Printed Handouts – Really?

I was having a frustrated moment when I asked friends ( loose definition,ok twitter contacts) if people attending CPD sessions really need paper handouts. I’d decided to provide CDs with everything on, a wiki page, and not bother with paper for an upcoming session. It made sense to me and I was thinking of the planet!
TweetDeck Handouts Conversation
Mike‘s reply in particular struck home. Feedback I’ve had from previous sessions has suggested exactly that, especially the “more time, different time”.
I’d also seen another friend saying the only negative feedback she’d had for her last session was about the lack of printed material.
So once again, I need to remember that I am not my learners. I hate handouts. They are heavy, take up space and resources and generally get in the way. Eventually they end up torn, lost or filed in the bin. But then I don’t print stuff out to read. Ever. I get frustrated when I can’t copy & paste or grab quotes. I hate having to type from a paper copy. Oh and Argh! I want to be able to click the links! This is not everyone’s way of doing things.
I have become a creature of the internet. In the main my learners are not. They have to be coaxed and reassured into the online environment. Insisting they can only re-read my notes if they go online is a step too far. I might think they ought to be able to handle it and go off on one about them being teachers but really, what do I want? I want them to be able to access and re-read my notes, to reflect on what I said. I want them to turn my ‘training’ into their own ‘learning’.
TweetDeck #lmchat
As Neil said (in the #lmchat), they take away the training but the learning they do themselves.
Off to prepare some printed handouts. I’ll still give them the CD and do a wiki page. There might be someone like me there 🙂

Update :

GMTKT said “read yr blog but yr orig tweet didn’t mention CPD, that puts a slight twist on the answer.” and she’s right. That’s one of the limitations of twitter conversations, just not enough space to give all the details or for people not to know the context or jargon. Also here is what I thought was my original tweet:

Quick question – do you expect paper handouts as well as a CD from a twilight session?

To me, and to many of my followers who are UK primary school teachers the word ‘twilight’ automatically means it’s about teachers and their CPD. Obviously not to everyone on twitter and then, well that wasn’t what she was replying to:

what have I learned today? That some people want paper handouts not online or on a CD even if I don’t think they need them #lmchat

which does indeed give it a different twist. In 140 characters it was indeed ‘what I learned today’ but it couldn’t carry the context within those restrictions.

What did I learn today? Twitter conversations are context poor, limited and don’t thread properly.

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2 thoughts on “Printed Handouts – Really?

  1. I’ve just written a post on my blog about a recent day I ran on ICT in Primary Language Learning. I put all the resources I used, the presentations, the links and examples on a wiki specifically for the day. I did give out two handouts – how to… guides to Voki and Wiki as they were needed then and there.
    By putting things on the wiki I was exemplifying its use as it was one of my topics, and I was also enabling people to click on links rather than type them
    in. ( one delegate took five goes to correctly type in the wiki address alone and saud ‘now I know what the kids feel like!)
    Yet, despite providing all they needed – and more, thr lack of a handout was a gripe. I agree that some people like handouts but they can print them
    off if they need a hard copy. And by providing electronic handouts, others who couldn’t attend benefit too.

  2. I’m thinking that even when part of the subject of the training is online, which it usually is if I’m doing Classroom Displays, some people need that piece of paper to read. Even though we think everyone knows how to print off a PDF file. They. Just. Don’t.
    Making them look at it via technology really is still a barrier to some people’s learning. So, for now, I think we have to do both, or everything (!) and accept that for some people we’ll still get it wrong.

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