Organization is Half the Battle…

by Beth Knittle on January 13, 2013

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

Creating Order From Chaos: 9 Great Ideas For Managing Your Computer Files

Going Paperless: tips for organizing your digital file cabinet

Bookmark Management Tools


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Miles MacFarlane January 14, 2013 at 7:08 am

Digital file management is a critical skill – with cloud storage, so is tagging. A consistent file naming strategy is something worth generating and recording for ones self, and worth teaching with students. Student blogging is a good place for students to practice tagging work with relevant keywords.
Generally, I start with the date “subject – unit- document title”
With digital photos, I name the enclosing folder “yyyymmdd – activity”. If they are pictures from school, I’ll add the school name between the year and activity. By putting the date first, my picture folders stay sorted chronologically.

Farrah Deese January 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hey! My name is Farrah, and I am in a college class called EDM 310. My class blog is EDM310 Class Blog ,and my blog is called Farrah Deese’s EDM 310 Class Blog. I will be summarizing my visits to your blog with a post to my blog on Feb. 10th.

I see the future of educational instruction and filing, as well as texts, as being all digital, online, web-based, etc.  I, too, know that this concept is already in progress in the more advanced schools which have more money; however, this will be in place in the smaller school systems in the future! Yes, the older school teachers (no fault of their own)will not be as savvy with the new-age technology, so teacher professional development will be needed, and this is also going to have to involve teachers learning how to organize all of their files on-line. Teachers in training must learn the ways of technology in order to be more effective in the classroom, and, therefore, train students for the workforce of the future! 

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