How many first-year teachers have the benefit of being in one room all day? If you are a middle or high school teacher, the odds are you will be using more than one computer every day because you will be moving from room to room.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you have your technical tools with you wherever you are.
1 – Setup a Protopage
Protopage is a very customizable web page. Access requires only a browser. Every computer I use has the browser configured to go to my Protopage as the start page. Protopage has all the links I use over and over along with my RSS feeds, notes to myself, local weather and just about anything else that deals with using a computer on the Internet. I can use my home desktop and create a new note on my Protopage. When I go to my laptop that note is there too. It is also automatically on my university desktop and my tablet computer because those computers start at my Protopage.
If I run across something interesting and I want to review it later, I copy and paste the link into my “To Be Reviewed” list on my Protopage. As I have time to look at these sites, I remove them from this list. The good ones move to my second tool.
There are other “start page” tools out there: Pageflakes, Netvibes, iGoogle, etc. I have tried them all and Protopage is the most customizable.
2 – del.icio.us
When I run across a site that I know I will reference in the future, I add that site to my del.icio.us links. My links have good descriptions and tags so I can usually find something quickly. Since del.icio.us needs only a browser, I can get to my links from any computer. Note that links to the sites I use multiple times daily (webmail, Blackboard, calendar, etc) are on my Protopage. This is because Protopage permits me to permanently place those links in the top left corner of the page. Links in del.icio.us are sorted in reverse chronological order (last one entered is at the top). That makes those links I use every day a little harder to get to in del.icio.us.
3 – USB Flash Drive
I carry one of these all the time. Actually I have a couple with me most days. If I have files I need throughout the day (Word documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint files) the USB drive is an easy way to get them from one computer to another computer. This is especially true when getting files from home to work.
I also have Hamachi running on my home and office computers. This creates a VPN between my home computer and my office computer. I can actually get to my home computer’s hard drive while I am at the office. That can be handy, but it is probably more than most people will bother with.
4 – My Blog
I noticed this when I was getting ready for the eTech conference. I have written about so many different topics in my blog, I end up going back and looking at those things when I need a refresher. I talked with John about this a couple of years ago. When I put it in my blog, it is a permanent record that I can easily refer to in the future. This source doesn’t necessarily have to be a blog, but you need somewhere to write your extended thoughts so you can find them later.