Wednesday, June 3, 2009

paperless classroom

as we wind down this school year, amid the testing and the retesting, our thoughts turn to next year. one of my coworkers, an awesome teacher, has begun to think about the idea of a paperless classroom. now before you get started, he isn't getting rid of the books. he teaches english and he wants the kids to hold books in their hands. he wants them to read. he just doesn't want to waste paper on handouts, quizzes, tests, worksheets, etc... so he asked me to try and brainstorm some ideas for him and for me to pass along any ideas that i might hear. i told him that i think it is a great idea and we have begun to discuss the ways he could pull this off.
he teaches in one of our computer labs so there are all sorts of web tools he could use to make his classroom mostly paperless. we have talked about wikis, skype, twitter, sasinschools, polleverywhere, and lots of other sites that we already use. our school webpages have the ability to post quizzes but i think he is going to need some more functionality in this area. what kinds of online quizzes and tests do other teachers use? inquiring minds want to know.
of course as luck would have it, while we have been having these discussion, our school network has become infected with a nasty little virus that we can't seem to get rid of. our IT guys have been having to shut the system down as they look for the culprit and try to eradicate it. this has exposed some of the problems with our plan. you really need to have a network that doesn't go down to have a paperless classroom. at least as we see it.
so my fearless readers- what do you think? can he make it happen? can we teach some students and save some trees in the process? we are waiting to hear your suggestions...