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Paper Is Not A Bad Thing

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by Aviva Dunsiger

Paper Is Not A Bad ThingA colleague of mine walked in the room just as I was finishing some photocopying this morning. She was amazed! Her comment to me was, “I thought that you a proponent of the paperless classroom. Why are you using paper?” My response was the same as it always is when someone asks me about my use of paper in the classroom: “Paper is not a bad thing!”

 Yes, I love using technology in the classroom with my students. I think that there are many powerful tools out there that can have students apply their learning and communicate their thinking in creative ways. Technology on its own though does not make me a better teacher. Any tool is only as good as what you do with it!

My discussion with this teacher emphasized that in my mind, the ideal classroom is full of paper as well as tablets and computers. I want students to be able to decide what tool to use based on what activity they’re completing. I want them to have access to rich activities that promote critical thinking and collaboration. I want them to read, read, read, and write, write, write, and do so in many ways using many mediums. Paper is not a bad thing, and I think students need to understand this as well.

This may be a surprise to some people, but I do photocopy at school. I probably always will. I could avoid photocopying and project a problem or activity onto the board for students to copy, but some students also need a hardcopy. I photocopy to give students what they need. Almost every assignment that I hand out in class, I distribute as a paper copy for those that want it and as an electronic copy for others. I let students choose what works best for them.

In my opinion, paper is not the enemy. We just need to think about how we use the paper as a tool for learning.

 

How do you use paper as a tool in your classroom? How do you respond when people ask you about a “paperless classroom?”

 

Aviva

Aviva Dunsiger taught Junior Kindergarten to Grade 2 for 11 years before moving to Grade 6 this year. She’s passionate about using technology in the classroom to support student learning, and she’s presented on this topic numerous times both online and offline.

She enjoys maintaining her blog, Living Avivaloca: My Many Musings on Life and Learning. Aviva’s reflective writing about her professional practice inspires communication between educators, administrators and parents.  

 

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  • Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca)

    Thanks for your comment, Kalisi! I think that paper handouts are helpful too. Maybe this comes down to all students needing different things to be successful. Often I have a paper handout, but I also have the handout available online for students to access: some students prefer the hard copy and other students benefit from the electronic one. When we speak about the need for differentiation, are we doing this if we again provide just one option (but it’s just an electronic one)? I’m not sure. What do you think?

    Aviva

  • http://edfact.blogspot.com Kalisi

    As a new teacher it is hard for me to gauge how much paper is too much paper. I like to give hand outs of things because I found students didn’t always copy everything they needed down and quickly said ‘what are we doing?’ even though I had just explained it to them over the last 10 minutes. But a paperless classroom eh? That would be interesting!