Sunday, November 7, 2010

Paperless Classroom: Practical? Possible?

Is it possible or practical to have completely paperless classroom?  Is there enough technology in our individual schools and in the mainstream household (and pockets) to run an entirely green classroom?

Books online, or on CD drives or even through podcasting.  Teacher's notes online via Power Point, or even through a podcast.  Essays written and submitted through services such as Google Apps or even simply emailed after being written on any word processor.  Tests and quizzes and any other group or individual assessment can be done through technology.  Research projects have always been technology friendly; we see middle school kids using Smartboards, Power Point or similar applications, iMovie, podcasts, etc. and have for several years now.

If we did this, would we lose something?  Would handwriting and muscle development, fine motor skills, weaken?  If we did this are we catering or are we equipping?  Have reading and handwriting on paper become tedious, labor intensive, and boring to students?  Do we actually accomplish more at a greater rate when we allow students to use the technology to prepare a document, demonstrate learning, or explore?  Are we handcuffing them when we do not?

I think it would be an interesting experiment -a perfectly paperless classroom- take our every book, notebook, poster, etc.  Every trace of paper -gone.  Has anyone tried anything like this yet?  What would need to be sorted out ahead of time?  Where will our problems reside?  My gut tells me that we have enough in place in some schools to do it in at least one classroom.

It is green, but it is beyond green.  Maybe I'll take a whack at it for a month in the Spring.

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