Back in February I presented Beyond Paperless for the 2012 Ohio eTech Technology Conference in Columbus Ohio. The presentation came about after a discussion with a principal in my school district. We were discussing the utility of iPod Touches with the students when she asked about printing. It was this question that set off a light bulb. Why are we worried about printing? What is so special about 8.5″ x 11.0″ paper?
When our students are creating artifacts to document their learning, they shouldn’t focus on how it will be viewed but what they are learning. These products could be viewed on a mobile device or a tablet. Focusing on paper as a final product is as bad as focusing on the technology. Don’t pigeonhole your students into writing papers, let them chose the format. It could be a movie. An audio recording. A song.
Education is communication, and what a student uses as evidence of their learning is just words at its simplest point, but it is how the student uses these words that is powerful. An amazing example of this is the following poem. Watch the video of the poem, and then compare it to the written version. The video version is more powerful. More moving. This is what we want our students to be able to create.
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