Tips and Resources for a Paperless Classroom

The school environment is one that consumes a lot of paper. However, preserving the environment and recycling are part of the values of many schools. Here are some ideas for reducing or even eliminating paper in your classroom using technology.

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The paperless classroom is easier to envision if it replaces the paperless classroom with laptops or tablets for each student. The more economical alternative is to accept that the pupils bring their own devices in the classroom (“BYOD”), which reduces the total number of devices the school has to purchase to meet the needs of those who do not have them. On the other hand, this adds technical complexity and requires a good dose of "technomotivation" for the teacher!

Whether your students have computer devices or not, here are some tips that might help you reduce the amount of paper that goes around. Also, if you are more of a tech beginner, these avenues could be good starting points in your approach exploration and appropriation. Finally, they have the advantage of being work techniques that can be carried out on a computer as well as on a tablet.


1. Request that homework be submitted electronically.

Use the school or school board portal, or a platform such as Edmodo or Didacti. Create an assignment or exercises using word processing software and share it with the students: they will only have to answer the questions directly in the file, save it and send it to you. For correction, you can use the track changes option. If you receive jobs in PDF format, the free PDF Xchange Viewer (Windows only) allows you to annotate them. For iPad, there is in particular neu.Annotate.


2. Use a “whiteboard” app to jot down or solve problems.

The “whiteboard” application has (almost) nothing to do with BITs. It's a blank page on the computer or tablet and you write freehand on it like a piece of paper. The small “Paint” software supplied with Windows, accompanied by a graphics tablet, can do the trick perfectly! If you have a TBI, just use the software. The "drawing" tool on Google drive is also a great choice because it also allows instant sharing and collaboration.


3. Take the time to explore the possibilities of Google Drive (it's worth it!).

Free and versatile, the tools of Google drive allow you to create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, surveys and drawings directly online. All of this is saved in your secure online space and you can share the documents you want with whoever you want, and even invite people (colleagues, students, etc.) to collaborate.


To go further on this subject, check out these few articles:
At CEGEP: The digital class in Human Sciences… towards a paperless class?
Evaluate reading at the end of Cycle 1 of elementary school without paper or pencil
Tips and Resources for a Paperless Classroom


Do you know any other interesting references, other tips, are you experimenting with paper reduction in the classroom yourself? Leave us your comments!

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About the Author

Audrey Miller
General manager of École branchée, Audrey holds a graduate degree in educational technologies and a bachelor's degree in public communication. Member of the Order of Excellence in Education of Quebec, she is particularly interested in the professional development of teachers, information in the digital age and media education, while actively creating bridges between the actors of the educational ecosystem since 1999. She is involved these days in particular in Edteq Association and as a member of the ACELF Communications Committee. When she has free time, she is passionate about her children, his rabbits, horses, good wine and... Web programming!

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