Friday, February 27, 2009

The Paperless Classroom
Uploaded on October 21, 2008
by Jonathan D. Blundell

We're always trying to think of new ways to nudge teachers in our district a little farther down the road towards making the use of digital tools common practice in their classrooms. It's a task I often find myself comparing to the building of the Alaska highway. The road takes numerous twists and turns, as the builders faced many challenges along the way. I've driven the stretch of road between Dawson Creek and Whitehorse in mid-December. We suffered a broken axel just north of 150 Mile but were rescued by the kindness of strangers. The temperature fell as we travelled and by the time we reached Whitehorse in the wee hours of the morning it was -58F. It was an arduous journey but the rewards at the end made it more than worthwhile.

The journey towards changing how we deliver education seems sometimes to be a no less daunting task. Our first efforts centered around Learning At Night or LAN parties. We selected presentations from the k12 Online Conference to show to teachers and then asked the presenters to Skype in and chat with us. It's been an amazing success with up to 80 teachers attending at a time and I will be writing a longer post after our last party in May.

Yet, I wonder. How many of these teachers have gone back to their classrooms and tried something new? I see a need to challenge them further so this morning I asked a fellow teacher to brainstorm with me using Google Docs to see if we can create a Paperless Classroom Challenge. We talked about having prizes for the school with the most innovative idea for using less paper. We'd also like to reward the school that does the least amount of photocopying over the period of the one week challenge.

I googled 'paperless classroom' and found blogs that talk about other classrooms where this experiment is going on. I found articles to support the idea:
The Paperless Classroom
The Paperless School of the Future is Here Now

We'll provide some guidelines to get them started and try to get administrators on board to promote our challenge. Has anyone out there tried a similar challenge? Do you have any suggestions to help us carry this off?
Your feedback would be much appreciated.

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