My paperless classroom

paperless classroom

You , too, can live in the paperfree zone.

Image: Inside the classroom, outside the box!

I’m a recycler from way back. When we brought technology into our classrooms I was always going to be committed to running  a paper free environment because the planet does not have limitless resources and the advent of photocopiers and printers meant we were churning through non renewable resources at an alarming rate. Trees provide us with a healthier and more sustainable planet. Why would you chop them down and think there would not be a serious problem? This year I have finally properly achieved my practically paperless classroom. It gets held up by the fact we have paper based exams and official assessments. It came as great news to me when I saw ACARA was going to dare to put its NAPLAN testing online. Until we trial online testing and exams we won’t know what the problems are so we can address them. It’s really fantastic to see our national curriculum organisation show some leadership in this area and work on the methodical trials they have created to shift us from a paper dependent official testing system to an electronic one. The environment will be grateful. I shifted fairly easily from a paper based classroom to a non paper based one but it has taken time to work through some of the issues. Like what do you do when you receive work by email, on an LMS, on paper and on a USB? You go crazy, that’s what you do. Patience is required. I have always taken the problem back to my students. I have explained what happens to me when I get work in various ways. I negotiate with them. Our school has also been very helpful by extending the functionality of the LMS to include inline messaging. I can receive work that way from iPads and laptops and thereby do away with USBs altogether. I have all my resources on my laptop but they are backed up online, on USBs, on a portable drive and on another laptop. I do not take chances. The first step was getting electronic copies of the text and work books. That is backed up by electronic resources and blogs to link to resources and activities. All my work is online and so it can now do the job of covering student absence or extension work. Now that it is all established I find it to be a very flexible system which I can grow but also a system which caters better to a variety of learning modes and needs. I was prepared to find the work arounds and that preparedness to change is the headset you need. I haven’t expected I would be the one to find all the solutions. I ask if I am stuck. If I cannot think of a way to do something in a paperless way I put it out as a challenge. Technology always forces us to be nimble thinkers and pool our ideas. That’s why I like it. If you want more tips and resources for a paperless classroom, you can go to Inside the classroom, outside the box!

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