We are not suggesting teachers go 100% paperless; rather, we are suggesting teachers redefine their worksheets into online activities to enhance students’ learning, engage students, and streamline essential teaching tasks–especially for grading and providing feedback.
According to Schunk and Mullen in John Hattie’s Visible Learning: Guide to Students Achievement, they assert that “perception of progress builds self-efficacy and sustain motivation” (p.41).
This is the underlining challenge of many problems in today’s education. It is a simple statement, yet it is also the most challenging task for any teacher. It is almost an impossible task for any teacher who continues to rely on traditional teaching methods without integrating today’s technology and innovative strategies. Going paperless is more than going green, it is the first step in accepting the limitations of traditional teaching methods and valuing the untapped potentials of integrating technology.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of redefine our learning activities with today’s technology.
Teachers Save 1000s of Hours
Over the course a teacher’s career, a teacher could save 1000s of hours by using today’s technology to redefine and streamline their teaching tasks:
Eliminate the inefficient and chaotic process of printing classroom learning materials. For example, teachers waste valuable time (1) finding old worksheets, (2) making copies, (3) distributing them to students, (4) and collecting them from students, and (5) passing them back to students is cost teaching valuable instructional time and their personal time. A simple calculation could be assuming each task could be 5 seconds per task per student per day would equal to 4125 seconds wasted per day ( 5 x 5 x 165 students = 68.78 minutes per day). This does not include times for grading and providing feedback. In just one year or 184 school days, it cost a teacher 12,650 minutes (210.83 hours) per year. This number does not include the time of accommodating making up missing works. The numbers also shocked us when we did the calculation, but it is not surprising when we reflected on daily tasks.
Save $1000’s Annually
When we discuss the cost of traditional system printing of classroom learning, it could cost $1000 annually. The obvious expenses are paper and ink; however, there are many other expenses that we often forgot to including printing machines, printing services, and fees, and maintenance fees. However, the most expensive expense that we do not include is valuable and expensive class time wasted performing tasks that resulted from implementing the traditional system of printing of classroom learning materials. On average, it costs about $40 hours. If teachers spent about 30 minutes during the conference period and during class per day to do those tasks, and a teacher would spend 5,520 minutes per day (or, 92 hours, or $3680). This calculation does not include time wasted for in-class grading activities, such as teachers have students grade other students’ work.
Most importantly, it increases students’ engagement and learning outcomes
To understand how the process to increase students’ engagement and learning outcomes, we need to review the assertion by Schunk and Mullen in John Hattie’s Visible Learning: Guide to Students Achievement, they assert that “perception of progress builds self-efficacy and sustain motivation” (p.41). According to John Hattie, self-reported grades have the greatest influence on any student’s learning outcomes. The aspect to maximize the benefit of the influence is providing meaningful feedback timely while allowing students to self-assess, build confidence, and learn from their mistakes at each student’s pace instantly.
- Individualized Instant Feedback: Enhanced by technology, each student answers different questions at their pace and gets instant meaningful feedback. Teachers can customize specific feedback to scaffold students with hints, so students can retry for partial credit. During the class, students collaborate with their peers to support and teach each other. This genuine process of student collaboration increases students’ engagement and positive learning outcomes.
- Individualized accountability: Traditional paper worksheets are very vulnerable to massive cheating. With today’s technology, students find solutions online, take pictures of their work, and share with many students online. Worsen by the fact that many teachers do not grade most of the students’ work, many students rely on cheating to complete most of the assigned work. Consequently, these students fail most assessments while their classwork grades are high. In our case, we use our Learning Management System website to make it difficult for students to cheat.
If we look at the grades, we can identify any struggling or off-task student easily. Also, the averages of each question and students’ responses allow teachers to identify challenging topics to reteach or to clarify.
- Meaningful Organization: Flexible and consistent organization will eliminate any possible confusion and save teachers and students a lot of headache and time. Teachers have full control of organizing the online content and provide an organized and consistent organization for all students find any activity easily.
In conclusion, it more than going paperless. It is about redefining our activities using today’s technology and strategies. Going paperless is just of of many benefits that are resulted from the process.