“In the times of rapid change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer

Monday, December 17, 2012

Paperless Classroom?

Most of you know by now that it is a goal of mine to reduce the amount we print and in turn decrease the amount of paper we use. Along with the obvious environmental impact that printing has, it also accounts for a significant amount of money that could be used toward getting a device in every student’s hand. Consider this, it costs the district an average of 2.5 cents for every page that is copied or printed. As a district we average around 2 million printed sheets per month costing roughly $50,000 or the equivalent of 200 Chromebooks. I understand it is a lot to ask for a completely paperless school but maybe we could start by thinking before we print.

Do I really need to print this?
It is estimated that around 50% of everything printed is never used or used for less than 5 minutes.

Know your demographics.
Poll your students to find out who does not have internet access, print copies only for them. Let the other students access the information electronically.

Start small.
Convert one lesson that can be done completely paperless. Maybe instead of a tri-fold brochure, students could create an informational website.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Technology Plan 1999

While cleaning out my desk I came across a Community High School District 155 Technology plan from the year 1999. Within the plan hidden among budget information, vision statements, and executive summaries, I found a fictional piece titled “A Day in the Life of a Student Five Years in the Future.” Read the story here. The story explains how a student in 2004 would have a laptop to use at school and would actively collaborate with other students in and outside of class. They would no longer have the need for lockers since all textbooks would be digital and assignments would be distributed and turned in electronically. Although some of the terminology used dates the vision, the overall concepts are the same as the initiatives we are still trying to put into place today.

Each week I plan on posting different ideas to this blog about how we can work toward integrating new technologies into the classroom to help streamline the delivery of content and engage students. By implementing new ideas and using technology to enhance, not replace, proven teaching strategies we can ensure our students have the 21st Century skills needed to be successful adults and responsible digital citizens.

For additional reading, see why Education Week’s Rick Hess compares technology to hamburger helper.