10 Things Every Educator Should Start Doing Today: #1

1. Eliminate “paperless classroom” from your vocabulary forever

I think this is one of the most misleading terms in education today. Right up there with “engagement,” but don’t get me started. That’s for another post.

There’s nothing wrong with paper in a technology rich environment. If by “paperless” you mean passing out/turning in assignments digitally, or taking notes in a Google doc instead of paper… Can we call it something else?

Instead of paperless classroom, let’s call it what it is… an efficient classroom or any of it’s synonyms: organized, methodical, systematic, logical, orderly, businesslike, streamlined, productive, effective, cost-effective, labor-saving.

None of these terms send the wrong message to a teacher who is new at integrating technology in the classroom that we somehow need to eliminate the existence of paper in our schools. Paper will always have a place in education. It’s great for everything from drawing out ideas, making diagrams, taking notes, doing math, doodling, sketchnoting, making reminders, and most of all… increasing retention and comprehension, I.e. learning.

Please stop sending teachers the wrong message with Tweets, presentations and top 10 lists of apps about having a paperless classroom. At no point in time was “paperless business” or “paperless hospital” a thing. Nor should it be one in education.

It is 2016 and all of the so called benefits of a paperless classroom are nothing new in other industries, nor were they ever celebrated. It has nothing to do with removing paper, and everything to do with efficiency, cost savings and saving our planet.

Here’s the remainder of the list. I’ll address these one at a time in future posts.

2. Focus on creating the conditions for powerful learning before uttering the word edtech

3. If you haven’t already, create a Twitter account. If you have, identify the next place to grow professionally

4. Remove the front of the classroom

5. Let go of the need to control everything that happens in the classroom

6. Go to your curriculum director and advocate for inviting students to write curriculum this summer

7. Model appropriate uses of social media (see #3)

8. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

9. Advocate for more and better professional development before adding edtech to your district

10. Practice 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation everyday