“Stop taking pictures of the calendar,” yelled my youngest. “I’m syncing our schedules on my tablet, now!”
While the giant paper calendar in the kitchen has its uses, it’s hard for our family to keep tabs on each other unless we’re standing right there in front of it. And, let’s face it, we’re not home all that much. Half of the time, the kids are trying to finish their homework in between school and extra-curriculars. So, this fall, we’re getting ready to ditch the old kitchen system and rely on the cloud. We need access to a common scheduling program, word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software, and our essential photos and films. And, we need this access 24-7, from home or from anywhere we can carry our laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
I am thinking that this might just be the solution:
Microsoft Office 365 Home can be installed on up to 5 computers, PC or Mac, and 5 Windows tablets or iPads, or accessed via smart phone. A budget-friendly subscription [$10/month or $99/year] gives you online access to the most recent versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access and OneNote. The service also comes with a Terrabyte of cloud storage for all of your documents, photographs, and videos. As an added bonus, 60 Skype World minutes are included each month.
This means that from my office [or the beach], I can have a look at the data Bea’s collected in Excel over in her school’s science lab. Or, Toby can prepare his next book report in PowerPoint on his tablet while he’s waiting to go into his piano lesson. And, if lesson time needs to be changed for next week, we can make those changes across everyone’s devices, instantly. Then, of course, there’s the entertainment factor: A bedtime story Skyped with grandma from abroad? Vacation pics to show my girlfriends? Dad’s top-ten movies on the road? Check. Check. Check.
Is this what the future looks like?
What do you think, folks: Can we sail on the cloud this school year? Do I see myself keeping up with the kids, 365?