Digital Resource Organization that Makes Sense!
In the last few blogs, I have talked about doing one thing well (Do One Thing and Do It Well) and vetting resources so you can find all the diamonds in the rough (Help Alice! I’ve Fallen Down the Rabbit Hole!). Now you need to organize those resources into a logical system that works for you.
When I started in online therapy services 10 years ago, I made the mistake of downloading everything I came across that looked interesting and bookmarking the sites I thought I would use. As a result, I had a lot of great materials, but I could never find what I needed when I needed it. The summer between my second and third year of providing online therapy services, I spent hours and hours reorganizing and categorizing my resources and websites. Was it worth it? Yes! It has made things so much easier even now as I share my thoughts and ideas with others. But I could have saved myself those countless hours that summer if I had started out organizing from the beginning.
Now, some of you are already organized and have a system that works for you. Great! Keep it up! The rest of us need the boost to get started as soon as possible so we can find what we need easily and effortlessly. There are three strategies I would encourage you to follow when you are adding digital resources to your computer or browser.
- Be as detailed as possible when naming a saved file. Any time you go to download a file it will have a name that was assigned to it by the creator or developer. This file name is usually not as descriptive or clear as you will need. When you go to rename it, use a naming convention to help you keep your files clear and organized. For example, you can start with the type of resource, grade level, and other identifying information. So, let’s say I am saving a 1 step following directions worksheet for 1st and 2nd graders with a theme of elephants. I might name the file 1step_1-2_elephants.pdf. Then I would save it in my “Following Directions” folder on my computer. Which leads me to the second strategy.
- Create topic file folders on your computer and place the files related to that topic in that folder. Again, this needs to be YOUR system. Choose topics that are relevant to what you do or how you will use the resource. You can also create subsets within those folders. For example, as a speech-language pathologist, I have a file labeled “Articulation”. Within that folder, I have Subfolders for each phonetic sound “B”, “CH”, “D” etc. If you don’t know how to create folders, simply search in your browser “creating files and folders” and you can find many helpful resources based on the type of system you are using, be that Windows, Mac, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
- The final strategy I would suggest is using the Bookmarks Bar in your browser of choice. By creating topic folders on the bookmarks bar, you can easily save your favorite websites by category or topic and access them quickly as needed. I have even bookmarked subpages on a website into different folders so I can get to the page I want to access even more quickly. If you have never done this or don’t have a clue what I am referring to here are resources for bookmarking in 3 commonly used browsers:
I hope you have found a nugget of information that can be applied to help organize your digital materials as you continue to grow your own resource library. For a list of resources that I have collected over the years, you can go to the Lighthouse Therapy Resources Page, which has over 60 resources categorized by Leadership in Education, Special Education, Educational Technology, and Legal issues in Education. You can also find many great resources in our Clinical Materials and Assessments Blogs.
Remember that a resource is only a good choice if you can access it when you need to use it with your students. So find the system that works best for you and use it.