Do I want to be a productive weirdo, or actually pay attention to the people around me?
It’s not a fun dilemma, yet it’s probably one you face.
If you’re among the majority of school leaders who have iPads, you probably hoped the device would make a difference in your productivity throughout the day.
More often than not, though, you probably find yourself leaving your iPad in the office, under your arm, or even at home, because it’s just a little too awkward to use the iPad in the intensely interpersonal work of school leadership. It gets in the way during
- Passing conversations in the hallway
- Postconferences with teachers
- Check-ins with the secretary
- Meetings with concerned parents
In all of these settings, it may be that the iPad is better than a laptop or desktop computer. You can get work done (or at least write down tasks and notes) even if you aren’t at your desk, so you don’t have to rely on paper, trek back to the office, or—worst of all—try to remember later.
A leader’s work happens everywhere, and if the iPad supports that, terrific.
Yet it’s clunky to type with one hand or your thumbs while walking around, and it’s socially awkward to do so while talking to other people.
So too often, we fail to take advantage of our tools.
Here’s the key: Use your iPad after the conversation, when everything is still in your short-term memory.
Take a second to update your notes, record a to-do, schedule something on your calendar—whatever needs to be done—after the other person has walked away.
To speed this up, use one or both of these built-in features:
- Text-expansion shortcuts, under Settings » General » Keyboard » Shortcuts, so you can type just a few letters (like “fuw”) and have that expanded into a longer phrase (“follow up with”)
- Siri dictation, using the mic key next to the keyboard, if you’re on an iPad 3 or newer
There you have it—the work gets done, the social interaction isn’t harmed, and your iPad gets put to good use.
What tips do you have for using your iPad in ways that are effective, but less socially awkward?