The Old ICT Folder

ictfolder.jpgHolidays 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

- a whole stack of Jamie McKenzie website printouts (he was my ultimate guru around the 2000/01 mark - what's he doing these days besides giving Marc Prensky some stick?)

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....

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5 thoughts on “The Old ICT Folder

  1. Allanahk

    I have the same sort of folder.

    In the folder I have pages and pages of directions on how to use Kid Pix with step by step illustrations and text. It took me hours and hours and hours to construct.

    Nowadays I say to the New Entrants here is something that is fun to play with- have a play and show me what you have learnt. More than that I show on the data projector and they are away!

    I can’t bear to toss them out though because they are a work or art and took so long to construct.

  2. Wati Wara

    Fantastic news from that senior person re Open Office. It makes so much sense to be able to give kids the software to work at home and to not give them the impression that to be productive they need to either pirate software or spend lots of money.

    There was a post today on the oz-teachers talk list about ‘saving Windows XP’. Apparently MS is stopping the sale of this in the middle of the year after extending the selling period after user backlash. People generally, or at least those in the know, are rejecting Vista.
    It you want to join the petition to save XP

    Of course this problem offers another solution and that is to use Linux which of course is free in both senses of the word. Ubuntu is offering a very real alternative that could significantly improve the spending power of educational budgets.
    It could provide an even better possibility if educational organisations piped some of the money that they saved into sponsoring further development that I recommend would specifically target educational needs.

    Please feel free to digress in this FOSS area further at every opportunity.

    The saving of the folders is an experience I have faced a number of times and most recently at the end of last year when I moved offices. I filled a number of recycle bins once again. I feel relieved for the purge to be honest and am thankful for the opportunity created with the moving offices. So yes, I can identify with your experience in this matter.

  3. warrick

    I remember similar frustrations trying to learn how to use FLASH, and trying to teachers how to write hmtl, with a couple of purists insisting that teachers learn the code and not just the wysiwyg view.

    Thankfully some of that has changed, but I’ve still got three filing cabinet drawers full of manila folders sitting there.

  4. Robert

    I remember when I first started the Learning Technology Support Teachers’ PD Program in my school system in 2003, I was given this large ring binder to file all the paper from the course (which really says something of the effectiveness of the SharePoint portal we had at the time). At the end of the year, it went on top of the bookcase in my classroom…

    …and stayed there until the end of last year, when I moved classrooms. The thick layer of dust was enough to choke even the most allergy-resistant person. And yet, for some reason, I was still concerned that there could be something in there I might need!

    I must say though, my school library has a similar issue. Every time we go through the software collection, another CD-ROM seems to pop up that’s suitable for Windows 3.1/95/98; even though we think we’ve got rid of the last of them!


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