If you’ve ever asked or thought about these particular questions, the solution is simple. Start creating a paperless classroom environment. Even if your classroom isn’t a full blown 1:1 you still can limit your paper usage in a variety of ways.
1. Embrace the Cloud
Embrace cloud computing with Google Drive and/or Google Classroom: most districts support Google Apps for Education, not only because its free and great to manage but it supports collaboration and creation for our 21st Century Learners.
2. Start using an LMS
(Learning Management System) such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Edmodo, Moodle. Most likely your building or district have or in the process of picking one out. Using a web-based central location to communicate, collaborate, assign, assess, and create allows for great opportunities for teachers and students to efficiently learn especially in a real-wold context.
3. Rethink old ways
Think of all the times you
- Visited the copy machine
- Instead start converting files electronically (docs, pdfs, or images)
- Realize some students were not engaged in the lesson
- Focus on a medium that will satisfy the learning target but grabs student interests
- Reflected on if the handouts you provided the students really helped all students
- Advocate for more access to devices and if so get rid of handouts and start posting electronically within any of these options (LMS, Google Drive, Class Blog/Website, Social Media)
- Were curious if students who have special needs could be better accommodated
- Google Chrome has a tremendous amount of extensions that help accommodate students. Here are my top 5.
4. Plan and Collaborate is a must!
Regardless if this is grade level, content area, or departmental it is crucial to learn, communicate, and collaborate together. As a collective professional learning team try to use only online tools when it comes to planning curriculum, documenting meeting minutes/resources/pd, or creating/collecting any other resources… in other words practice what you preach. This may be a huge paradigm shift for some but I promise with big change, there is very creative and efficient rewards.
5. Don’t lose motivation and momentum
I know the beginning of the school year is an exciting time, full of promise, and you are ready to take on anything. I completely understand over the course of the year, things change, can get better/worse, and life happens. My word of advise is don’t stop the momentum of all the great things you started at the beginning of the year. If you are engaging the students and effectively working with students using web-based tools… don’t stop.
If these questions arise
If there is something wrong with the technology?
If your students loose the allure of your tools?
If you want to know more about the tools?
If you are bored with the tools you have?
If you were excited for the idea of using new methods?
Easy answer(s) is to contact your building/district coach, talk to your PLN, connect with a G+ Community, lurk or join Twitter Chat, attend a conference or edcamp.