Moving to #100percentdigital is not for the faint of heart.  It’s not easy or seamless, despite having a great support team (thank you Danny, Rebecca and Jill!).  Ideally I would translate my existing practices into a digital process and my life would be easier and simpler (with sunshine, kittens and rainbows).  But when that can’t happen, you have to decide what you’re willing to change or give up, and whether the digital benefits make the trade-off worth while.

I attend many meetings, and I like to take notes directly on the agenda.  I indicate follow-up items and close the loop when they are complete. That sounds like a pretty straightforward (to me) process that should translate well to digital.  Alas, no, at least under the constraints here.  My files are stored in Box which allows me to access them anywhere (the cloud!) with a handy back-up on my hard drive.  Any software or process I use needs to work with Box. Goodbye One Note.  I have been creating and/or saving agendas in Word/Box.  On my iPad I’ve used CloudOn to open the file from Box.  It’s slow, but does allow editing of Word files.  But CloudOn crashes or freezes frequently, so time to try something else.  Office 365 only works with OneDrive, so that’s out.

My goal is to tag action items and have them drop into a To Do list for me, as well as tag for meetings with others (and sometimes action items for another person).  EverNote seems like the solution for that, but it doesn’t allow the agenda to be annotated directly.  Looks like I’ll need to give up on that, and instead take notes on a different document but save within a notebook in EverNote that also contains the agenda.  Not ideal, but perhaps a reasonable trade-off.

I’m surprised that it’s not easier to move to #100percentdigital.  I figured that someone else had this all worked out already.  It reminds me of being a Girl Scout troop leader (yeah, I did that for 2 years).  I assumed that weekly activities could just be pulled off the shelf, but each troop meeting required enormous preparation.  (And that was for an organization founded in 1912, which I thought would have set up a system to make it easy for troop leaders).  I have a long way to go in achieving that #100percentdigital goal.

There’s good news too! I’m mostly paperless by now, but I confess to bringing paper back-ups for mission critical meetings when a technology failure (hello CloudOn) would be enormously problematic.  But Rebecca hasn’t been able to buy anyone coffee (yet).  I head out on vacation tomorrow, and I’m just bringing my iPad.  I’m looking forward to the portability of the iPad when traveling, and feeling comfortable that I can handle any technology problems that arise, although I know that Danny has my back, and I can use my Apple Care for support while abroad.

Next up: Notes from Abroad and Adventures with EverNote

I had thought my next post would be on the need for a supportive team.  But my intention in blogging my way through the transition to #100percentdigital was to describe the journey as it happened, with frustrations and successes along the way.  I’ve had my iPad for two weeks, and I’m ready to move beyond using it for email and the internet. This means really getting into my workflow and figuring out how the iPad can improve my functionality.  If all it can do is just provide a new medium for notetaking during meetings, but I later still need to transfer action items etc, I’ve just substituted technology as a new tool, and all that will give me is a handy electronic notepad.  Going beyond that requires deep thinking about how I work now, and how that might be improved.

I’m lucky to have Danny, a great thought partner who is also super tech-savvy. Danny was one of the triumvirate who convinced me to go digital, and I warned him he might come to regret this.  We’ve uploaded all my files to Box, and I’m really happy to have my documents stored in the cloud (for access anywhere) which also provides a back-up for the inevitable hardware failure (always a question of “when” not “if” so back up now!).  Microsoft now has iPad versions of Office and Excel, but not wanting to pay the annual $99 fee, Danny found CloudOn as a convenient Microsoft editing app (and free!).  So far we’ve found it works pretty well, but sometimes it’s slow to bring up files and other minor glitches.  I had hoped to use OneNote (see my assistant Jill’s guest blog on the AWESOMENESS of OneNote) but so far that’s not working out.  Email attachments on the iPad can be uploaded to EverNote or Box or CloudOn, but not OneNote. And OneNote doesn’t work with Box.  The iPad version of OneNote also seems to have limited functionality compared to the iPad version of EverNote.  Looks like EverNote might be the best option.

I want to be able to take notes at a meeting, tag any action items for follow-up, and have the tagged items drop into a To Do list, or drop into folders for follow-up at meetings with others.  I’d like to be able to annotate meeting agendas with notes and action items.  Do I need EverNote for that, or use CloudOn, and then save back to Box?

I’m beginning to feel that I’m stuck in the tar pits.  But Danny keeps me focused on what tasks do I want to be able to do, and I stay focused on whether it’s a better process or just a substitution.

As I begin the transition to a #100percentdigital workflow and practice, I’ve begun to evaluate different apps, and how they can support my work, or ideally, improve my process.  There will be many posts to come as I try various apps.

My assistant Jill has been trying to get me on OneNote for months.  Others had recommended EverNote, but Jill said that’s just because they “don’t know the AWESOMENESS of OneNote.”   I asked Jill to write a guest blog on OneNote.

Here’s Jill:

The awesomeness of OneNote is that it is an extremely versatile tool.  It takes notes, is accessible from almost any device including your phone, iPad and web browser.  Best of all…it’s FREE!  Think of OneNote as a digital binder.  It’s made up of notebooks with page dividers/tabs and pages within those separate tabs.  I keep a OneNote ‘binder’ for every project that I work on.  It’s great for not only keeping historical data but can be used as a type of Wiki/Google Docs tool.  And really, what’s not to love about that?

Let’s take a look at just a few of the features of OneNote:

  • Note taking – This is not just a simple note-taking tool.  You can take notes on the fly at a meeting and then organize them later when you’ve got a moment to digest and work on them.  You can make notes, agendas, ideas, lesson plans, etc. and email them to others.  You can make instant tables, bulleted notes, tag your notes, and move your notes around from page to page quickly and easily.  For those who want simplicity, there are academic and business templates as well as decorative templates if you just feel like making things pretty.
  • Audio note taking –OneNote has a feature that gives you the ability to record audio and video which you can play back and then take notes later allowing you to be able to pay attention during your meeting/lecture.  Pure awesomeness.
  • Sharing – You can share your notebooks with as many people as you’d like.  Changes are live and interactive and everyone can make edits/changes once the notebook is shared.  You don’t have to share the entire notebook, either.  You can simply email a page and they can add it to whatever OneNote notebook they’re currently using (or not).
  • Stylus – If you have writing capabilities on your device, OneNote can handle that.  It also has the ability to convert the ‘ink to text’ so it’s legible for, you know, everyone.
  • Office Lens – This feature scans whiteboards and documents while cropping and rotating pictures to enhance image quality.
  • Screen shots – You can take a screen clipping of anything on your device, whether it be a webpage or just a shot of whatever’s open on your monitor.
  • Documents – Yes, documents can be saved and inserted into OneNote.
  • Emails – You can send your emails to OneNote for future (and quicker/easier!) reference.
  • Math – If you’re like me and can’t quite comprehend doing math in your head, OneNote can do adding and subtracting (yes, without a calculator) as well as calculus equations.

These are just a few of the things that OneNote can do.  Obviously there are so many more features/options within OneNote that aren’t listed here.  Give it a spin, play around with it and be a part of the awesomeness of OneNote!

Thanks, Jill!  I’ll be working with OneNote to see whether it’s the solution to my workflow needs.

I’ve now been on the #100percentdigital transition for one week (my iPad arrived exactly one week ago).  Right away I learned the importance of a community in achieving the #100percentdigital goal.  Next post: It Takes a Village!


Baby steps

May 22, 2014 | Uncategorized  |  5 Comments

I was pretty skeptical that I could take my existing work habits and convert everything to a digital process.  Folks who’ve heard about my commitment are surprised and supportive, but no one has (yet) agreed to join me.  It seems everyone is dubious that it’s possible, or even should it be possible, that it’s advantageous.  At St. Edward’s University we want to prepare our students to operate in a globally and digitally connected world, and I think that means modeling these practices for students.

We’ve embarked on some iPad pilot projects with faculty, providing 20 faculty with iPads and encouraging these faculty to consider how technology and devices can foster active learning and support collaboration.  I also received an iPad, and my goal is to determine whether it can be my mobile device for use at meetings, while traveling, and to support collaboration.  In the week that I’ve been using the iPad, I’ve found that I can substitute some tasks: email use, bringing documents to meetings, and kludgy note-taking using Notes.  I’m ready to see what else it can do.  Several people have recommended EverNote, but my assistant Jill is pushing me to use OneNote.  Ultimately, I want to determine technology and the iPad can help me to rethink my work process.  Jill says OneNote will help me get there.

Tomorrow will be a guest blog from Jill on the “AWESOMENESS of OneNote.”

I’ve committed to moving to a 100% digital workflow and practice. That decision required a lot of persuasion by colleagues, who convinced me that I could do everything I do now, but better, in a completely digital process.  I’m a longterm PC user, and rely on paper to take notes during meetings, review reports, organize my thoughts etc.  I’ve told the folks who triple-teamed me, my cracker jack assistant Jill, brilliant and patient IT wizard Danny and DH star/innovative pedagogical guru Rebecca, that they will surely regret encouraging me down this path as I made them promise to teach me the necessary technology.

I wanted to keep a blog about the journey and transition, what works and doesn’t work, frustrations and joy, to serve as inspiration/warning for others, along with hopefully helpful notes.  Let me know if you’ve already made the transition and what worked for you, if you’re already in the same process, or want to start with me.

To make things a little more interesting, Rebecca  is engaging in a public shaming experiment.  She asks that people take a picture of me with paper I’ve brought to a meeting, tweet the photos to her @frostdavis, and she will buy you coffee.

Tomorrow – a report on my first baby steps towards the 100% digital goal.

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