One of the newest movements in education is digitizing classrooms. EdTech reported over a year ago that over 50% of schools would consider themselves 1:1 students to devices, and I am sure that number has only grown since.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a big fan when this shift happened. (I originally typed “trend” but have realized that this isn’t just a trend in education – it isn’t a fad that will come and go. This is truly where education has shifted and is heading in the 21st century.) I just couldn’t see how this was feasible at first. I never taught in a school where every kid had access to their own device. I have never been in a school where the Wifi was completely reliable – enough that you could depend on it to support an entire school of people on devices. All of the tech. issues that would inevitably arise seemed overwhelming to me. Most of all, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the classroom management issues that this would create. How are you supposed to keep kids focused? What are you supposed to do when a kid gets grounded and their parents take their device? There seemed to be too many barriers in the way for this to actually work.
So I didn’t make any digital resources. Not a single one. I continued to only make (and sell) paper products to use in my classroom. But the buzz around paperless classrooms didn’t go away. Much to my dismay, it only increased. I felt the pressure from other teachers looking for support in my resources who couldn’t afford the amount of copies my non-interactive notebook packet strategy required. I also felt some push from my own administration, who continually brought up in staff meetings that this was the direction our school was heading in the next couple of years. I couldn’t ignore that paperless digital classrooms were no longer the future of education, but the present.
I’m not going to lie, this was hard for me to swallow at first. I really believe there is so much good that comes in writing things by hand. I also really believe our students spend WAY too much time in front of the screen as it is. So I figured I would simply make digital resources to have as an option for use, but still keeping using my paper ones until I was ready. Once I figured out how to digitize my existing packets and make them usable in a 1:1 classroom, while still keeping my teaching style and all of my favorite resources, I was actually EXCITED about making and eventually using these digital resources. I won’t have to give up anything but the copy machine, and I was hooked!
- You can go completely PAPERLESS if you want – no more dreaded mornings at the copy machine!
- You still get all of the organization of my packet strategy, just now in a digital format.
- Students will be able to access their packets ANYWHERE. No more, “I forgot my binder so I couldn’t do (fill in the blank)!”
- You can still print everything like you used to. Students can print their filled in packets or blank ones!
- Because of #4, you can even have a mixed classroom with some students paperless and others not. You can even start with just doing a few units digitally and others on paper. Whatever works best for you and your students!
- Increased flexibility for students to easily learn and be connected outside of the walls of your classroom.
- An opportunity to help students grow in their digital literacy.