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blended-learning-toolbox-konmari

Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff

Netflix superstar and self-help maven Marie Kondo doesn’t just do houses. In fact, her method can work wonders on your flipped classroom, and more specifically, on your blended learning toolbox!

This peppy, petite entrepreneur has applied a very Japanese sense of honor and reverence to organization. Her signature KonMari method consists of following concrete steps to achieving order and harmony in your personal space, including your teaching space – both virtual and physical!

Think of the home screen on your tablet or the background of your desktop computer. Is it cluttered or clean? If you answered the former, Marie Kondo just might be your new hero.

We’ll show you how to apply her popular principles to organize your apps and websites so that they spark joy for you and your students. Are you ready to invite Marie Kondo into your classroom?

What is the KonMari method?

In a nutshell, Marie Kondo’s method consists of organizing your space by categories, determining what to get rid of by deciding which items “spark joy” for you as you go.

For your physical classroom, for example, your categories would be books, papers, “komono” or miscellaneous items, finally followed by sentimental items. The idea is to gather all the items in the same category (for example piling up all your papers on your desk), and then go through one by one, deciding if each item stays or goes.

To decide if it stays, it needs to spark joy (the definition of which can also be expanded to being useful – permission slips may not exactly spark joy, but you couldn’t live without them!). If it goes, according to Marie Kondo, you should thank the item for being useful and then discard it accordingly.

Now for the fun part … we’re applying the KonMari method to your blending learning toolbox, so you can pare down your virtual tools to the essentials, which equals less chaos, confusion and guilt over not making the most of your resources.

We’ve broken it down into steps that we hope Marie Kondo would approve of!

Step #1: Inventory All Your Apps and Websites

The first step is to figure out what you’re dealing with. If you’re working with a tablet, move all your apps to the same page, or get them all onto the home screen of your desktop computer. For websites, bookmark them so they’re all in the same folder.

If there are too many to keep track of, you can make a list in one of your note-taking apps or in Google Sheets. It’s crucial to gather all of your resources in one place so you have a starting point in order to move on to step two!

Step #2: Divide by Theme

Now that you’ve got all of your blended learning tools in front of you, the next step is to categorize them by theme.

Some examples of categories include:

  • Content (Edpuzzle, Khan Academy, Crash Course, TedEd)
  • Editing tools (Screencastify, iMovie, YouTube Creators)
  • Presentation tools (Nearpod, Explain Everything)
  • Games (Kahoot, Quizlet Live)

If you’re an elementary school teacher or you teach multiple subjects, you can also create categories by subject. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see which of your categories are overcrowded and which feel empty by comparison. Now you’re already halfway through the process!

Step #3: Keep What Sparks Joy, Trash Everything Else

It’s time to be ruthless. Channel your students clearing out their lockers or cubbies at the end of the year and send the apps your students don’t respond to right to the trash!

If you’ve ever attended a conference or PD on educational technology, you probably downloaded a million different apps in a hyped-up edtech frenzy (must have been the free coffee). But when it came time to try them out for yourself, how many did you actually end up using?

If you’ve genuinely given the app or website the old college try and it just didn’t work for your students, don’t allow it to keep taking up your digital workspace. On the other hand, if you just haven’t had time to try it out yet, make the time!

Develop your own vetting system for new edtech so you can make the decision relatively quickly to keep or get rid of the new tool.

Teach yourself how to use the app, or reach out to another teacher who knows it well, then try a sample lesson with your students using the app and analyze your results.

If you’re not seeing any potential after a few attempts, then it’s time for a guilt-free goodbye.

Step #4: Organize, Organize, Organize

The final step is to put a little order into your blended learning toolbox – no more staring at screens searching for apps like Where’s Waldo!

Maintain your app and bookmark folders according to the categories you set up, so your resources are easily accessible. Having a system in place will make it easier to remember what you have to work with.

Additionally, you can keep track of your apps and add structure to your lessons by designating a certain day of the week for a specific technology (i.e. Edpuzzle Mondays, Kahoot Fridays, creation station Wednesdays, etc.). It’s a guaranteed win for everyone!

Now it’s time to get rid of some unnecessary stress and make Marie Kondo proud by tackling your blended learning toolbox. You’ll feel better prepared, more confident, less overwhelmed and better equipped to integrate new technologies into your flipped classroom. After all, who wouldn’t want to spark joy in their class?

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