Sunday, 3 November 2019

Paper saving ideas

For so many good reasons, we could all do with using a little less paper.   Here are a few ideas of how technology can help.

Home/school communication

Rather than printing letters, newsletters or homework intended for home, why not use an electronic format such as Seesaw (or Parentmail, ClassDojo etc)?  Sharing documents with parents is easy with Seesaw, and you don't end up with soggy letters left in the bottom of school bags.  Parents can open documents sent home via phones, tablets or computers, and the success rate of a letter reaching its intending audience must surely be comparable to traditional methods.


Electronic handouts

Schools spend so much time and money printing handouts from lessons or training.   Why not share the document electronically instead?   Seesaw, Google Classroom and SharePoint all allow staff and pupils to access documents with unlimited pages and in full colour, without any wasted paper.   Documents can also include links to websites, videos or quizzes, with much more functionality than a paper based document.   Many people prefer to read a paper based version of a document - I understand this completely, but many people prefer (or are happy with) an electronic version, and if people desperately require a paper based copy, they can print it themselves.


Electronic worksheets/writing frames

Teachers often create or use paper based 'worksheets', often providing an element of scaffolding for the writing process.   Such resources are often electronic anyway, so why not give pupils access to an electronic version of the worksheet instead?  This can be done via Seesaw, Google Classroom or Sharepoint.   In addition to saving paper, pupils get the added benefit of having features such as text-to-speech synthesis, spell-checks and word banks.   Apps such as 'Book Creator' can also be used to share electronic resources with pupils.

Alternatives to printing pupil work for school exercise books

Many staff and pupils print work to be trimmed and stuck into exercise books.  Such printed work is often in full colour and, as the printed version is paper based, missing any features of the original document such as animations or video.   An alternative is to use an 'electronic exercise book' such as Google Classroom or Seesaw.  Here, pupils can post their work to their class, and the teacher is able to leave feedback via written, audio or video comments.   Naturally, teachers are often concerned about having evidence in exercise books; however, a short note, directing a parent or other member of staff to Seesaw or Google Classroom for a particular piece of work is an alternative to printing.

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