Starting with Paperless Classroom
If I ask every teacher what would make their work better, their answer would probably be – more efficient and organized classroom. More time for students and less time doing paperwork. Paperless classroom is an concept which, if implemented thoughtfully and carefully, can make your teaching wishes come true.
However, when starting to think about going paperless, you’ll have to consider some facts. As in every concept, you have to take into account both benefits and challenges. At the beginning, set your expectations low, and see how the paperless concept works for you. Test it. Adapt it to your needs. When you’re ready, set the goals and keep track of them.
Benefits of Paperless Classroom
The two most obvious benefits of paperless classroom are smaller cost and less time spent for printing out. Printing out endless number of assignments, homework, syllabi and exams, can be cumbersome and exhausting work. Not to mention, the costs of paper, ink and maintenance can add up to enormous sums. Average American school pays $25,000 annually just for the costs of paper! This alone is a reason enough to start considering implementation of a digital classroom concept.
Beyond these obvious benefits, there are other perks of implementing paperless classroom system into your school. Paperless implementation can result in a more sustainable and efficient workflow. No more “dog ate my homework” or misplaced exams. Another big value of having a cloud based system is access to data. Teacher can access student data and see whether he’s turned in his homework right from his couch. Deeper analysis of student data can show how student progress over time.
Not doing things old way, can create a lot of extra time for student collaboration end engagement. Doing things digitally can save time and make more engagement friendly environment. Concepts like flipped classroom and blended learning are some of the examples of fostering collaboration with the use of paperless technology.
When kids got all the learning materials available in a cloud base or LMS system they can access it whenever they want. Discussions started in classroom can continue at students’ homes. Moreover, Students can share their homework or a group assignments with friends and collaboratively solve problems. As a teacher you can access their assignments in real time end even help them with their struggles from your home.
Students can engage with the lessons in the way they find more comfortable. Gamification is the perfect example. Students can feel more like they’re having fun, than actually learning, and thus likely to involve more. Furthermore, digital audio-visual formats like videos and screencasts are by a definition more engaging way of consuming information then one-dimensional textual forms.
Challenges of Paperless Classroom
No system is perfect. There are several challenges to think about when transitioning to paperless. The obvious one is access to internet and devices. Both of them cost money. In addition, there are tools that you’ll use to transform your class to digital. Whether it is a comprehensive system or a simple app you’ll have to think about money that you’ll need to invest in it. Lastly, think about the hidden costs. Many of products have freemium pricing models. If you don’t pay attention to small print, you may unknowingly end up being charged for an increase of a service.
Another challenge is a question of training. As much as systems are becoming more easy to use, there is a certain time period that’ll need to pass before accommodating with it. We recommend you to take a trial period or demo version before actually buying a product. That way, you can avoid buying a product that you don’t feel comfortable with. Bad customer support can also be a deal breaker. Call out or send a ticket to test customer support promptness and how they’re dealing with problems.
Lastly, there’s a mind shifting challenge. Abandoning habits created for years is hard. Many older generation teachers, that didn’t grow up in the internet age, can have an aversion towards digital tools. Moreover, they can think there’s nothing wrong with printed exams and handwrite red-pen homework corrections. As a result, they can feel confused and reluctant. However, younger colleagues can help them out discover pain points when using technology and explain them that tools are not here to replace them, but to help them use their time more efficiently.
Practical Steps to Go Paperless
♦ Build up your digital learning materials repository. LMS systems or cloud platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox are probably the best solution to collect and store all your materials. Recently, AWW has introduced embed option for Canvas, Edmodo and Moodle.
♦Create digital lessons/assignments. There are so many tools on the market that enable you screencast your lessons, make video tutorials and record your audio explanations or student’s thoughts. With AWW you can create and save unlimited number of lessons. Use text, drawings, images and files to create intuitive and fun learning materials.
♦ Distribute lessons digitally. It is important that you can easily distribute your lessons and assignments. AWW app has made a great tool that will help you share your saved lessons with a click of a button to entire class.
♦ Collect completed assignments the same way you distributed it. Students can easily turn in their AWW assignments by sharing them to Google Classroom.
♦ Monitor progress of your students. When we’re talking about monitoring progress over time, yet again, LMS systems come in handy .
♦ Connect with parents. Share grades, lessons and assignments with parents and keep them in the loop.