What does a “paperless classroom” look like? It is one in which work is assigned, completed, and submitted digitally. Not everything is done digitally though. Students still read books and interact with one another face-to-face.
My first semester going paperless with my 9th graders is almost over, and I can say with 100% certainty that I am never going back. Why? Well, my #1 goal is to help my students be successful, and they are! I normally have 15-20 students fail per marking period, and in the first marking period this year, only 3 failed! That, to me, is success!
Below are just some of the numerous benefits of going paperless:
- Accessibility – Content resources and assignments are available anytime, anywhere, from any device. Students who are absent will not miss as much, for materials are available online. If I want to create a digital discussion (like on TodaysMeet), students can even join from home!
- Economical and Environmentally Friendly – Since resources and assignments are online, students will no longer need to bring paper, binders, folders, pens, highlighters, markers, or even flash drives. In my English class, they only need to bring their current IR book. We have saved thousands of pieces of paper this way, and mostly importantly, my students are better off for it.
- Dependable – No longer will assignments “mistakenly” get lost or left at home. Notes and assignments will never get “accidentally deleted,” for they are saved in Google Drive. Talk about time saving! Students don’t have to restart an assignment they lost midway through it, or turn in something they thought they already did.
- Removal of Unnecessary Obstacles – Students will no longer be penalized for being disorganized or having poor handwriting. This means that student grades will reflect a more accurate picture of what a student’s ability is. I LOVE being able to state to students, parents, and administrators that I can see what a student’s true ability is. It’s more helpful to all!
- Efficient – Assignment revisions, editing, and adjustments are only a click away. A student no longer has to rewrite a paper, or type a final copy after handwriting a draft. All lessons and corresponding assignments will be organized in Google Drive. Revisions may not take as long, and I can see through the “revision history” how much a student really changed.
- Data-Driven – Since all assignments are saved in Google Drive, “data” is accessible by the student and me, the teacher. I love being able to track the progress of students’ individual skills, assessments, and ability to meet the standards.
- Co-Taught Classes Are Made Easier – My co-teacher can easily access information to collect for progress monitoring. If modifications are needed for certain students, differentiation can be discrete. If re-teaching is needed, we can do so. My co-teacher and I also love sharing documents and working on them simultaneously from our own homes.
- Transparent and Documented – Everyone—the teacher, students, and parents—is in the loop! Parents can access student grades online (via PowerSchool Parent Portal), as well as the assignments themselves (via the student’s Google Classroom login). Everything needed to complete an assignment is there (documents, videos, teacher comments, annotating tools, and so much more)!
- It’s a Digital World – Students today live in a digital world. Graduates will come back to visit me, and they all share that they don’t turn in any work on paper. There are jobs that will employ today’s elementary students don’t even exist yet. True career preparation readies students to navigate ever-changing and developing technology. My students will be “college and career” ready!
- Limitless – The possibilities of online learning are limitless for teachers and students! I’m starting my research unit in February, and I am truly looking forward to it. The research process will be quicker, for students will be able to dig deeper and investigate instantly. They will be able to annotate directly on the source, and save them for future reference. I look forward to sharing how it goes!
I know that many teachers are hesitant to go paperless, but there really are no disadvantages. The few “kinks” that I experienced were easily fixed. If you want to go paperless, start by speaking to the technology integrator at your school. Mine was SO amazing and willing to help! My students have Chromebooks almost every day, but if another teacher needs the Chromebook cart, I willingly give it up and move to the computer lab or library. Click here to see what some of my students think about going paperless. If you have any questions about going paperless, feel free to contact me!