Thursday, January 16, 2014

Paperless Classroom

This is an image of Albert Einsteins desk. As a fellow science geek, and science teacher, my desk wasn't too much different than that. However, through adopting a paperless classroom, my desk now looks like this.

    The changes I made were to really adopt the use of Google Drive, and other Web 2.0 tools. My school is not lucky enough to offer a 1:1 program, where each student is provided a piece of technology by the school to use throughout their student career in the district. However, my school does have a rather large computer lab that is often unused, and we have Google Apps For Education

     So, I decided to be that teacher and sign out the computer lab, just about every day. Most of the day-to-day work is completed with assignments posted in Edmodo, or Google + and completed using various tools. For example I have posted directions on Google + for students to read an article about the Birth of a new Island, then create a Prezi that describes the underlying forces at play in this area to cause the phenomena, making the lesson more dynamic and interactive than the traditional paper poster.  On the other hand, some science labs and place-based education labs still require appropriate field tools, data sheets, and field notebooks. However, for those students who have access to individual devices like iPhones, Androids, iPads, or iPods, are allowed and encouraged to use the appropriate apps to collect data. These apps could be tools used to capture digital photos, record audio, record video, or even apps to measure seismic activity.

    This change in the classroom, presents much more organized and timely work. Students are typing most of their work, which alleviates deciphering handwritten work. Using these tools requires that the students "share" their work with the teacher. This allows the teacher to be able to monitor progress, and eliminates the old excuse of  "The dog ate my homework." Similarly, Google Drive can be organized just like a class binder. With appropriate guidance students can make appropriate folders to store and create work. It is also easier for students to compile ePortfolios for their final exams. For me, it is an easy way to bring grading anywhere that has internet. I can grade work on my Android while in the waiting room of the doctor's office, or comfortably grade while watching TV without fumbling through piles of paper. 
     Book the computer lab and try making the shift to a paperless classroom. 

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