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Monday, March 21, 2011
Tools to go Paperless (in school and at home)
I'm working on going paperless in my classroom. I'm almost 100% paperless myself, but have many students who don't have computer access so need to print things for them.
Here are the tools that I feel are essential to be paperless at school and at home:
1. Scanner - preferably one with an auto feeder. This is how I take paper items and make them electronic. I save them as PDF files so that they are easy to view. I'll upload some to Evernote (which can search the text) and attach it to notes in Evernote as needed.
2. Evernote - free, multi-platform system for taking notes, clipping webpages, and much more. You can organize notes, upload photos (Evernote can search text in photos too), attach files and more. It is truly a one-stop, does-it-all, system that is indispensable.
3. Google Docs - do all of your office work - documents, spreadsheets, and presentations - online. Collaborate and share with others without needing to print out files. Can also upload other files to keep them there.
4. Google Calendar - keep yourself organized and on schedule. Create group calendars or share calendars. No need to print them anymore. It can even email or text you reminders for upcoming events or tasks.
5. Google Tasks - tasks is a simple task list that comes with Gmail. Use it to make sure you don't forget to do things. You can also schedule due dates and have it link to Google Calendar.
6. Electronic Gradebook - if your school system isn't already using an electronic grade book, you can use your own for free. Engrade is a free, online grade book that is easy to use, fully functional, and allows students and parents to view their grades.
7. PDF tools - use these tools to create, modify, and mark up PDF documents. Make electronic versions instead of printing to paper.
8. Student online services - Trackclass, Shoshiku, and Dweeber and Note.ly - students use these free services (along with Evernote and Google apps) to take notes, organize their schedule and assignments, and much more.
9. Smartphone with camera - access all of the services mentioned here. Do work anytime. Stay organized by accessing your calendar, task list, notes, and more. And use the camera to capture information and notes. This becomes your pocket organizer.
10. Websites and Blogs - use websites and blogs to post information, files, and other items to communicate with faculty, parents and students.
11. Digital Textbooks and sites - use digital textbooks and reference sites instead of paper textbooks. Accessible anywhere and free. Digital Textbooks
12. Smartpones, Tablets, Computers, Netbooks - use these in class instead of paper notebooks and textbooks to access information, take notes, and create assignments. You can even use an inexpensive digital notepad, like Boogie Board, to take quick notes without using paper.
13. Digital assignments instead of paper - have students use Google Docs, blogs, websites, etc. to create digital assignments instead of paper ones. Have them create new things, like Glogs, videos, and presentations instead of the typical paper assignments.
14. Electronic bulletin boards and digital displays (digital photo frames)- use these instead of paper bulletin boards to display messages and notices.
Going paperless is not only good for the environment (the increased use of electricity is still less than the power, resources, and byproducts of paper production) but can also save schools money and make people and students more efficient.
All of the software/services I mentioned are free and available online through any web browser and available from smartphones.
What do you use to go paperless?