Then, last fall, it became clear that occasional computer lab use and BYOD were the best I could do. A large percentage of students had iPhones (85-90%) and a few had iPads or other kinds of smartphones, so there were often a critical mass of devices so students could send email, compose documents in Google Drive (although I wouldn't want to try that on a phone screen, my students seemed to be okay with it), take pictures of handouts, etc. So while I wasn't 1:1, I had students using their own devices or borrowing one of the ones I had (I had four computers in my classroom, two laptops I own and two desktops from the school, as well as an iPad and an iPhone).
But what became clear quickly was that Edmodo just wasn't going to be helpful. Outside of a 1:1 environment, it made much more sense to host everything on MentorMob playlists, and then embed those into a course-specific webpage at tmiclass.com.
However, that didn't make up for every piece of paper - in fact, most of the paper used in my classroom was used by my students. That's where this strategy comes in.
I hate collecting paper. It gathers, especially when you have 155 students in a fast-paced college-prep school. So I came up with a few ways to not ever collect paper from my students.
- Ask them to email it to you with a particular subject line. I like using hashtags. So if the assignment is the Gatsby Journal #1, I have them use the subject #GatsbyJournal1. Then I can search and even auto-label emails in Gmail.
- If they can't email it, they can take a picture of it and email it as before. Or they can post it to their blog. I like that option if there are multiple pictures, like for reading journals. Here's an example of what it looks like on their blog:
- If they don't have a device or can't use it for some reason, I will walk around and take pictures of their papers with my iPad. Then I can import them as a single event (this works best if you upload after every class period) in iPhoto. And I have them forever, unless I decide to clean out my iPhoto albums. It also takes less than two minutes to make it around to everyone who needs it.
Here is what it looks like in iPhoto.
If I end up needing to comment on them, I can always upload the pictures to Google Drive and use comments or VoiceComments on them. For the most part though, these are credit/no credit reading journals that don't require me to read them closely. I can also have students collect and submit them at the end of the unit, making it easier to grade and enter.
Do you have paperless tricks? If so, I'd love to hear them!