Worked most of the morning cleaning out a file cabinet. Well, reorganizing it and pitching stuff, that is. It struck me, as I worked, that I actually go into my file cabinet less and less frequently as the years go by. Technology has perhaps changed this more than anything in my teaching life. I don't keep "paper stuff" anymore at the levels that I once did.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of this? Aside from saving a few trees, there are some things to consider as well. Going paperless means you are comfortable shifting your trust in having a tangible copy to whatever computer and storage method you have for keeping a digital copy. We are seeing the downsides of this in the move to digital photos. People have their entire lives and all their memories on their phones! Great until you drop it in the sink... and then all your stories and photos go literally down the drain. So we come up with cloud or backup storage devices for our photos... the electronic equivalent of a file cabinet (or my grandma's shoeboxes in the attic).
Today, I needed to move some files from one digital storage (computer) to another (Lacie drive) and quickly discovered that not all my classroom computers worked with an external drive that just 5 years ago was the go-to device for backing up files. How do we keep pace with this kind of change?
Do I have an answer? Not completely.
I do know that I have found myself watching for cloud storage sites and services, hoping that they will have the means and the stability to give me a place to find things many years down the road. However, and this is ironic, I have found myself actually being very aware of having photos and important documents PRINTED out as well as having digital copies. This is especially true of my photos. I won't print every adorable shot I have taken of the grandkids, but I will print enough of them that my memories of them will be able to be accessible to me wherever I am living in the future. And in the meantime, I enjoy them in their electronic format as well.