Well, we’ve been at it for about two weeks now, and I have yet to hand out a piece of paper for students to keep and they have submitted everything digitally so far. We did use some scrap pieces of paper and laminated placards to create a Constitutional Museum on our classroom wall, but after each pair of students created their museum “captions,” they took pictures of their creations with their phones, emailed the pictures to themselves, and as a class we created this virtual museum that each student now has access to for review – better than trying to review from a wall! 🙂
So last year our school went 1:1. All of our students were issued a MacBook Air, and I saw my teaching change drastically. One very visible way was in handouts and notes. I used to have my students use a 1″ 3-ring binder…and we filled it, every class, every semester. Last year, I saw the need for the 1: binder disappear as they had a paper folder and, by the end of the semester, about 1/4″ of paper was in it. This year, while getting things going, our new school president shared that some schools pay for their 1:1 initiatives by going paperless, and while we aren’t in that place as an institution, it inspired me to revisit my 1/4″ stack of handouts from last year. I was casually talking about this with some of my students and they said, “Paperless? I think we’re ready for that.” I think they are right.
I decided to go paperless.
My biggest mental block about it was followsheets for videos, but I got over it and we’re giving it a shot. My goal is to share some of this journey here. We’ll see how both of those goals, paperless and regular blogging, go. Cheers!
So I pulled three pages out of a longer pdf to share with my students but I didn’t want to put the entire source document onto our Haiku site. So I got creative. Using the “Save as PDF” capabilities from my Mac’s print screen, I saved the three individual pages we needed. Then, I found this great tip sheet on how to combine PDFs using the Preview Application. I successfully merged the documents, uploaded them to my Google Drive, and shared the “new” document with a link. Love it!
Thank you Comcast. Our school researched, planned, prepped, designed new lessons and learning activities, we were ready. Our 1:1 launch with all of our students having MacBook Air computers was going to be so exciting. Instead, it was mostly exciting but I went home sad, frustrated and angry for more than two weeks. We asked for a new modem first week we started to have problems (the modem would restart approx. every 4 minutes). We were told it was Comcast’s problem, but the modem wasn’t it. Two weeks into the disaster that was no reliable internet for a school of 800 students we asked again for a new modem. Again we were told that wasn’t the problem but we still didn’t have reliable internet.
Things were getting desperate. People were threatening to put severed horse heads outside of our Tech Office because their lessons were not working, students couldn’t go online, and the level of frustration was something I had never felt in our school before. Then, in the midst of researching options other than Comcast and in a moment of grander frustration, one of my officemates took a video of the modem resetting and sent it to Comcast. Someone saw it and admitted there is a known problem with the modem. We got a new modem and we’re rocking now.
We will never get that first day back. I am still sad about that, but all systems are go now and some amazing things are happening. My intention is to blog more about our year, tips and tricks for our faculty, things we’re trying, some content I am using in my class, and general things related to our 1:1 initiative. Here we go!