This is a Farewell

29 Apr

For those of you that have been reading this blog, we thank you, but there is some sad news; this will be the final entry of the Dream Team.

It has been a fun ride for those of you educators who are interested in paperless education. This blog has covered a vast variety of things, from reasons that teachers should blog to different resources that teachers can use for teaching paperless.

We have taken stops at the benefits of paperless education, Mac vs. P.C., an awesome new thing called virtual field trips, and even how to keep students engaged. We wanted to show how paperless education can benefit the environment as well as using technology for good in school instead of the evil it is usually attributed to.

We would like you to always keep finding new ideas for what will hopefully be an illustrious future in paperless education. There are many ideas on our past blogs that might be able to help, and each blog has a few links that can also assist you in finding new ideas. But, in case you need even more help….

Here are some links to other blogs that have to do with paperless education:

Teach Paperless

Paperless Classroom

Edutopia

For those of you that followed us, we thank you once again, and on behalf of the entire Dream Team, I wish you Happy Blogging and Happy Teaching.

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5 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog

20 Apr

A lot of people are hesitant to start a blog because more often than not they believe they have nothing to say. However they often overlook the many benefits that they could get from blogging. Teachers and educators especially have so much to gain from blogging and we firmly believe that all should!

Here are a few of those reasons:

Blogging Helps You Reflect

Teachers often think back on what happened in their classroom and wonder what they could have done better. Blogging can help with that process by enabling teachers to log their actions, procedures, successes and failures, and issues they may have run into.

Reflection and self-evaluation are key components in personal and professional growth.

Blogging Connects You

Blogging provides the opportunity to connect with people from all corners of the world. Allowing you the opportunity to share and exchange ideas with people from all different perspectives. This also that helps us build a global classroom.

 Blogging Allows You To Share your Expertise

Blogging is also a great place to share you own knowledge and expertise with the world. Regardless of what you have to say in your blog posts someone somewhere will learn from it. Everyone learns and grows from different experiences; a blog is a place where you can share that knowledge.

Blogging Motivates You

Blogging provides opportunities for like-minded people to gather together and share their passions. Creating the perfect environment to draw inspiration and motivation from.

Blogging Is A Way To Find Support

Everyone at one point or another in their life could benefit from a little support. Through blogging you can develop a network of other people in your same shoes will most likely be able to answer any question or address any concern that you have. Even in the unlikely scenario where they couldn’t you will at least have a sympathetic ear.

If these reasons aren’t enough to get you excited about blogging Robert Shuetz has a Top 10 list and here are 50 examples of great Teacher blogs.

Flipped Learning Network

13 Apr

Ever heard of the ‘Flipped Learning Network’? It is a new style of teaching that has been getting a lot of attention lately.

Kari Arfstrom writes about how this new teaching style has helped reach many struggling students. Check out this article for more info on how Flipped Learning has helped students of every age!

Also, make sure to check out Flipped Learning for the latest on this revolutionary teaching style!

Teachers Joining forces via Social Media!

13 Apr

Social Media: How do I be professional about it?

In the new, digital age we live in all types of people are benefiting from utilizing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with long lost friends, find new information and post about things they are knowledgeable about. Educational professionals are certainly well within the group of sharers of knowledge. It is in your nature as an educator to share the wealth and we at PaperlessEducation appreciate that so much!

Social media sites can benefit more than those who you share your funny stories, interesting facts and the latest new blog with. You and your fellow educators can use social media sites as a tool to create an information network filled with digital classroom activities, cool online field trips, or the info about the latest iPhone app for educators. PaperlessEducation has prepared a few tricks and tips to get this started in your district.

Google +

Many, if not all of you are on Facebook, a lot of you may even be on Twitter. However, something that not too many probably have is Google+. Google+ has a few powerful tools that can be used by educators that may bring more benefits than Facebook.

We suggest you create a private community filled with your schools faculty. In this private community you can create different discussion boards that focus on different aspects of your educational community.

This is a great place to post links to new education articles, what your class will be doing for next week’s fieldtrip or any other educational related content that is worth sharing within the community.

David Lee has created an awesome blog post about how to go about creating each aspect of the Google+ Community. If your interested see what he has to say right here.

Twitter


A few of you may be on Twitter as well! Kudos to you! Twitter is one of our favorite micro blogging sites that we visit on an hourly basis.

It’s a great place to learn about the current events in the world, have a few chuckles and even post something you think is really interesting. As an educator it is imperative that you create a twitter account.

There isn’t a requirement that you post about what you had for breakfast lunch and dinner or even what the weather looks like outside. We would like to see you posting about topics that relate to your specialization or link to a news article that is breaking news about something you are passionate about.

Anyways I’m getting off track. Twitter is a great place for educators to link other educators up with new information that you can use in your classroom. How does this happen?

Well Twitter has a couple features to it that will allow you to instantly find information that you are looking for. You may search for information on Twitter just like Google. Twitter will put the latest, most relevant up to date information at the top after you click search. All you need to do is visit: www.twitter.com/search. Twitter will not only search the Hashtags associated with the tweet, but also the content inside the tweet for the key words you searched for.

The other search feature Twitter has available to you is called a list. A Twitter list is an awesome tool that is perfect for educators. Twitter lists can be as broad or as specialized as you would like. You specify who is on the list, and who is not. As an educator you could create an education list and select all educational Tweeters that you follow to be on the list. By making your list open to the public, and sharing it with others you will be able to build a network of information worth reading and spreadin. Here is a link to an article that gives the four-step process of creating the list.

EdWeb.net

Finally for those of you who don’t like Facebook or Twitter because your students are also using those sites there is a new social media site in town just for you! EdWeb.net is a professional social media site focused on connecting educators with other educators. Technorati.com, a blog focused on current issues caused by technology has a great article of why educators aren’t using the social media sites like facebook and Twitter and why EdWeb.net is gaining more popularity. Check out the article here!

There are a thousand other sites and things that you and other educators can visit and do, we would just like to make sure you know which ones we think are the best! Our next blog post will focus on one of the most important aspects of being a teacher in the digital age. Blogging. You will have to check back next week to find out more about that one though!

If you have questions feel free to comment or send us an email,

-PaperlessEducation

Create Your Own Class Magazine With Flipboard

8 Apr

Have you heard about Flipboard? It’s an awesome app that now can be personalized to create your own class magazine. The benefits to this are endless! David Lee over at David Lee Ed Tech put together this awesome video:

Create Your Own Class Magazine With Flipboard.

Keeping Students Engaged

5 Apr

With so many technologies being used nowadays, and students learning to use them at such a young age, the attention span of students seems to be decreasing with every year that passes. Because of this it makes it very difficult for teachers to keep the students engaged as well as get the students to participate. A recent pew research study says that 75% of students have cell phones and 73% of students use social networking sites. This are huge numbers compared to what they were when even I was a kid, where no one knew what a social networking site was and I shared a cell phone with my 2 brothers.

In an era where so many technologies are at our fingertips, why not use them to our advantage? Let’s talk about some ways we can do that:
 

Youtube is a great source for teaching. Not many young students out there want to hear Ben Stein drone on and on, they want to be entertained. Youtube is a great way to entertain, videos and clips can explain things much better than just a lecture (if a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is a video worth?). With so many videos on Youtube, you are bound to find something that pertains to what you are teaching.

Gaming is another very useful tool for students, and I am not talking about Madden or Grand Theft Auto (even though Madden taught me how to count by 7’s). There are many sites out there like funbrain and knowledgeadventure that are catered directly towards making games to help young kids learn. This is made easier by schools having access to more and more computers, especially if you have a school like mine where they replaced the DARE program with more laptops. You can use these games to hold weekly competitions in class and have rewards for the winner/kids who learn the most.

Multi-media assignments are a very reachable goal for younger students now. I didn’t have to do my first power-point presentation until late into my high school career. Students today are so tech savvy that they would much more enjoy making a video or doing a presentation instead of writing an essay. If I could have made a short film for every book report instead of writing a 3-page report, my entertainment level and grades would have been so much higher throughout my schooling. There are also many websites out there that give not only great ideas for multi-media assignments, but are also very good for finding research.

These are just three of many ideas that teachers have had to embrace technology and keep their students engaged. There are also simple tricks that have nothing to do with technology, like changing up your teaching style, and asking your students more questions. Whatever you can do to keep students entertained will make their learning experience and your teaching experience much more enjoyable.

What are some ideas that you have found work for keeping students engaged?

Homeschooling Is Stepping Up Its Game.

25 Mar

Schools are becoming more advanced and digital, they are providing different opportunities to students through the use of tablets, online applications and other recent technological advances. Paperless education asks: Will homeschooling parents be able to give their students the same opportunities?
Lets break some stereotypes and erase the traditional image of homeschoolers. These kids don’t have it easy and in many cases they are given more difficult assignments with less time to complete them. They follow the same schedule and are in trouble with not only their teacher, but also their parent if they don’t get their work done correctly and on time.
Traditional knowledge tells us that a homeschooled student will not get the same experiences and quality education as a student enrolled in a private or public institution. Fortunately for homeschoolers this thought is beginning to be something of the past. Technology has created the possibility for homeschoolers to utilize the same materials and gain access to the same pool of knowledge as every other student in the district. This has been the case for quite some time with the invention of the Internet, but has recently been accelerated with the help of websites TheWiredHomeschool.Com and online applications on tablets and iPad’s. Homeschooling parents, and students, now have access to the same programs that traditional teachers are using to teach whole classrooms.

A lot of homeschooling is done through online classrooms like InternetHomeschool.com or EHarvy.org. Students, with guidance from their homeschool teacher, attend school like any other elementary, middle or high school kid, however instead of rolling out of bed and catching the bus, they roll out of bed and log in. We encourage you to take a look at these online schools if you are interested in homeschooling your child. Here is a link to a blog post by the business insider titled 10 websites that make homeschooling easy.

It’s a great place to start if you are struggling with finding unique ways of teaching your student.

The ability to have one-on-one teaching moments day after day, and access to all the same materials and learning programs as any other student is pretty awesome! Plus, you get to teach your child.. who wouldn’t want to have their child as a student? (Okay I’m sure some of you would disagree with me but that’s a whole other blog post) We are super excited to see that even homeschool education is thriving in this digital society. Please post a comment or send us an email if you have questions or updates for us!

Till next time –Paperless Education.

Virtual Field Trips

9 Mar

When I was in elementary school and it was field trip day I was the most excided kid in the world! I would get up early, sneak snacks into the bag lunch my mom had made for me then and walk out the door with a smile on my face. When I got to school I couldn’t wait for the busses to leave – this had nothing to do with the fact that I got to skip Mrs. Myer’s math class.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the way you look at it) students of the future may not get to experience the same feelings I did. It is becoming more and more popular for teachers to take classes on virtual trips instead of actual field trips. Paperless education has done its research and found 3 pretty awesome virtual/interactive field trips that we would love to have been introduced to while in grade school.

Virtual Tour of Mars

Who wouldn’t want to go to mars and back all in one day? There are many sites that give several computer animated tours of Mars. One that I thought was both interactive and informational comes from DiscoveryEducation.com. Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas has created a foundation called Will.i.STEAM. This foundation focuses on informing and encouraging young students to explore the related fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts & Math.) Because of this foundation students have the ability to learn much more than what Mars’ atmosphere is made up of, they get to travel the planet, listen to experts and learn in an interactive way. Visit the site if you are interested!

Africam

Africam is a site that can take students to a whole new world within our own. This site is very unique as it allows viewers to watch video cameras that have been set up in areas that are frequently visited by a variety of safari animals. This includes elephants, owls, cheetah cubs, giraffs and more. Students are able to interact with the site by posting comments, moving the remote controlled web cams and clicking the links for more inforamtion about the safari. This is an overall top pick by Paperless Education.

White House Virtual Tour

This site gives students the ability to view the White House. They can see where our president lives, does business and holds events. Within each stop of the tour there is either a photo or video explaining the room, area or hallway. There are often links sending the reader to additional government sites for more information. Did you know there is a beehive and movie basketball court on the Whitehouse campus? Check out the site and take the tour today!

These are just three out of hundreds of online field trips out there. Paperless Education encourages you to find your own and share them with us and your friends. Our world is becoming increasingly digital; because of this the way we teach and learn will always be changing.

Be sure to comment if you have questions!

Benefits of Paperless Education

2 Mar

One of the main concerns that face schools nowadays is financing. Another concern that people have is how to stay green. If schools change to paperless education and paperless classrooms, both of those issues could be resolved. This  is how…

Financial Positives

Jake Tschida

Teachers are constantly using, and potentially wasting, thousands of sheets of paper a week. If a teacher has to pay for all of this paper, and also the prices of copying, they can see each pay check go straight down the drain. The average student every year uses 360  pounds of paper. Each pound of paper is approximately 100 sheets. This means that, with simple math, each student uses 36,000 sheets of paper a year. Now, if you use more math (of the complicated variety), you can see that a ream of paper goes for about $8/500 sheets (with tax). 36,000/500 = 72 reams x $8 = $576/student per year. Take the size of my graduation class, 861, my school spent $495,936 on just paper.

A teacher in Kentucky has found the answer to all of this spending, she created the paperless classroom. In this classroom the students are all given pda’s (personal digital assistants). The students then use these pda’s to do their homework, take their tests, and download all of their study materials. Education world interviewed Stephanie Sorell to find out more about the benefits of going paperless. So, the real question is, what is holding schools back from trying more paperless education classrooms?

Environmental Impact

Chad Willson

Just one classroom going paperless can have a huge impact on the environment. Using the math from above the average classroom of 30 uses 1,080,000 sheets of paper every year, one tree produces only 8,500 sheets of paper, so it takes 128 trees to produce enough paper for one classroom. Just one class has the power to save 128 trees by making the decision to go paperless.

Also according to Paperless Productivity turning one tree into paper releases 110 lbs of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, additionally trees convert over 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide in their lifetime. Going paperless would have a huge and positive impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

Some may think it is too hard, or too much work, or costs too much to turn a classroom into a paperless education portal; but every year more and more schools have found a way to begin the transition. District 97 in Illinois has over 8 elementary schools on track to be paperless. For more in depth info on what steps need to be taken and what the future has in store check out David Wees’s and Kelley Tenkley’s blogs.

Also check out this video of an agriculture teacher in De Soto, Wisconsin that has successfully gone totally paperless.

MAC vs PC

23 Feb

Mac or PC? The question is age-old. It has been around for as long as the comparison has been available. Some people are die-hard Mac users; some people wouldn’t use anything other than a PC if their life depended on it. But what about those in the middle? What about those of us who don’t have a favorite, or an urge to use one specific brand over the other? How do you choose? One member of our Dream Team, Jake, is in this pickle as you are reading this. So what did we do? We put together a comparison to aid in your decision making.
Macs vs PC

Personal views: why I like using Macs vs PC .
  • Macs have a better user interface they are simple and are  intuitive.
  • I enjoy the user interface of  a Mac combined with the programs I use vs the windows program that is on the PC. (I use design programs on a daily basis and have used both a Mac and PC.)
 The Time my Mac lasted Longer than My PC
I have the same Mac computer at my place of work for over 3 years. This computer is left running all day and all night using programs ranging from the adobe creative sweet to Internet browsers to Microsoft office package. This computer has lasted for the two years I have Ben there (it was there for more than one prior to my arrival) It is still kicking strong and not showing signs of failing.
 I purchased a pc my senior year of highschool. By the 3rd year of operation the hard drive failed. At that time I was not using design programs on it and used it mainly for writing papers and surfing the web. The price to get it fixed was the third of buying a new computer. So I didn’t.
I vote Mac!
The Real World:
Bottom line you will not find a mac for cheaper than $1000.
With that being said you can find a pc for less than half of what it costs to purchase a Mac.
(To Be Continued)