Tech Be Nimble
As I chip away at the literature review for my dissertation, I am accumulating never-before-seen amounts of paper. In part because of my age and in part because I'm pursuing a degree in educational technology, many people I talk to seem to expect me to be "going paperless," organizing all of my materials digitally. But for me (and, it seems, many of those same folks who thought I'd be in favor of digital files), a hard copy is essential to comprehension. Touching the paper, highlighting with an actual marker, underlining and making marginalia--these are essential to my comprehension and memory.
At the same time, I'm by no means totally reliant on paper for all things. I LOVE the digital reference manager, Mendeley. I'd be lost without it. Or at least, buried under a mountain of trivial reference-management tasks that might prevent me from ever completing a draft of any research-based writing. And I love being able to search digitally and quickly through a PDF for the quotation I can't quite remember.
So, instead of drowning in reference-management, I'm drowning in paper, with precarious stacks and dozens of binder clips surrounding my workspace. I'm curious if any other researchers or grad students out there have made the paperless conversion. How's it working for you? Do you miss the paper? Do you find you remember what you've read on a screen equally well? Or are there certain types of things you just have to have printed out, while others you can stand to read digitally? For me, it's no problem reading the blogs I follow on Feedly or reading a book for pleasure on an e-reader, but it when it comes to academic text, I find I need it on paper. What about you?
Needs change. Technology changes. The best educational technology stays nimble.