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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tales from a "Paperless as Possible" Classroom



All my energy has been towards putting in this new computer lab and going as "paperless as possible." All my time, so much energy. I'm learning a lot. The kinks aren't quite worked out yet, but I want to let you know what we're doing right now.

Email and Google Apps

All students have a school email
We have severed the tie with their personal email and I'm much happier and they are much more on task. No social media is tied to their school accounts, only schoolwork. If they forget their password, I can reset it. No more lost lessons b/c they are clueless about their email account.  We do this through Google apps for domain.

School is their professional life. Facebook is their social life. Two separate things. 

Google Groups
I set up groups for the students so sharing with a class is as easy as typing in the class group email. We can send email in this way as well.


Google folder for each class.  
When I put it in the folder, it shares with everyone in the class.

Dropbox
Using the school email, we all are part of a common dropbox where I put large PDF handouts, etc. and they turn in their files. Dropbox makes copies and backups. So far, this is the smoothest piece of the set up and the one I like the most as I can download files and mark up in noterize. Those who have ipads and computers at home are using this and syncing their accounts automatically.

One Note Notebook is my Textbook
I've enjoyed One Note for a long time and used this to capture the few times I lecture as when I do teach the IWB screen is vital. It is my favorite program for the Interactive Whiteboard to capture what I'm doing. I've got the students signing up for Windows Live ID accounts and have shared a folder with the one note notebook to them so they can see our class notebook.

I've hit a hitch because you can only have 4 users sign up for a live ID at one ip address at a time. What a headache. I have my mifi card and I'm resetting it every 4 users. I could have a live.edu account but that is really microsoft's free version of google apps and it doesn't look like I can have both.

So, textbook, notes, hand ins all online.

Keep it Simple
The thing is this has to be SIMPLE. Easy. Still working through that part. We are all setting up things. I've got the wiki still and we'll be getting into that.  The simplest thing is the turning in the files.

I've also got PowerTeacher running on my ipad now making entering grades a snap.

Ok, gotta run, but just wanted to give you a quick overview of what we're doing and let you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. ;-)


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