Your Tablet as a Productivity Tool: Organizing Your Apps

Academics, Productivity

I will say it now: I hate messy desktop screens.

As my work became more integrated with technology tools, I found that I needed an efficient way to organize my apps on my tablet. I didn’t want to flip through endless screens to find what I use most, nor did I want to remember if I filed something on the “personal” screen or the “academic” screen. I needed a way to organize myself so that no matter what I was doing, I would quickly find the right app, helping me integrate my tablet into the natural course of my activities.

What finally worked best for me, after trying many different schemes, was organizing apps by what I do with them. This goes beyond the category types you’ll find them organized under in the Play Store or iTunes and instead describes the actual function. Taking a break and want to catch up on news feeds? Check out my “read” folder. Time to update the blog? Look in “write”. Skype date with a colleague who moved across the country? I’ll find that in “talk”.


As you can see, I have my folders on an upper row. Now, my apps that I’m going to use frequently that I don’t want to tap through to find, are situated on a second row and include the obvious – my web browser, calendar, notebook, and email. Everything else that I use on a weekly basis, and yes, that includes Organ Trail, the zobmie-awesome Oregon Trail spin-off, is located in a top row folder. The other four screens of my tablet don’t even include anything at this point and everything else on the device can be accessed in the full menu if needed.

If you’ve been struggling to integrate your devices into your work-flow, then think about trying this action-based organization system. How do you organize your apps? Have you found a system that helps you work and play?

A lot happening at AERA 2013

Academics, Presentations

As usual, a lot happened at the 2013 meeting of the American Educational Research Association. This conference is so big, I don’t think I’ll ever get close to exploring all of it. This year’s highlights for me included our first fireside chat mentoring session in the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas SIG, presenting preliminary analysis from my dissertation, and being voted in as program co-chair for the 2014 meeting.

This year, Program Chair Dr. Eve Tuck introduced the idea of creating a mentoring space in our SIG program. While we worked with her during the planning process, my colleague Crystal Jensen and I developed some ideas about using the time to have small group discussions on particular career-oriented topics. We had 8 junior-senior scholar pairs scheduled to participate and around 40 scholars attended the session. Crystal and I spent the session considering directions for 2014 with Dr. Tuck and Dr. Linda T. Smith who also attended. I think it was a huge success!

During the SIG business meeting, Crystal and I, who helped develop the 2013 program with Eve were nominated in and voted in (although it still has to go out for a full SIG vote) to chair the 2014 program. We will get a behind the scenes look at planning with the SIG leadership and I think we are both really looking forward to the opportunity. See you in 2014!

Finally, I did present preliminary results of my dissertation analysis with the Curriculum and Instruction SIG. There was good conversation and all the papers of the session fit together well to create some dialogue. I always enjoy the exchange that happens, and come home excited (and really tired!) of the possibilities of future directions.