A trainer’s digital desk – how to tame the chaos of creative work

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Sharing documents and files and creating digital surveys and quizzes are no longer limited to training in digital competencies or skills, but became a natural element of every training. In this article, you can read about our favorite tools that we find most useful. However, bear in mind that these are only a selection of tools available for trainers.

Below we present several small, but extremely practical tools that will be useful on every digital desk or smartphone (or tabs!) for anyone who conducts training and workshops on a regular basis.

Link shorteners

There are two solid arguments for shortening links. The first is about the ease of showing them during presentations and on analog materials, so that everyone can easily rewrite them to their browser (and usually photograph beforehand). That’s exactly why quiz and survey applications usually have special, shorter domains, e.g. menti.com (short domain for playing the mentimeter.com website and application). The second argument is the ability to track traffic on the page to which we redirect users using a shortened link.

This is useful especially when the link directs to a page where we do not collect our own statistics (e.g. when we use the survey available on Google Forms). Thanks to shortened links to each presentation from workshops or trainings we can check if and when the participants return to these materials after training.

One of the most popular link shorteners on the network is bitly.com, which allows us to make our own link content (of course, if the given address is still available) and has a mobile application which facilitates the creation and management of links on your smartphone. Tinyurl.com is an equally simple tool, and for people working with a lot of links to social media (e.g. creating ads and campaigns) ow.ly, the link shortener associated with the Hootsuite tool, may be a more interesting solution. 

Time measurement

Of course, most trainers only need a watch and intuition as to how much time it takes to do something and how much has actually passed. However, time flows a little differently for the people participating in training and workshops. Displaying a large clock or counting down the time to complete a task makes work easier. There are many websites on the web that do exactly that, e.g. TickCounter and Timer Tab (each has clock, stopwatch and timer options if you want to enable sounds in them). Personally, I really like the Visual Timer application, which clearly displays the elapsed time using white and red zagar on a tablet or smartphone.

Outside the training room, applications that support greater focus and attention using the pomodoro technique (which consists of focusing on 25 minutes on one task and 5 minutes before the next one) are also useful. A simple and pleasant application for this is Forest, which, while performing our task without tearing up and running anything else on the smartphone, plants a digital forest (we can also buy the premium version of the application, supporting the planting of real trees). 

Automation of activities

An extremely useful tool between trainings and workshops is the application for automating activities between various social networking sites and applications. Zapier, Ifttt (shown below) and several similar sites work in a very simple way. After creating the account, other services will be connected, e.g. Google, Instagram, Spotify or our phone with Android or iOS, and we define the rules of operation according to the “if X is Y” principle. It can work like this: as soon as I take a screenshot on my smartphone, save it to my Google disk (thanks to which I have order in them and I can quickly insert them into the presentation for training) – that’s just one example.

Ifttt does not require any programming skills and constantly follows and informs us about the correct operation of the rules that we set. If you use the Microsoft Office suite and want to similarly automate operations between its programs, then try Microsoft Flow.

ifttt

Examples of automatic rules for the operation of various websites created using Ifttt.

Digital boards

This isn’t about the so-called active boards that are purchased for schools or modern “intelligent” touch screens connected to the network with the possibility of writing and drawing on their surface, which is advertised as modern dry-wipe boards. When joint completion of text documents is too formal a task and word cloud is too simple, it is worth considering the use of digital, shared boards (on smartphones and computers, without the need for special equipment or screens). Such solutions are useful during creative tasks or those requiring joint planning or design. In addition, they allow you to include people who are not in the room. To work in this way, except for devices connected to the network, you only need the appropriate program or application on your mobile device.

One of the solutions is Miro (the free version allows you to have 5 boards) – it shows the movement and editing of connected people live, and additionally has a lot of ready-made sample boards e.g. for process management and project planning (also through the kanban method often used by creating teams software or new products).

Another application worth recommending that allows you to organize projects on visual boards is Milanote. It will be useful for designers who want to brainstorm remotely or gather various notes in one place. The free version is available without time limits and allows you to create any number of boards on which you can place up to 100 notes, images and links, and load 10 files. It is worth noting that office packages, such as the aforementioned Office, also have a similar tool called Microsoft Whiteboard.

milanote

These are just a few accessories that can be of use to trainers. if you know or exceptionally like other tools, comment on this text on Sektor 3.0 social channels.

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