Luke Skywalker had R2, Will Robinson had Robot and I guess I now have Dolly. Or Rolly. Geez I’ve never really thought about giving the rolling file contraption a name. Maybe if I could motorized it and control it by voice command that would be different.
Back in 2019, (now there’s the first time I’ve used that phrase and it already seems so last century), I frequently facilitated from one of our 5 workshop rooms. I found myself constantly carrying in and out many handouts I’d be using when they’d run; varying from one day to 3 weeks in length. By the time I was ready to start on day 1, I’d have my front table all laid out with the handouts I’d plan on using. That’s just the way I like to organize things. My colleagues have varying styles; some bringing things in day by day, some using a book where everything is given out together on day 1.
At one point in the past, I even had a discarded shelving unit screwed into a wall in the room, and I’d ensure every slot was labelled and filled with the necessary quantities ahead of my needing them. And that worked for the most part, until of course I wasn’t scheduled in that room, which became an issue when someone else was facilitating in there and I’d need to gain access to retrieve one handout.
Towards the middle of last year, I found this dolly. Well, truth be told, a coworker was using it more as a storage unit. It was mine for the asking, so I took it over and saw possibilities. It’s perfect for letter sized files. What it allowed me to do was store the files I’d need and transport them anywhere in the building I would need them. You can’t believe how comforting it is to know that all the handouts I’m potentially going to want are right there at hand when I’m facilitating.
Now of course, some people are like a few of my colleagues who prefer to have all their handouts in book format. This eliminates the need for handouts completely, and you just progress through a workbook page by page or jump around in the book as you want. Me, I’ve used that style in the past but it’s not my first choice. No, I’d rather know all the content I want to cover, but respond to the needs of each group by constantly adjusting the content. This style of facilitation is more challenging I believe; I mean you have to read groups, identify their wants and needs, pick up on comments and questions asked and all the while think to yourself, “do I have a handout for that?”
The other thing I’ve never really liked about giving out a workshop manual on day 1 is that some people flip pages only when you tell them to while others flip and scan the whole book to see where you’re taking them. Some even work ahead without the benefit of a facilitated discussion, invariably completing some exercise incorrectly or differently at best than they would with that discussion. I don’t want people regurgitating the information from later pages; telling me what they’ve read not what they really think on their own. So for me, for my style, it’s handouts one at a time.
And that’s where Dolly comes in. All the files are alphabetically contained therein, and it just falls to me to ensure that I’ve got 30 of each ready to go prior to any particular workshop. However, Dolly has a few issues. I remember in Star Wars, C3P0 spoke about being better than previous versions; a higher functioning and more valuable commodity than his predecessors. I think Dolly is ready for a melt down soon too. I mean it’s shown me that there’s an advantage in having this rolling file system wherever I go, but it’s pretty full as you can see from the photo, and to move it, I’ve got to hunch down as I push it.
So I’m thinking a project for 2020 here at home is to build a customized rolling filing system in the workshop. Maybe a two levelled contraption, which would solve space issues and transporting it at the same time. I’ve got the tools, I can get the materials, my goodness, dare I say, “We have the technology”. From Star Wars to the 6 Million Dollar Man, I’m all over the place with this blog and obviously still connected to past decades.
I share this with you my readers as a tool I use when facilitating in multiple locations. Maybe you’re in the same kind of situation and are lugging papers from one room to another. If so, this little idea might spark something new for you in 2020. Of course, I’d love to be paperless entirely; good for the environment and good for those who love tech. The thing is however, many of the participants I have before me like paper copies to write on and hold in their hands. Some don’t have computers at home, others just aren’t computer literate. So to be fully accessible, the traditional paper in hand still works. Why I even give them a snazzy folder in which to assemble their own, ‘book’ if you will.
I’d be interested to hear your style of facilitation with respect to handouts and course materials. What works for you? Hey never too old to learn!