Friday, July 23, 2010

Simple Changes...Paper or Digital?
Which do you use more - paper or digital tools?  Seth Godin has an interesting point on his blog today about paper and the publishing industry.  Our ability to access and use digital tools for publishing is changing and improving every day.  Just take a look at this Flipboard app for the new Apple iPad.  You can build your own magazine of the resources you want to have access to.  I can imagine a really clever teacher using that app to create a class magazine of resources that students go to and discuss with each other.

We use a LOT of paper in schools. Why?  We send notes home to parents about field trips, open houses, school rules...and each and every one of these can be presented just as easily through digital means.  How? Blogs are super easy to create - with one web address you can give parents access to all the information they need about what's going on in the classroom and you also have a tool to build writing skills and digital citizenship with your students.  Just one simple change such as this could mean saving reams of paper every year.  Kidblog is a really great tool to use - easy to set up, has teacher controls that help you to monitor what's being published and their support is excellent.

Worksheets? Forget it...too much paper!  Investigate Daily Five, CAFE, and individual websites as tools for students to practice skills instead. None of these require paper - they just require the time to set up daily routines with students.  Take advantage of the expertise of other teachers in your building - they've probably got a wealth of bookmarked educational websites that they'd love to share with you.  Better yet...start taking that wealth of information and publish it digitally so everyone has access to it anytime they need it.

It doesn't take much to save a lot of paper and increase communication not only between home and school but within your building staff as well.

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