I'm in the middle of putting together a teacher manual on how to conduct informational interviews and job shadows and I don't mind saying it's seriously annoying. The client wants a paper-based version because she says that people like to "hold something in their hands." While this may be true, that manual they're holding won't be nearly as dynamic and helpful as it would have been if I could do an online version. Some of what will be missing:
- Videos and slideshows I could have embedded that would actually show what the jobs involve so that kids would know even before they did a job shadow whether or not a job seemed interesting.
- Active links to career assessments that they could just click through to, rather than having to type in the URL from the lesson plan. I could also have created some linkages between assessment results and career information on a website, but that won't be possible in a printed version of the manual.
- Links to blog posts like this one on virtual volunteering. I can include the links in the manual, but the odds that anyone will actually go looking for the information are probably pretty limited.
- Documents and other resources that could be downloaded onto student computers--and that students would be able to access outside of the classroom.
The biggest issue, of course, is that the offline manual just sits there, while an online version asks for you to interact with it. I can put many of the same resources and links into a print version as an online version, but they just don't hold the same appeal to folks. Who wants to type in a link like this:
I also think that there's an issue with accessibility--at least with a website, it's there, easily found and available 24/7. That paper version I suspect will land on someone's desk somewhere and I'll be lucky if it lands in anyone's hands.
This experience is making me realize how much I've come to rely on using the web as my primary means of delivering information and training. I'm OK with trying to find online tools that you can print out if you need to hold something, but having to build something offline is increasingly uninteresting and limiting to me. It feels like I'm not providing the level of resources and supports that I could because I'm unable to make use of the interactivity and range of media that's available on the web. I also can't make it accessible to a broader audience.
Am I the only one who's feeling this? Is it harder for other people to have to create off-line resources once you've been working online for awhile?