I'm at a two day workshop in Boston hosted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. There are several presentations on a variety of instruction topics as well as obligatory demonstrations of the company's wares. I was in such a demo this morning and the speaker handed out flash drive wrist bands with informations about all the products. While I was pleased to see them adhering to my “no paper” rule, as I took the drive I was struck with how even this distribution method (even disguised with a fun package) is feeling dated.
I suppose if I only used devices that had USB ports my reaction would not have been so immediate. Carrying only my iPad, it was clear that I could not see any of the materials until I returned home. However, even in the desktop/laptop world there seems to be a disconnect between a cloud-based, available everywhere, model and carry-able (and lose-able) storage.
So what should it be? If floppy discs were replaced by CDs, CDs by DVDs, and DVDs by flash drives, what replaces the flash drive for easy distribution of materials? Based on my recent fascination, I was wondering if it might be the QR code. I've recently begun including these on the screen during my presentations so people can scan the code from their seats. These codes lead them to an information sheet with links and further information. I've also been experimenting with variations of the v-card, a business card with a QR code that enters information directly into a contact list.
If a vendor were to post a QR code on the screen or better yet give it out on a card, or a pen, or some other chatchki, I could take it and scan it into my phone or iPad, and I could have that link on any machine I use.
I suppose my fascination with these codes might be troubling to some, the reduction of information, of people, to box codes. However, they are a simple, portable way to transfer stuff, which is what we have been doing all along. I'd love to hear about other ways we might use this new technology to increase information and decrease trash.
As always, I welcome your comments