Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Paperless Classroom

Several years ago, I made a concerted effort to go paperless with my computer classes. I would like to share some of my success and failures. I have to admit, as time goes by and technology gets better, going paperless is getting much easier. In the beginning, I was either screen-checking assignments or having students email them to me. Now days, with Google Docs or the Share Point Site our school uses, things are a little smoother. Every student in each of my classes has an online drop box and Wiki. All projects and assignments are posted as PDFs or converted to graphics (for my DTP classes) and linked to student Wikis where I can quickly find them.

All of my assignments are linked to my three class Websites. Students can access them from school or home. Many of my lectures are captured on screencasts using Camtasia. Students can view most of them from home also. (Some are still stuck on the school's shared network). Most of the documents I am working on are in a Dropbox account where I can access them from home, school, Web, iPad, or iPhone. I have a classroom blog with Blogger to keep parents updated. My classroom is 99.9% in the cloud.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate paper. We did typed letters to former teachers that had made an impact on our lives a few months ago and we did print them. Some of the students didn't realize we have a laser printer in the back of the room because they had never used it up until that assignment. :)
What has going paperless done for me? First, I am more organized. My assignments are linked and available. No copies. I also don't carry papers back and forth to school and home. Assignments are in the cloud. I carried a briefcase for a few years, mainly out of habit or so I would have a spot to keep my school keys, but stopped earlier this year. My wife doesn't like it. She is a teacher also and does carry a lot of papers back and forth. But, it is working out well for me and my students. Once they are in the practice of uploading documents to their dropbox and linking to the Wiki, they do it without having to be told. It is great.

I enjoy being paperless!
If you are thinking about trying it, checkout such tools mentioned above as Google Docs, Google Sites, Weebly, Dropbox, Share Point, and others. Search my blog. I have talked about many of these tools as well. Start small and work into it. You will enjoy going paperless also.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Going paperless is really great and I would like to introduce SafeSync by TrendMicro, which allows you to do so. Your files are stored securely and you can access them from everywhere. Also with the versioning features, it would be easier for your students to go back to a previous version of their assignment if they have made a mistake. For your class, you can also use a business version where you can create team folders so that all your class can work on same documents easily. Hope that helps!