Last week the New York Times published “Out With Textbooks, In With Laptops” about the digital makeover for an Indiana School District (10/19/2011). After reading the article, I thought about my own experiences to reduce the amount of paper that I use in my classrooms. The mission reduce the amount of paper given to students to a number that I can count with the fingers on both my hands. Lets get this straight, I teach five different subjects and see 128 students daily. One of the most disheartening things as a teacher is for a student to ask me is, “Can I recycle this or throw it away?” It makes me think what do we hold valuable in our classroom and are there more effective ways to teach our students without making a photocopy.
The bigger questions here are: Can one go paperless in a secondary classroom (when not all students have laptops or ipads)? And, what are the most effective tools to help teachers reduce their paper consumption.
Let me be honest, I have tried and tried to completely eliminate paper in my classes and at his point in the school year I have given about six papers to my students since September. Those papers include: the course syllabus, learning contract, wikispaces contract form, as assessment project and rubric, and one class reading. But I do not want to make any more photocopies as we move forward in the semester.
This does mean that I have been spending lots of time revising and adding to my wikis that I use with my classes. In addition, I have been reviewing many of my lessons I have done in the past and revising them into interactive SMARTBoard lessons. I am having students write responses and complete assessment projects on the wikis. The types of projects students create is also something that is revising to include videos, podcasts, blogs, and glogs.
What are you doing to go paperless in your classroom? What are some of the challenges you are facing as you go paperless?