You Oughta Know- May edition

Posted: May 23, 2015 by Lindsey Nagorski

Hello everyone!  Welcome back for another blog hop sponsored by Jasmine over at Buzzing with Mrs. Mcclain.  I originally had other plans for this post, but I’ve scratched that idea because I am so excited to share with you something that I stumbled upon just a few weeks ago!

If you’re anything like me, gone are the days of after hours working in your classroom – unless absolutely necessary.  When I first entered the profession I would spend countless hours devoted to the perfect bulletin boards, organization, etc.  I had it all together each and every day.  Fast forward a decade later and I am usually out the door as soon as my contract time is up, rushing home to pick up little ones, cook dinner, you name it!  Most things I can do at home, but there are a lot of items that can only be done on my school desktop (smart board presentations are a big one).  That is until a few weeks ago!

I was attending a meeting after school one day with other teachers from around the district.  We were all sitting around chatting and catching up when I looked over at a friends iPad.  I noticed that she had file folder icons on it… like you would see on a desktop.  I asked her what she was doing, and she introduced me to SplashTop!  SplashTop is an app that allows you to remotely control your desktop.  It is free if you plan to use it within close proximity to your desktop (in your classroom for example).  If you want remote access outside of your building there is a subscription (I paid around $16 for the year).  Now I have access to my desktop wherever I am!  I have already used this app in many different ways, and I know that next year it will really help change my world.  

Just a few days after discovering SplashTop I had my first real opportunity to test it out from home.  I had taken the day off to attend a program at my daughters school and then head out of town for my graduation.  While I had everything ready for my absence ahead of time, I logged in before the start of school just to make sure I had everything up- like the correct morning message and I also logged into all the different websites we use during the day (GoNoodle anyone?!).  

Not gonna lie, my youngest and I also enjoyed creepin’ in on the class just a little bit!  I may or may not have caught my sub shopping online for table cloths when my students were in the room.  Note- there is an explanation of the app in my sub plans, should a sub ever need help finding the right item etc.  There is also a pop up that occurs on the screen whenever I turn the app on letting anyone near the desktop know that “Lindsey’s iPad” is accessing the desktop.  

This tool has already shown me how useful it can be… but can you imagine how amazing it will be for those unfortunate unplanned sub days?  We have all had the “request a sub a 3am because a kid (or you) is puking moments”.  And then once things settle down we try to haphazardly type sub plans, explaining where to find things and how to log into things.  Or when all that hard work goes down the drain because a well meaning sub can’t get something to work on the smart board, or can’t find something.  A simple “s.o.s” text could literally save the day… click the app, fix whats wrong, crisis averted.  

Aside from using the app in sub situations I have used it frequently to do just the day to day work.  I used to work on Smart Notebook files from my home desktop, save them and then download them onto my school desktop.  Since I no longer utilize my home PC I’ve really struggled.  Now I can work right from home and no longer need to take the extra step of saving on a flash drive or uploading to Google Docs.  And just this past weekend I realized one of its greatest potentials… I can print at school- from my bed!!!  Can I tell you how many times I’ve scrambled in the morning to print something out or have forgotten items to be copied in my printer at home?  I printed what I was going to need, and picked it up Monday morning!  Amazing.

SplashTop has also helped me in the classroom.  I can not stand being tethered to the smart board at the front of the room.  We do a lot of interactive things, and I really prefer to move around the room.  Now I can do so, and control whatever I need to control.  I completely freaked out my students the first time I used it- I was sitting at my kidney-shaped table doing some reading assessments and played one of our transition songs.  They were in awe and completely weirded out.  

Overall this app has been a great find, and I thought that you definitely oughta know about it!  You can check it out further and download it here!  

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blogs in the link up!