Monday, January 24, 2011

A Whack to the Side of the Head

I have been trying to figure out how to turn paper-intensive projects into paperless ones for a while now.  Most recently, I have been tweaking my seventh grade medieval project.  There are so many web-based resources I want students to examine.  Yet seventh graders need the quick turn around of papers turned in and handed back....or so I thought.  We recently began the 2011 Medieval Project.  I told kids I would be happy to work with them electronically or in paper.  It was their choice.  Right now, I have 6 kids who bring iPads to class and roughly 5 more who regularly bring laptops.  We are nearing 20% of kids who bring their own tools to school.  A small number of students missed a video on Vikings shown on Friday.  One student in her email asked if she could simply watch the video online.  "That's it," I thought and sat down to see if I could devise an electronic alternative for kids who miss class videos.  It took about 2 hours to find the appropriate videos on YouTube, create the note taking organizer, post everything to my YouTube playlist, and email the kids that they could complete the assignment on their terms at home.

Today in class, kids set their own homework assignments for the next two weeks.  Within thirty minutes of the end of school, I began receiving electronic versions of assignments.  Kids clearly have the skill to go paperless.  The assignments have been coming in all night.  Tomorrow's class will review a couple of skills I haven't ever taught seventh graders.  They need to know how to accept changes in a word-processing document, create a pdf file, include attachments, etc.  This is going to be a very exciting project!  Yes, we will also talk about filing more lost papers!

Nothing like a group of energetic seventh graders to get me off my duff and moving in a direction I have wanted to go for a long time.


  1. If I remember correctly, there was one of our class assignments that couldn't be properly graded because you had the papers outside with you, the breeze picked up, and a majority of them ended up in a pool? I could have the wrong teacher - but in any case, an added benefit to going electronic is that the "pool scenario" won't happen.

  2. Sounds great, but shouldn't the video have just been assigned for homework anyway? Why watch a video during class anymore?