The Paperless Classroom is on its Way!
Students today who are hooked on instant gratification, expect instant communication and the ability to respond at a moment’s notice. As young people today already own several digital communication devices, paperless education should not be much of an adjustment. The paperless classroom is certainly an environmentally popular option today. The irritating grind of pencil sharpening will soon be a thing of the past.
Greater access to internet resources allows creative teachers to cut down on paper use. Computers allow teachers to post grades and attendance online, and make use of material that is readily available and free of charge. Going paperless also saves the teacher valuable time not wasted standing by the photocopier. School districts can potentially save enormous sums on the greatly decreased need for the purchase of books.
Apparently, South Korean schools, according to the government, will be the first to have their entire school system paperless by 2015. That nation is investing $2b on the creation of cloud- accessible digital textbooks. In the United States, the Government is investing in so-called Open Access ebooks for post-secondary education.
Grandview High School in Jefferson County, Missouri has gone nearly paperless. The students do most of their work on Coby tablets which the school handed out in the fall. These devices can tap into coursework and related resources via the latest educational technology now available. At the school, results have been significant and very positive, with over $20,000 saved on paper. Students who are ill can still keep up from home. Shorter school weeks are also an important outcome of going paperless.
The second stage in the transition to paperless education focuses on Web 2.0 programs. Apps like Moodle, Wikis, and Google Docs, provide the needed platform for the transmission of documents to be shared and edited. These programs have been of great importance in integrating technology into the classroom. For instance, homework for a social science class may require the student to read a passage and then proceed to answer some questions on a Wiki or class blog. The teachers seem to have successfully integrated the new system into their teaching performance, and overwhelmingly felt that they “could never go back to the old way of teaching”.
More and more teachers already have websites, blogs, and apps for communicating with parents quickly and effectively. Teachers make use of tools like Dropbox, Blackboard, and Google Drive for their students to submit work. Parents, teachers and students are ‘getting the hang of it’, and it won’t be long before the new trend becomes the established norm.