Image by turtlemom4bacon via FlickrI have calculated that I can eliminate 750 sheets or a ream and a half of paper a week. If 17 reams are one tree, in the course of a school year, if I take out the weeks I do large projects, I estimate I'm saving 25,500 pieces of paper or 51 reams and 3 trees a year.
I've already shared some preliminary information in my Paperless as Possible blog post.
It does require several class days to set up and teaching students how to use and collaborate with the tools but I even find it much easier. I feel less cluttered and with Dropbox backing things up, I don't worry about anyone deleting someone else's file.
I had someone send me a message on Wednesday that they were upset because their school banned student/ teacher email communication! How can they have dropbox when it is banned (it cannot be filtered.) How can they communicate with students when they cannot email?
This is the 21st century! It is time to use Email and other tools to communicate. I admit that I'm still working on a way to post Facebook status updates to students and likely it will be through an app that lets me leave them messages without friending them. (See Facebook Friending 101 for Schools.)
Honestly, I told my curriculum director to not reorder my textbooks. Although my classroom may be the exception, I have so many things I've written for them that I was copying - I'd rather just use onenote and then pull things together that way.
I'm emailing parents and THEY LOVE IT! I didn't even count the handouts that I send to them.
It is about streamlining the workflow. Keeping it simple (for the kids and me.) I just don't see the point in printing out things that are going in the trash after I look at them unless they really NEED to be on paper. I can grade on my ipad and don't have to lug home a big old bag any more.
Not all teachers can go as paperless as we are and certainly I still have paper in my room. But paperless as possible is a doable goal. It saves paper. It saves ink. It saves resources. At the end of the semester, I can even delete the work if necessary. (See the file management strategies I teach students for this.)
Since teaching is a noble calling, isn't it time to lead in the movement to save our resources into the classroom? So many of us (me included) have been hypocrites - we talk about protecting our environment while we waste waste waste in our classrooms.
Remember your noble calling, teacher.