Holidays are a good time to potter around and do some cleaning and tidying up. When I left my previous school I put all of my paper teaching resources into a series of white three ring folders. I had one for English, one for Maths, one for Health and so on. Some have been used occasionally and others have barely been opened. One that I thought I would use constantly in my current role was my ICT folder, which is a real repository of all of the factors that led me down this current pathway. But not surprisingly, I have barely used it and it would be well over three years since it saw the light of day.
I found it this afternoon in the garage, covered in a thin layer of dust. So I opened it up, interested to see if any of the contents had any relevance whatsoever to me.
The first thing I found was a course booklet for Basic Flash 5 Animation. I remember sitting in that course feeling totally lost - I had a real taste of the frustration felt by my students over the year when I've introduced a complex topic or concept. So much technical know-how required just to make a simple animation - what use would this be in a primary classroom? No wonder I haven't looked at it since.
There were a number of print outs of flow charts and mind maps - relics from interviews and strategic planning. I have digital copies somewhere. I found a workshop paper (not by me) titled "Developing Electronic and Digital Texts using PowerPoint or SlideShow Presentations" circa 1998. Sadly, many teachers still think that this is where technology in the classroom starts and ends. Why am I still hanging onto this paper nearly ten years later?
There's a 2001 newsletter about the Microsoft Agreement that anchors our whole education system to the MS Office suite - I have heard from a senior person that Open Office is a real possibility if the department goes down the ultraportable laptop route. But, at the moment the MS Agreement deathgrip still holds sway and only innovative educators like Peter Ruwoldt and Jason Plunkett have developed viable FOSS solutions for their students. But I digress.
What else can I find?
- a 2000 guide to using CoolEdit (who needs it when Audacity is around)
- the original Tangara Consortium R-9 Learning Technologies Continuum (we use the latest version at my school as a guide, but these things date faster than Moore's law)
- a Creating Webquests (remember them?) certificate and the obligatory Tom March template
Ah, but there is some gold in the old folder. I find my handouts from two highly influential courses that I've been lucky enough to be involved with - "Discovery School" @ Grange Schools and a Quality Teacher Program titled "Designing and Applying Learning With New Technologies". There's stacks in both of these collections on Higher Order Thinking, question matrices, Bloom's Taxonomy, what is powerful learning, structured controversies and a stack of other pedagogical tools and resources that if anything have even more value to me in today's learning environment. What is now dated and valueless is the software how-to guides.
Maybe, I'll chuck the crud into the recycling bin and put the good stuff into a new folder. Maybe I'll title it "Learning" and put this idea that you can capture ICT/elearning/Learning Technologies/edtech/whatever on paper and keep it in a folder to bed.
Now to sort what to put on my new USB stick....