It’s 2012 Stop Using Attachments

I am deeply concerned about the forward motion of my school and the workflow practices that the teachers at my school are married to. I say married, because it seems like it is going to take an attorney and court of law to get them to leave behind 400 mb PowerPoints with animated gifs and dozens of emails littered with repetitive attachments ; and replace that practice with something fluid, collaborative, and cloud-based.

If the technology did not exist to provide better and more flexible options, I would understand. However the fact is working in an offline office package and creating content in a body of email fed by attachments is about 5 years behind the times.

Yesterday I was working in GoogleDocs. I was taking data from a form and using the new Fusion Tables to create data views. I was sitting there realizing I was quickly and efficiently collecting data from the internet, organizing it, and then using it to update a group of people on the results. It occurred to me that it was not only easier to do than using an office package, but it required nothing more than internet access.

I was not faced with compatibility issues, concerned about file size, nor was I in a position to stress of data being lost from a program crash. I was just working efficiently in an integrated and flexible environment.

I always hear people speak about collaboration. Email is NOT collaborative. It does not allow other technologies to work within its core framework. Users have to go outside of email to do work. When the work is completed it has to be sent in a format that is editable by others in order for any collaboration to take place.

However, any changes made have no memory or tracking. Anyone can make changes, and make those changes appear original and acceptable. There is no data integrity, and no community features to validate that the document is something that is supported or in conflict.

This leads to printing. The document has to be printed, then approved in the physical world. Email is not accepted as official, because people do not fully trust the chain of events. The tools exist to allow for an idea to be collaboratively outlined, defined, expanded, refined, and published in multiple formats. This is where we need to be YESTERDAY, and no stuck in 1990 as we are today.

I am making a plan. It is going to be messy. It is going to probably end-up with people sending me death threats. Powerpoint will be a casualty of this war on change.

Standalone isolated islands of office applications have to be replaced with collaborative cloud based environments or we are going to further widen the divide between teaching and learning. Call me Kane, it is time to Command and Conquer.

Tony DePrato

http://www.tonydeprato.com

About Tony DePrato

about.me/tonydeprato
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2 Responses to It’s 2012 Stop Using Attachments

  1. Pingback: Podcast episode 30 – April 19, 2012 | Technology in the Classroom

  2. It was time to stop using attachments in about 2005, which is actually four years before the “new” Fusion Tables was launched in 2009. Look forward to seeing your plan, technology outside of education has been waiting for you for about three years. You might want to consider any of the dozens of as-a-service collaborative work platforms that have existed for the last few years that educators have dismissed as too complicated or expensive.

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