Tip #493: In Praise of Using Two Monitors

“I really cannot know whether I am or am not the Genius you are pleased to call me, but I am very willing to put up with the mistake, if it be one.” George Gordon Byron

This will be a very brief Tip, but one that may save you much time and frustration. Get a second monitor. Really.

If you have ever tried to compare documents or make revisions in two documents at the same time, you know how frustrating it can be to toggle between the two on the same screen. Even if you know how to split your screen in half, you are not able to really see both documents in their entirety.

Now, imagine if you were able to have both documents up in front of you on two different screens, where you could smoothly go back and forth between the screens.

I can’t tell you how much easier having two screens has made my curriculum design work.

For the past three weeks, I have been designing and revising twenty-two business management modules for small private medical practices in Kenya. These materials include the participant workbook, a very detailed facilitator guide, PowerPoint slides, and pre- and post- tests, with answer key- for each module.

Time has been of the essence, because I go to New York from November 17 to 26 to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, and then leave on November 29 to go to Kenya to pilot ten of these modules for the first two weeks of December. As a result, everything has to be done before I leave for New York.

Being able to put two (or more) documents up on two screens has expedited my work by enabling me to: create or revise the PowerPoint while looking at the participant workbook; create the pre-and post-tests while looking at the participant workbook; and make simultaneous revisions to the participant workbook and the facilitator guide.

Having two screens became even more useful when comparing an original document to one with proposed revisions. I’ve had to do this with each one of the twenty-two modules. If I hadn’t been able to put the original up on one screen and the revised copy up on the other, I’d have gotten even more of a headache than I got!

My second monitor is also much wider than my other monitor. As a result, I was able to make the document much larger and easier to read. That was an added benefit for weary eyes!

I first experienced working with dual monitors when I was doing curriculum design work in my good friend and client, Ronald Wroblewski’s, office. I couldn’t believe how much easier they made my design and editing work. It was such a simple yet extremely functional solution and I truly believed that Ron was an absolute genius to think of it (or, if not his original idea, to implement it).

I am an avowed technophobe, but even I was able to purchase an inexpensive monitor and plug it in without any fuss. If I could do it, anyone could do it.

I’m just sorry I didn’t implement this option years and years ago!

May your learning be sweet.

Deborah

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