Teachers tend to be hoarders. We collect stuff and information that may be useful in some project or lesson in the future. My husband and I were discussing how we use to have file cabinets full of photocopies and articles torn out of Nature and Scientific American. We had boxes of cardboard rolls, tin cans and jars. I understood how to organized my paper files and physical things. There was really only paper in file cabinets, and books and videos on book shelves. My collection of material was limited by physical space. I could easily browse for what I needed. I have not necessarily made the transition well when it comes to digital files.
I can keep an almost endless amount of digital files, in an almost endless amount of places. This is the trouble, what should I keep, where should I keep it? I can’t browse through my digital files with ease; naming and tagging them is extremely important. Some are files I have created, others are links to web pages and online media. I use a variety of tools – Google Drive, DropBox, Diigo, a wiki and an external hard drive. But honestly my file cabinet and bookshelves were so much easier to manage.
Now many teachers and schools will be leaving traditional paper materials and textbooks behind and going digital. As schools move to 1:1 learning environments teachers will not only need to keep track of all their digital files but they will need to create and organize digital files for their students to access on their devices. As schools and teachers prepare for this new way of providing content organization is half the battle. Many schools will not be truly 1:1 for a few more years. The transition for many will not be easy, and who knows what tools or platforms for sharing content will be in use 5 years down the road. There is time to begin preparing for the inevitable and use the time well to work on find tuning your organizational and back up strategies.
Teachers can take time to organize and curate what they currently have. Materials related to a course or subject area can be placed in a repository and organized around topics, units or standards. Many teachers, I believe, think schools will just buy digital texts in place of paper text but this is not as straight forward as it seems. And many digital texts currently are really just pdf versions of the paper text and do not leverage the potential of digital media. Texts also tend to encourage teacher lead classes and the trend is toward a more personalized learning experience. I believe that many teachers, departments and schools will be creating much of their own digital content with a smattering of paid for content thrown in.
Tips for Organizing