In the past, when textbooks were king and there was no web, the collection of information presented in your class was handed to you in a form called a textbook. This collection of words and pictures was curated by someone else (an expert in their field) and may have suffered from obsolescence as soon as it left the printer.
I’m finding that as a teacher in today’s world, I am not only a deliverer of information but I am also an information curator.
I realized this added role when I discovered that there is no suitable textbook that I could use for my courses.
In place of a standard, static textbook, I decided to rely on a collection of information that I would curate. This collection would then be used to reinforce concepts I feel my students need to understand.
This information collection I curate comes in many forms (videos, still images, printed items, recording and web pages) and from many sources.
My job (and it’s a big one) is to locate the sources, review them all and pick ones that are truthful, accurate and from credible sources. As time goes on, I expect that I will add to, remove and replace items in this collection.
The advantage of this is that I can teach from relevant information that is always up to date. When teaching technology, like I do, this is important simply because of the speed at which things change or are replaced.
Conveying this collection of information to the students is a challenge and a lot of work.
Right now, I am experimenting with using Google Slides (it works well with Google Classroom that has been adopted by our district but I am sure Power Point would would work as well) as a flexible tool where each slide (page) contains printed matter, images, customized figures that I create and links to other items from the web. I am keeping one slide deck that is easy to add to or reorder as I adjust how I present my information.
This is also a cost saver for my students and district in that I don’t need to by expensive textbooks that, by design, have built in obsolescence.
I am finding that a weakness of this method is that as the slide deck grows larger, locating particular pieces of information gets to be a challenge because there is no method to automatically index or provide a table of contents for the entire slide deck.
Call it a work in progress.