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RE: Paperless No More - 3 Reasons I'm Using More Paper...

Article Summary

A blogger that I follow recently posted an article titled, Paperless No More:3 Reasons I'm Using Paper in my Classroom this year. In this article, the author outlines three major reasons why he uses paper instead of technology for certain tasks.

  1. Technology Distracts Freshman
  2. Technology Takes Too Much Time
  3. Paper Demonstrates more learning tools help us do more than paper ever could. They provide a permanence to our work and lets learning exist everywhere at once through sharing and collaboration. But it’s important to teach students how to demonstrate their learning in new ways and to manage these tools.

Most of my challenges here aren’t really technology issues, they’re management issues. 

Here is my response to the author's questions at the end of the article.

How can I improve classroom management with these students to improve their efficiency and accountability when working online? 

Restricted Web Access

I know of a few ways to do this. First, Having students that are easily distracted, such as the freshman mentioned in the article, should not have unfiltered access to the internet/apps. Some student management tools, such as GoGuardian, allow teachers to set what websites students can access at any given point in time. This certainly helps students stay on task rather than randomly surfing the web.

Classroom Management Expectations

Yes, this is a low-tech solution to a technology problem. Have your expectations for technology use visible, not only around the classroom, but on the device itself. You can have a sticker print-out of instructions stuck on the device. Monitoring student work and having a history of what students were doing to hold them accountable would also be a good idea.

Precise and Clear Directions

As with any lesson plan, directions should be specific and clear. The biggest distractions I saw in my classroom were students who were off task, or students who completed their work before others. This goes back to a saying about "idle hands." Make sure there is always a next step for when the assignment is complete and expectations for when to stay on task.

Work Outside of Class

Having students work and collaborate outside of class is one of ed tech's greatest strengths. Even better, the students do not have to meet at the same physical location or even at the same time. This can help relieve some of the class time loss mentioned in the article.

Of course, these are not the only solutions and I am unaware of the specific classroom environment. These are general guidelines based on what I have seen work in the past as well as research I have done on the subject.

How can I make more effective use of the powerful tools in my classroom? 

This is very difficult to answer as each classroom, learning environment, subject area, grade level, and group of students will have varying needs. I suggest some of the following that have helped me in the past.

  1. Take a look at what others are doing and reflect on how it would work in your classroom.
  2. Research general methods of using classroom technology
  3. Just like the author did in this article, compare methods used and which yielded the best results for students.

The main point through all of these is trial and error and using your best judgement as a teacher.

A colleague of mine reminded me that "nothing works straight out of the box." There will be time needed to setup and use technology in the classroom. This will take a lot of time. However, once technology is setup, you will be able to make more efficient use of time.

Overall I agree, while approaching solutions to these problems, one should keep in mind that....

It’s not about paper or about the technology alone--and never really should be--it’s about the learning and the students.


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