How many times have you noticed students take your pristine handouts and carelessly stuff them into their backpacks? All that hard work and beautiful clean paper suddenly vanishes into a dark wasteland, never to receive so much as a quick scan. Students either often lose the paper or render it illegible from smearing because of one too many times getting caught in the rain or from spilling their energy drink on it.
Besides the hard work you put into creating well-planned printouts, you probably want to find ways to go green; teaching your students to do the same, and it becomes more challenging to launch this lesson as you continue to provide printouts to everyone, for each project.
Regardless of your— and your school districts — reasoning for reducing paper consumption in the classroom, you can use technology to help you do it. Try some of the following ways to reduce the use of paper in your classroom to put less burden on the environment and its resources, as well as creating ways to save some of your valuable time and energy.
- Use an Open Source Platform to Share Documents to Go Green. Programs such as Google Docs, an AV/Tech product, or a cloud computing environment offer the perfect way to reduce paper usage and go green with your classroom. With this type of platform or learning environment, you will provide a secure workspace where you can share relevant classroom documents that students can easily access via their smartphones, tablets, laptops or home desktop computers. The collateral benefits of using this method, in addition to saving vast numbers of paper reams, includes creating a collaborative learning environment where students can share their work and submit their homework in the same place they pick up the assignments. Additionally, you can make sure there are individual accounts so you can offer discrete — and discreet — feedback to each student.
- Create a Blog for You and Your Students. Blogs are everywhere these days, so use them to your advantage. Refer your students to blog posts that include links to specific readings, which you place on a word or spreadsheet document, or you might choose to save everything to a PDF document that makes it universally easier for students to open. Remember to include a section where students can comment and ask questions about the readings. You can use your blog as a tool to encourage improving writing and communication skills by offering guest blogging opportunities. Promote guest blogging spots as a privilege instead of as an assignment so students feel more a sense of excitement than fear or dread.
As an industry leader in using technology to enhance the learning experience, while encouraging collaboration and active student involvement, we believe that one of our more than 110,000 School Specialty products can help you easily transition to a paperless classroom.