Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Going Paperless

I am so lucky to be teaching in a district and a school that really puts an emphasis on innovation and the use of technology. I would name names of some of the great resources and helps I have to be able to officially even make this post, however I wouldn’t want to single them out while leaving out others. Suffice it to say, this up coming school year, I will be able to have the resource of a full iPad lab in my classroom. This is such an unbelievably great resource but mostly it will allow me to go completely paperless, something I have dreamed of for years. But before I get into how I am planning on using this even more this year, which believe me, it was integral part of my class last year; I’d like to pay a particular homage to something that I will not be missing: Paper.
Most specifically I would like to take a second and detail what it is about paper that I will not be missing, especially as a teacher.
1. The Paper War
Every year as a teacher I get stacks and stacks and stacks of assignments and papers. Many of them are from other teachers and administrators.
These are unavoidable. Now on the other hand, most of it is from assignments I created. This is not. I am not the most organized individual, and though many of the teachers I meet have file cabinets and folders and stickers and tabs and all number of ways to manage the paper war, I feel unprepared and even less organized in that world.
However, if you give me a hard drive or an iPad with a linked dropbox, my world becomes organized and categorized. Paper War, I’d like to introduce myself. I am the new General in this battle. Prepare to be PWNED.
2. Milk Crates
I will not miss these guys at all. Carrying one or two of these down the hall, down the stairs and into my car only to have to make a return trip the next day was a pain in my butt. The amount of effort to jam as many notebooks or binders into these guys was just too much on some days. Carrying over 50 pounds of paper and projects to and from my car was a chore. Granted, I think my body is missing the upper body workout in carrying these guys, the stress of moving them around will not be missed.  I’m mean seriously have you ever carried one? Whoever invented it must be someone somewhat connected with Chinese Torture Procedures. There is not one spot on them that is enjoyable or even the least bit comfortable to hold on to. Good riddance.
All of my student work will be on their Evernote notebook that can be shared with me, and acts as an e-portfolio, or through livebinders. I look forward to walking home each day as Harry Wong describes. Which was always a pipe dream in the conventional way.
3. Angry Principals
Yes, while I understand that these are somewhat unavoidable and that there are other things that I will do or not do that may create this again, each and every year I have taught, my different principals have all reached April-May-ish and become the Paper Nazi.  Last year reached a peak where our principal refused to pay for any more copies that are being made. I had shifted to a paperless class in attempt to try it out, and what I really enjoyed was the peace of mind to know that I was not the one provoking his ire.

4. Necessary Paper Accessories
Don’t these objects spark a sense of fear in your heart? It never fails. Ever year I have one student staple their finger, be it on purpose or by accident. Even worse is when you find that one student who sat at his desk and shot staples into the carpet. This deadly tools to both fingers and learning environments will not be necessary in my classroom.
5. Pencil Sharpeners
Talk about the tail wagging the dog! I had to make specific procedures in my class to avoid the worst sound in the world. The grinding of a pencil sharpener. We had to practice when to use it, when not to use it. We had to have signs saying when it was to be used. I was haunted by nightmares of the sound of this object overpowering every word I said. Now if you personally are going to miss the sounds this thing make, I can direct you to some wonderful sound clips that you can use at night to put you to sleep. I for one, look forward to new types of nightmares…er…dreams.
6. Lines at the Copy Machine

Now, I don’t know if it’s just my school, but to use our copy machine, I feel like I am going on the greatest ride ever at Disneyland. I feel as though they should have a fast pass to get to do some copies. Now we are all cordial and we tell each other that we will be quick, but how much quicker can we get a copy machine to work. That is the equivalent of jumping as high as you can and then trying to hurry back down. It’s impossible.
I walked by the copy machine yesterday and laughed as I realized I would not have to join that line. Evah. As in Nevah Evah.

Am I the only one. Is anyone else going paperless and if you are, what won’t you miss? If you aren’t, what is stopping you?

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