We, the Learning Cognoscenti, "prove" our own credentials to the world by openly disdaining them. '"What to do about the classroom binder?' you ask. 'How about dig a deep hole and throw them all in!'" Then we chuckle and drink our cognac and tighten our smoking jacket.
And yet there are still a lot of them being produced. Almost every classroom experience, and there are a lot of them, support the activity with binders. Conferences do as well, I need hardly mention. I, as dutifully as the next speaker, turn in my PowerPoint stack for inclusion in whatever event I am part. I also helped build a workbook to support rolling out next-gen-sim Virtual Leader, which significantly increased usage.
So it might be worth a few moments to, with appropriate humility and pragmastism, reflect upon what are some of the tools available that can make for a good binder.
- Removable overviews, often in the front sleeve, that provide context and a map to what comes next, or a tip/cheat sheet to an application
- PDFs of the entire thing, available for download and storage; perhaps zipped files as well
- Copies of slides, for people to take notes in real time
- Color paper and/or tabs, to distinguish between sections and aid navigation ("Go to the yellow section...")
- Biographies, with face shots and contact information, of speakers and ideally participants, at the back
- Appendixes, with articles and links
- CD-ROMS, with editable versions of slides and spreadsheets
- Clear cover and spine, with subject and dates
- Three-ring rather than bound, so that users can dynamically and deliberately add or subtract what they want or don't want.
What are your thoughts? What should or should not be part of a well constructed binder?