Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Go paperless for Earth Day!

Been meaning to do this for a while, but finally did it today. If you don't follow this blog, you should. Shelly is an active advocate for teaching with technology and has some wonderful ideas. This year, he's encouraging teachers to go paperless for Earth Day. You can sign up to take the pledge here.

For the record, I'm an English teacher by certification and by assignment. I teach a LOT of literature to students. I also help them develop language skills in both expression and decoding. Paper, in the past, was a HUGE part of my job.

Notice I say, in the past. Since I've discovered wikis, life has become so much less cluttered. It wasn't uncommon at all to see piles of papers to be corrected on my desk that reached six, seven, eight inches high. And when research papers came in? You couldn't see me for the mound of work on my desk.

But then I started having kids email me their papers. I told them, the emailed papers get graded first and for my motivated kids, that was a great carrot. The paper load on my desk diminished greatly, the turn-around time was quicker (I found it faster to read and comment using Microsoft Word than paper and red pen), and we all felt better about the work. The kids didn't mind doing a rewrite when it was only a matter of editing using the word processor and I didn't mind reading again when we could track changes and I could easily see what had been changed.

I went to the wiki next, having the kids post their work with me editing via the wiki. Unfortunately, the wiki tools are not really conducive to that, so I'm thinking next year I might go back to emailing. Or maybe using Google Docs. Only the final draft would get posted on the wiki. I also want more conversations about the work to flow from student to student rather than just teacher to student. The wiki will help that.

So...go paperless for Earth Day!

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