One of this year’s school initiatives was to try and use less paper (they said the real goal was paperless, but they are cautiously optimistic about change in one year). Almost my entire class is managed through Moodle/Wikis/Blogs anyway, so I figured I was already headed in the correct direction. For the entire first marking period, I have only sent away for copies three times – first day paperwork & worksheets for days with sub x2. Going paperless is not a new idea, but it is gaining a lot more popularity.
In the past couple days, I have enjoyed reading other blog posts related to trying to go paperless.
TeachPaperless has regular ideas for creative uses in the classroom. I am going to adapt the 5 Minute Twitter Verb Drill for my own classroom. I liked the idea of highlighting verbs using Diigo so that all students could see what was highlighted. Dividing up the sentences of a reading, the students would have to correctly identify and translate the verbs. The students do not have Twitter accounts right now. However, we do have ActivExpressions in the classroom. They can submit their answers and have them pop up on the screen as they are entered. I can save the screen image and post it to each class blog.
I was able to think of ways to incorporate 5 of the tools into my own classroom. I already use Google Docs for much of my classroom management. It has been very successful using a Google Doc spreadsheet for attendance. I am able to put notes/activities on a Google Doc so all the students can view but not edit – they can copy & paste into a new document. After they complete it, I can either have them share (digitally) with a partner to edit or share with me so I can check for understanding.
A tool I would recommend for my students is Soshiku. It is a digital assignment book. Especially in middle school, the students need to be able to keep track of what is due and important upcoming dates. It is organized online. Students have the option to text in assignments to add to their digital assignment book. Even better, the website will send a text message to the students reminding them of upcoming events. I think the cell phone/text message connection is crucial. Having everything organized with a cell phone is a realistic skill for the real world, most people do not carry around paper planners anymore.
I have tried LiveBinders. I like the fact I can easily add content to the binder than embed the entire thing in the class blog. It is easier to add websites. However, when I tried to upload a PDF file, somehow my work was lost. I am still going to give it a second chance because it has potential.
SignApp Now will facilitate easy sign up. When it is just students in the class, it is easier to use on Moodle. However, occasionally I want to send a sign up out to parents. When sign ups are outside the district, Moodle is not an option. Even better, because no sign up is necessary, it is a tool the students could use.
Qlubb also provides online sign up sheets. This would be better if the same group would access the information and sign up. I might use this for organizing Spanish Club volunteers. It would automatically email the parents to remind them of meetings, they could sign up to provide snack, etc. I also like the group photo sharing options.