Create or repurpose?

A couple of conversations I’ve had this week have made me think seriously about the advantages of creation versus repurpose. It’s come up in relation to support material for students that the faculty is developing. This material is outside the core content of units but will support student success.

The example in my head is Excel. There is lots of excellent material on line for Excel training. I know, I’ve used it. However, I used the Microsoft tutorials as I was starting at a base level and students were toe demonstrate basic operational skills for summative assessment. Someone else was telling me about a different site they used and that was just two of us.

Given the faculty has a clear idea of what skills they want students to have in relation to Excel and they have the skills themselves and the ability to create content, isn’t it just quicker for them to create the content they want? What is the time cost of finding the right sort of content to repurpose versus just doing it yourself? I didn’t know about the Microsoft tutorials. Someone else told me. I had done searches but my brain went to YouTube (maybe it shows where I spend too much time!). I personally hadn’t thought to go elsewhere. I was pushed for time, it was only one of my five subjects, I had to research for other units, and I was in that scary place that teachers can get to, I knew it all so I was going to chalk and talk it. This approach in IT is deadly. Students can’t self-pace, they lose interest and in the high school context it leads to behaviour issues. So, I was saved by someone else.

All this leads me to the question of how how do we know what to repurpose? Who tells us about cool stuff we can use? Do we go to ‘commons‘ and see what people are doing? Do we search “Showme“? Do we search google? And then once we’ve found it, we have to consume it ourselves to work out what can be repurposed to meet our needs. I completed all the Microsoft tutorials before setting them for my students to make sure the content was useful, met my needs and didn’t have anything too outside the requirements I was seeking. This took time. Would it have been quicker for me to just create? Is this actually the age old issue of why delegate when I can just do it? Maybe because the answer is, if you do extra time today, tomorrow you won’t have to do it at all. Hmmm more stuff to think about.

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