Paperless classrooms, Pt 1 – An introduction to the concepts and motivations
‘Paperless classrooms’ are a trending topic not just in the world of edublogs but in ‘normal,’ everyday schools. In Australia the federal government has the ‘Digital Education Revolution’ (have a quick read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Education_Revolution) which it has been funding since 2008. A key component of this has been the ‘one-to-one’ scheme (often written as ‘1:1’) whereby every high school student from year 9 up will have a laptop for their own use by the end of 2011 (via the National Secondary School Laptop Fund, see here http://www.education.vic.gov.au/management/ictsupportservices/nsscf/default.htm).
Paperless classrooms are generally seen to be important for two reasons: a) environmental, green motivations and b) embracing 21st century digital opportunities. A subset of the second reason, that is almost a third reason in its own right, is that we should prepare young learners for the technologically advanced world that they will be operating within once they leave school. Another motivation, that is often not explicitly owned up to, is that of capturing students’ interest or increasing their engagement – perhaps because this is seen as being mere bribery or a desperate attempt to connect to students on their own level. It’s difficult to know what to say to this – are we utilising technology to validate ourselves or because it’s truly useful in its own right? That reducing the use of paper is good for the environment is inarguable though, and more on the opportunities that technology affords us in the next post!