The Paperless Classroom

11 01 2008


Could we really ever have a paperless classroom?

And if so, what would it look like?

Something happened this week that made me realize that our school is just not there yet. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing our school. In the progression towards Web 2.0, we are still in the early stages. It was evidenced by the event that rocked our world this week.

For some crazy reason many of our IP addresses for our printers were lost when the automatic updates for Microsoft were performed. We were flooded by phone calls, work orders and stops in the halls. There was a sheer sense of panic.

Teachers were afraid they couldn’t have class because they didn’t have hard copy handouts. Others told me that I had to have it fixed immediately because they couldn’t grade papers without printing the work out. I was also told we needed more people in my department and that we didn’t provide good enough service. A rumor even circulated that we had caused the problem when we were installing a new VISTA lab!

To me, it seemed that people were a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of letting go. As a teacher in a computer classroom, I always had a backup plan for when there was a hardware failure. It surprised me that the teachers couldn’t imagine living in a paperless environment.

So, I am trying to imagine the paperless classroom. Students would look online for their grades. Yes! We do have an online portal. Every student would have a computer – we almost have that. We are a career tech school and in some locations, we don’t have one-on-one, but in most places, we do. Textbooks would be online. For example, students in Culinary Arts could have recipes on iPods. Hmmm, what about students in Auto Collision Repair or Cosmetology?

Maybe one day we will get there…

Photo by José Carlos Pires Pereira

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