the length of the event accordingly.

I recently upgraded to Fantastical 2 and it is… fantastic! It’s allowed me to finally ditch Apple’s stock calendar app.

The Thief of Intimacy, Busyness ⇢

An excellent essay about how busyness robs us of day-to-day moments with those that we love:

Intimacy is what we all crave. We all want to be loved. We want to give love and receive love. We all crave for others to be with us. And that love is often the slow, patient kind. It doesn’t show up on any list of tasks that have been crossed off. There are no daily memos that recognize it, no annual reports of it. It shows up in the smile of my daughter when she sees me, in the way she puts her head on my shoulder, in how long she lingers before saying goodbye.

Weather Line 1.5 ⇢

Weather Line is my weather app of choice due to the way it displays daily and weekly forecasts graphically. It also includes precipitation predictions that are incredibly accurate.

In celebration of the update, the app is on sale for $1.99.

Custom Keyboard to Schedule Meetings ⇢

I currently don’t use any custom keyboards on iOS since I haven’t felt the need to insert animated GIFs or emoji in my texts or emails. But now there’s a new custom keyboard that truly feels innovative.

The team who make the Sunrise calendar app have created a custom keyboard that helps you view your schedule and quickly send potential meeting times without switching to the calendar app. MacStories has the details:

Here’s how it works: whenever you’re talking to someone and decide to arrange a meeting, you can switch to the Meet keyboard to take a look at your schedule. Meet is a custom keyboard that requires full access in the iOS settings and that works on the iPhone and iPad. By default, the keyboard shows Sunrise’s week view with a horizontal visualization of your schedule that you can scroll by day and hour. Once you’ve found available time slots, you can tap to create a potential event, indicated with a blue block. Tap as many slots as you want, hit Confirm, and you’ll get a link; usually, this link is automatically inserted in the text field of the app you’re using, whether it’s Messages, Mail, Slack – you name it.

While it helps if the recipient of the message has the Sunrise app, this is not a requirement.

I think I’m going to have to give this one a try to see if it fits into my workflow.

OmniFocus for iOS Goes Universal ⇢

In a release a few days ago, the OmniGroup has kindly consolidated many of the features of the different versions of OmniFocus:

That means that as of today’s release, you can do the following things on an iPhone:

  • Use OmniFocus in Landscape mode with a Sidebar (iPhone 6 Plus)
  • Use the Review perspective
  • Create Perspectives (Pro)
  • View perspectives with Project hierarchy (Pro)

This release isn’t just about bringing iPad features to iPhone—we’ve also added a couple of items to both iPad and iPhone that were pretty popular with our TestFlight testers (thanks folks!):

  • Show a custom perspective in the Today extension (Pro)
  • Completely customize your home screen and place perspective tiles in any order using drag and drop (Pro).

This is a welcome change, as some of these features were previously restricted to certain versions of the app. The new features also work as advertised and are very helpful for getting things done on the go.