Week 2 (Part One): Productivity Suites & Tools


James Hamblin’s video titled “Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking” was very relatable. I constantly have multiple tabs open at one time, ranging from course-related resources to personal interests. My use of the internet alternates between being a productivity tool and a mere distraction. When I set my phone aside and have a clean work space, I am better able to focus on my course assignments or my lesson planning, marking, report cards, etc. On the other hand, I am guilty of poor sleep hygiene habits; I sometimes go down a rabbit hole of watching videos, surfing the net, and browsing online shopping sites at bed time. I think the individual and context will dictate how productive or distracting the internet is; it has the possibility to be both.

My initial thought was that I wouldn’t necessarily consider us as being more productive now than we were pre-Internet and pre-Microsoft Office. The media has simply changed. For example, students now type their assignments on a word processor rather than handwrite their good copies on paper. Practically speaking, the speed of the internet should free up time to complete more tasks, but like James Hamblin noted, we are not fully present in the moment when we have multiple tabs or tasks on the go. This relates back to the distractions made possible through electronics and the Internet.

Anyways, I then thought of a change at my school that illustrates how the Internet can increase productivity in a workplace. At my current school, there was an increase in productivity and organization (and a decrease in paper materials) after the new vice principal created a dashboard on Google sites for the staff to use. Resources and important links to shared Google documents are stored on this dashboard (e.g., supervision schedules, Learning Improvement Team plans, year plans, data for reading, writing, math). There is also a feature to enter monthly Recognition of Service hours and Noon Supervision hours, making the requests for an Earned Day Off (or pay-out at the end of the year) easier to stay on top off. This dashboard has saved me a lot of time when it comes to entering data and locating needed documents. The vice principal who created this Google site and continues to update it went to a professional development event about using Google tools effectively in the classroom. He also used Google as a university student himself. Thus, Singleton’s (2021) discussion of preferring tools that you are familiar with matches my vice principal’s implementation of Google at our school. Although, I do think a lot of resistant staff members could have benefited from “robust professional development [to help] make the pedagogical shift easier on everyone” as Sheninger suggests (as cited in Bengfort, 2017).

While my school extensively uses Google to create and share documents, our division uses Office 365 for e-mail. I have not experienced the “either or” mentality in my workplace like some of my classmates spoke about on July 12. As a university student, I have used both Google (Docs and PowerPoint) as well as Microsoft (PowerPoint) to collaborate on group projects. I appreciated that Raquel, Deidra, Allison, and Kelly emphasized in their presentation that a lot of these tools were targeted for businesses to make a profit and weren’t necessarily created with education in mind. It is important to know this history in order to make a more purposeful and explicit connection to pedagogy when using productivity suites and tools in our classroom.


Bengfort, J. (2017, October 17). Schools leverage apps and easy-to-manage suites of learning tools. EdTech.

Singleton, C. (2021, June 23). Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace- Which is best for your business? Style Factory.

3 thoughts on “Week 2 (Part One): Productivity Suites & Tools

  1. Mike

    It seems like your VP is using tech to work smarter and not harder. Great to see tech used in a way that simplifies things for staff instead of complicating it.

    I would be curious to know what kind of licensing fees are paid to Google/Microsoft in order for them to provide support to educational institutions. They’re surely not providing this service out of the goodness of their hearts. All of our data is worth something/

  2. Kelly

    I too really like how your admin has stepped up, and really allowed you to use technology to make your everyday teaching, planning, etc. less strenuous and difficult. Like Mike said, working smarter and not harder is something that definitely needs to be taught and learned after multiple attempts at doing it the other way.

    It’s true. Most of these productivity tools were not intended to be used by educational institutions, and have had to adapt, make changes and create new things on the fly. However, have made a ton of money in doing so. Although with all of this being said, I think it is still important for people to get the proper education when implementing new technology and that they should have plenty of time to try it out and to have support along the way.

  3. missjosiephillips

    Mike, I am glad you brought up licensing fees. There is only so much money that the administration/school can spend. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall for some of the budgetary conversations and decision-making. We had switched from a Mathletics license to a Zorbit’s Math Adventure one because of its cheaper price per student a couple years ago. However, we went back to the Mathletics app the following year because students and teachers were more familiar with it and used it more frequently.

    Kelly, I would love to see more professional development opportunities on educational technology. Imagine if there had been more proactive teaching and learning of the topic before COVID-19. The pandemic forced a lot of teachers to learn and use a lot of new technology all at once, which was overwhelming and stressful.

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