This afternoon I spent a couple of hours with the CTE leaders from Nanakuli, Campbell, Kapolei, and Waipahu high school. I was asked to share some iPad app recommendations, the same as I did last year. Last year I recommend more education related apps like Khan Academy and Mindmeister, however this year I wanted to do something different.
I thought about the challenges and burdens that our public school teachers endure each day. Sure, I thought about the financial constraints, however when I truly empathized about their daily routines I began to wonder how often any public school teacher is asked about their personal well-being. And then I realized, I should focus my recommendations based on my goal setting framework, the Peace of Mind Square.
As I understand it, our physical being deals with a lot of different health issues with stress being the most common. Often times when we’re stressed we feel stuck, so my first app recommendation was Unstuck. The user interface of this app is very clean and smooth. This is important, especially if you’re stressed from being stuck in a rut! The app provides questions to help you identify the nature of why you’re stuck. It provides emotions, actions, and mindsets to narrow down your situation and then auto-magically provides a diagnosis if you will. It doesn’t stop there, it then provides you recommendations and actions steps to get unstuck.
The emotional side of my Peace of Mind square is all about relationships. And, the most important value in every relationship is communication. There are thousands of choices to improve communication, however with respect to the student-teacher-parent-administrator relationship, I considered the sharing of curated information. Now, many teachers (and the rest of that for that matter) continuously repeat themselves through the course of the day. Wouldn’t a tool that allows them to share assignments, new articles, relevant videos, and all pertinent information in one place for anyone to access be helpful?
To have fun, I first recommended Pinterest, only to discover that the Department of Education blocked it. Then, I recommended Tumblr because the kids are all there, however that too is deemed a social networks and therefore blocked.
Finally, third recommendation was a charm and I should have known since it’s my blogging tool of choice, WordPress was not blocked. I reviewed the convenience that WordPress allows blog posts to be emailed using a unique address. I look forward to learning all of the blogs being used to communicate information between student-teacher-parent-administrator.
Now the Mental side of the POM deals with wealth and while our minds immediately go to finances, I wasn’t able to offer pay raises (or a contract) to the teachers. Instead, I offered them an app that increase the wealth of knowledge. Well, I offered them three!
The first two was leading news aggregation site, Alltop (Disclosure: In its fifth year, I continue to be a member of the Alltop team as the Chief Evangelist) and Flipboard. Both allow me to quickly organize and retrieve content published in my favorite topics and by my favorite news and blog resources.
My third recommendation and one that I’ve been using a lot more is Dunno. This app is not just a research app like Google, it allows for note taking. For example, those moments when you’re in a meeting and the most amazing idea comes to mind — Dunno it! Type in your notes and then the app will do the research leg work for you.
Being grounded in spirituality is a leadership trait. And, many leaders have the opportunity to give back to the community. The best app that I could recommend that would feed the teacher’s creativity, increase their knowledge, be visual, and change their world is TED. I encouraged them to click through and discovered TED talks with inspiring ideas worth sharing.
Supporting the CTE teachers is just part of my commitment to give more to our public school education system.
Photo credit: Ed Morita