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Yearlong Tech Check

Tech Check: A Yearlong Technology To-Do List

Jan 05, 2018 2018-01-05

Editor’s note: Nicole Zumpano, Technology Coach at Coonley Elementary School, has already created her To-Do list for the year. Here is her schedule for 2018. We think you might find this helpful, too.

Originally posted on December 6, 2017 on her blog.

I recently got a cactus. As I sat here looking at it, I thought to myself “how am I going to remember to water this thing?” Luckily, it doesn't need water often in the fall/winter months.

I decided that I would water it the first new day of each month—making it easy to remember that I had something to do after I flipped the calendar. That got me thinking, what else should I be doing monthly? I’m good about backing up my MacBook to an external hard drive since I get lovely little reminders (thank you, MacBook). This cactus watering dilemma caused me to put together a schedule of all the things I “get around to” but should do more consistently. Below is my calendar. Underneath is a bit of an explanation for each activity.

What else am I missing? Here's a link to a Google Doc with the content below:

Bi-Weekly or Monthly:
  • Update, sync, and backup iPhone. I backup to my MacBook prior to backing up my laptop.
  • Backup MacBook to external hard drive. I love that my Mac reminds me to complete this task. Currently I have a “My Passport for Mac” external hard drive.
  • Check social media settings (Twitter and Facebook privacy, lists, notifications, followers). This is a good time to also check the accounts I don’t use often (Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)
  • Update my CV/Professional Portfolio. Check dates and add any new activities/images. I do this as new experiences need to be added but having it here reminds me to take a longer, closer look. Here is a link to my portfolio:
  • Create list of passwords for family. This may sound morbid but social media and email platforms require extensive documentation to shut down accounts without passwords. Create a list of all passwords and keep it someplace it can be easily accessed if something happens to you. I keep it in our safe. Get a list of passwords for everyone in the family but be sure to have clear conversations AND FOLLOW THEM if there is a privacy concern.
  • Check email subscriptions. I’m still mastering this! We all sign up for email subscriptions to vendors, online stores, and organizations. When it reaches a point that I don’t even open a particular email and automatically delete it, it tells me it’s time to unsubscribe from their email list.
  • Review my digital tattoo for a quick check in on what is out there on the internet about me. This can be done multiple times a year. Be sure to logout of all browsers and to search using multiple browsers. Search your username and maiden name if applicable. If you have kids, now is a good time to do a search on them as well (especially usernames).
  • Backup/download work email and Drive documents. I create documents/slideshows/forms in both my work and private email accounts. I try to take time once a year to download all of these from my work email/Drive and save them on an external drive. If I leave my place of employment all of this disappears.
  • Run Who Has Access. This isn’t necessarily crucial to me as a technology coach but it is something I not only do but encourage my administration to do as well. Running this program scans your Google Drive and shows you who has access to all of your Drive contents. If you see folks that no longer need access they can be removed directly in the report. The service deletes its own access to your Drive along with your Drive data from its servers 24 hours after running your report.
  • Backup my blog. Although I post to my blog often, this reminds me to do a deep dive into the nuts and bolts beyond posts and design. This month I check my settings, design, and widgets. In the past I’ve also archived my blog posts by turning my blog into a pdf/book. Here's the resource I use to do this:
  • Clean/sort Google Drives. Before I head back to work, I take some time to sort through my Google Drives (personal and private). I create folders to house documents that I want to keep but don’t need visible and delete the items I no longer want.
  • Review podcasts. Throughout the year, I add podcasts to my list based on peer recommendations. I set aside a small block of time to look through my list and weed out any that I don't listen to.
  • Backup my wiki. I keep a wiki as a dumping ground for all the links I come across that I don’t necessarily need right now but might use or recommend to others at a later date. I've got more than 1,000 links and would be crushed to lose all of these. Luckily, under the settings tab, Wikispaces makes it easy for me to export and backup my pages.
  • Organize MacBook/files/to-do folder. Because this is a bigger task I leave it to a month where I have some downtime over winter break. I organize my images and files on my laptop and reorganize where I see necessary. I keep a “to-do sites” folder where I often place links to websites or articles that I come across that look interesting but I don't have immediate time for right now.
  • Clean up apps on iPhone. I have pages and pages of apps I don’t use! This reminds me to go in and clean up. It’s also a great time for me to check in on my background, refresh settings, and review my location and privacy settings.

Oh, and each month I try to water the darn cactus.

Nicole Zumpano is the Technology Coach at Coonley Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. She is a National Board Certified Teacher (Middle Childhood Generalist) and adjunct professor at Dominican, National Louis, and Michigan State. She is also a Google Certified Educator and Apple Teacher, holds two masters degrees, and is Immediate Past-President of Illinois Computing Educators. Nicole is a former member of Chicago Foundation for Education's Board of Directors.

Educational Technology Social Media Technology Administrative Solutions Digital Literacy 21st Century Themes Information Literacy

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