April 28

Go Paperless!

More and more during this school year I have seen many wonderful teachers moving toward a paperless classroom.  Please notice that I entered paperless, not paper-free!

Going paperless has so many advantages.  If nothing else, think of the millions of pieces of paper that are not used.  Other advantages include producing materials that can be shared widely and more easily, updates which can take place in real-time, and tapping into a medium which is a natural extension of students.

Below is a list of suggestions to get started toward being paperless.

  1. Communication with students and parents can take place in real-time even outside the classroom.  Google Classroom and Google Keep offer many options for communicating beyond the delivery of materials and links for lessons.  Make announcements, post and hold whole-class discussions, communicate with small groups as you are differentiating instruction, or provide feedback privately to individual students.  Feedback could be a simple message entered online or could include oral feedback using an online tool like Vocaroo or the Google Extension, Simple Audio Recorder or it might even include a short video using the Google Extension, Screencastify.  Twitter (with district certification) provides teachers with a quick and easy way to post announcements and updates.  Moving  beyond email, a teacher can make announcements for both parents and students communicating via text messages Remind (with a texting agreement).
  2. Collaboration is easy, effective, and readily accessible anywhere and anytime using G Suite tools.  Students can create, share, and edit in real-time online.  Everyone can literally be on the same page at the same time!
  3. Creation is limited only by time and imagination using digital tools.  Students can create something simple like a presentation to showcase their knowledge or can design and create a tangible project using a 3D printer.
  4. Quick Formative Assessment provides instant data.  Nearpod not only allows for engaging teacher-led lesson activities, but also provides a student-paced alternative.  Within a Nearpod lesson, quick, informative, and effective assessment can be embedded.  Socrative will also allow for a quick polling option as well as a pre-planned, mapped out, or even game-based online quiz.  Google Forms provides unlimited options for quizzes including differentiation via branching, adding images, and uploading a file as a response.
  5. Deeper Summative Assessments can go far beyond a multiple guess test.  If that format is most effective, such could be created using Socrative and Forms but digging deeper is often more informative and provides more comprehensive learning.  Demonstrating their understanding or skill mastery can be captured in presentation or infographic creations using Google Slides, Drawings, Documents (with text, images, and drawings), or Piktochart.  Students could also create videos or screencasts providing not only a demonstration of their understanding but also provide a model for future classes.
  6. Research and curation becomes immediate, up-to-date, and easily accessible using digital tools.  Collaborate, curate, and share resources online using tools like Google Keep, Symbaloo, and Diigo.  Notes and resources can be highlighted, annotated with digital sticky notes, and categorized using these tools with color and tagging options.
  7. Access and use quality content.  The free resources for online content are almost limitless!  Content for social studies classes might be accessed from any of the resources curated in the Symbaloo linked below, for example.
  8. Writing improves with practice.  To be a better writer, read more and write more!  Using Google Documents and Edublogs allows students to share their work and provides an authentic audience.  Not only do students take their work more seriously when shared in these forums, but the platforms also provide a way for developing quality feedback and improved communication skills.

Integrating technology in new and innovative ways can be overwhelming.  Don’t let it be!  Choose just one way to help move your classroom toward being paperless.  Then, continue to be a lifelong learner and step forward to try something else new and different.  Baby steps can take us (and students) a long way on our journey!

Posted April 28, 2017 by Beverly Ozburn in category Uncategorized

About the Author

I'm Beverly Noland Ozburn and my experience as a professional educator began in 1994 right here in Williamson County when I became a paraprofessional at Page High School. I worked there until 2003 when I graduated with my M.Ed. in Reading and went to Bedford County where I worked as a classroom reading teacher. Most recently, I was a middle school language arts/reading/writing teacher in Rutherford County. I have served as a Co-Director for the local National Writing Project site and as an adjunct professor at Columbia State Community College. Recently, I have served as a consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education's Electronic Learning Center and for Scholastic, Inc. My education includes a B.S. in Agriculture from The University of Tennessee. I earned a certification to teach secondary English and a M.Ed. from Middle Tennessee State University. My introduction to the world of education began when I was five-years-old and my sister was born. I was in first grade and became her teacher as soon as she learned to focus her attention on me for even a brief moment. Oh, the things she learned! I'm sure my mother was thrilled at times. Later, I was the first teacher to guide my two children. If I knew then what I know now... Today I have the joy of learning from our four granddaughters and grandson. I know that there are also times when I teach them unintentionally because my daughter has chastised me for things they repeated after visiting with my husband and me! As a lifelong learner, I am always absorbing, borrowing, and stealing from the folks around me. As a teacher, I'm glad to share those ideas and that knowledge with others. Each day I look forward to working with teachers integrating technology into their instruction and can be contacted at: beverlyo@wcs.edu

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