Drown in paper OR drown in cyberspace. Which?

I just read Chris Potter’s latest blog post – Lose the Paper.

We are ALL creatures of habit. Some of us are just a little more willing to break an old habit and create a new one.

Even if most of our teachers knew how to use wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, et.al…..even if they not only knew how to use them, but also used them regularly at home & conferences….why would they trust that they could use them at work? First there was (and still is) the barking dog problem (Bess – our favorite filtering fido who prevents the use of wikis and social bookmarking etc.) Yes – you can “get creative” as our tech person suggested, and use filter friendly blogs and our new school web page to create/store/share information. But would teachers assume they could actually USE these resources in a staff development where everyone is trying to access the same page at once and the network starts behaving like a snail? And why would teachers post files etc. to their school pages to use them at home, at a conference and at school – when the “at school” option is an old white box computer? People tend to stick with stuff that works.

It will be another generation before paperless options REALLY take hold. It’s not just the “older” teachers who are not adopting it. Lots of younger teachers are not into this way of thinking either. I have been trying to bridge the gap a little with workshops I attend and workshops I run. Where I used to bring tons of handouts, now I tend to provide a one page handout with the basic link(s) to where my materials reside. That way – folks can file it easily in their staff development/conference binders – or just put it in their “to do” file as a reminder to go back to the materials as a refresher.

Here’s a “new technology” that EVERYONE knows how to use and EVERYONE could easily use to work in a “paperless” mode. Email. Before I had access to google docs, the school webpage etc. – I used to attend conferences and open my email for note taking. It worked great – except that it filled up my email in-box šŸ™

So – when you come right down to it. We have a choice. Drown in a sea of paper or drown in a lake of links. Either way – we sink šŸ™‚

The trees (and Al Gore) would vote for digital drowning, I suspect!

2 thoughts on “Drown in paper OR drown in cyberspace. Which?

  1. It’s not really either/or. There’s this goofy idea that if we all did everything online we’d save the environment. Yeah, except for the increased energy usage to build and run more electronics and the toxic chemicals from discarded computers that cause lead poisoning.

    I love the idea of presenters handing out a half-sheet or simple card with a link to the slideshow for more information.

    I love all my online tools: wiki, blog, google cal, buzzword, delicious. I also love actually writing stuff down when someone asks me something in the hallway and being able to cross it off the list. I brainstorm better on paper and tend to write most first drafts by hand.

    I don’t see what’s wrong with filling your email box. I don’t think I COULD fill up my gmail box. And I love that it’s searchable. No need for all those diddly little folders. I just forward anything from my school mail to my gmail if I think I’ll need to archive it. That way I have access to it wherever I am and all those attachments don’t clog the school’s always slow system.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I need both.

  2. I think you are right. Its a combination. Nothing wrong with sticking with what works. I have always found that it is a matter of not boxing oneself in & being open to new possibilities – especially inventive ways of using existing tech.

    At our school – technical difficulties have tended to sour folks on the use of new technologies. I keep hoping things will get better – but then someone always raises those pesky economic issues.

    Good idea about archiving things in a gmail account. It might give me the illusion of actually getting through my school email. Sort of like one of my paper “to do” folders – the one titled “When hell freezes over or retirement – whichever come first” =)

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