For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, meetings, classes, collaborations with their grade-level team, parent meetings, and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.
But, that must happen or they deteriorate and no longer accomplish what we need them to do. Cussing them out does no good. Buying new systems takes a long time and doesn’t fix the problem that the old one wasn’t kept up. If they aren’t taken care of, we are left wondering why our teacher blog or website isn’t accomplishing what it does for everyone else, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate activity, and why our TPT materials languish. There’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do these:
- Update your online profile–your blog profile page, your gravatar, FB, Twitter, professional groups, your PLN. Have you changed your focus? Switched jobs? Adding new publications or items efriends would like to know about? This, btw, should be done once a quarter, but at least at the new year.
- Clean up your FB and G+ stream–delete pictures and comments you no longer find as funny as when you first posted them or make them private. FB has become a common resource for future employers (be they schools considering you for writing gigs or parents and students interested in reading about your pedagogy) to use when researching your background. Make sure the YOU that shows up on FB is really YOU.
- Check old posts, articles, updates for grammar and spelling. Start with the most-visited articles (under Site Stats) and work your way down (in case you run out of time). You’ll be surprised what you can catch with a fresh eye.
- Check individual post tags and categories to see if you can whittle down the options while still authentically grouping your writing. Sometimes, you’ll find a category you added at a point in the year which can include many articles written prior to its addition.
- Check the sidebar for out-of-date and no-longer-relevant widgets and links. Add new pieces that add to the blog’s utility. Move pieces around to give a fresh look. Current thinking is ‘less is more’. Considering putting awards, PLN groups, memberships on separate pages noted in the menu bar.
- Check your list of ‘pages’. Are they all still relevant? Could some be nested under other pages to save room and/or make them easier to find? While you’re at it, be sure these less-visited pages are up to date.
- Check the appearance of your blog on a smart phone and iPad to see if those venues display properly. If they don’t, consider switching to a responsive theme that auto-adjusts for a variety of digital devices.
- Check blog in different browsers to see if you should recommend one over the other for best-viewing. For me, FireFox views best.
- Update your Teachers Pay Teachers store–prices, descriptions, categories, freebies. I need to do this more often.
Follow along with me over the holidays. There are nine items. Let’s do one every other day. I’ll check in with you via @worddreams (Twitter). We can keep each other motivated. Let’s start December 26th (I have too much to do for the holiday to start earlier and I bet you’re the same). I’ll Tweet. You answer.
This is the time of year when lots of experts weigh in on upkeep of your online presence. Here’s Huffington Post’s Simone Collins thoughts, Jenny Yerrick Martin at Careerealism, and one of my favorite go-to sources on tech in your life, LifeHacker.
Do you have any maintenance issues to suggest for the new year? I’d love to hear them.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of dozens of tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and dozens of books on how to integrate technology into education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, a tech ed columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.