Tips and Ideas / Sep 21, 2018

Going Paperless in the Classroom

Have you ever stuffed your “teacher bag” full of papers to grade at night, only to find them untouched in that same bag the following morning? Maybe you often wonder why you bothered to take them home with you in the first place? Going paperless is one way to lessen this frustration! With the recent technology boom in school districts across the country, going paperless (or at least using less paper) has been a topic of conversation because of its multitude of benefits. Below we’ll be addressing those benefits in hopes that more teachers will follow suit. 

Going Paperless Saves Time

The copy machine in the teachers’ lounge is an incredibly convenient tool when its functioning at 100% (i.e. ink is full; paper tray is filled; etc.). Let us repeat that – when it’s functioning

The biggest time-saving benefit of going paperless is that you don’t have to make copies of worksheets, newsletters, or any other documents. Whether you teach one class of 25 or seven sections of 30 students, waiting on the copier is not the most convenient use of time spent (let alone your lunch break!). While copying may not be avoided altogether, ClassTag offers ways that you can efficiently communicate with parents that don’t require any time at the copy machine.

A great time-saving, paperless tool for teachers to utilize is ClassTag’s weekly newsletter templates. Through ClassTag, you can schedule a time to send newsletters and other announcements to parents automatically. Not only that, the follow-up with parents is seamless because they can respond directly to you through the ClassTag platform or app.

A final time-saving benefit of going paperless is that there is no stapling, hole-punching, taping, folding, or any other tasks required to create your final product.

Going Paperless Saves Space

Classrooms are notorious for being cluttered with filing cabinets, shelves, closets and bins full of papers! Some teachers want to hang on to things… “just in case!” Others just don’t have the time to go through them all and figure out what’s important and what isn’t. When going paperless, teachers benefit because paperless does not require any physical storage space. Rather, it allows you to focus on keeping technology-based folders organized and documents filed appropriately – where they are much easier to find. 

Another space-saving benefit of going paperless, as mentioned in the introduction, is that there is less to carry to and from school every day. When documents are housed on tech devices, you can significantly reduce the amount of stuff you bring home each night. This will relieve pressure from your end-of-day routine and your back and shoulders! 

Going Paperless Saves Money

In general, teachers are always looking for ways to save money, and going paperless allows you to do just that. For example, when going paperless, teachers (or schools) will not need to purchase (as much!) paper and staples. Further, supplies like ink and toner for the copier may not need to be purchased as often or in large quantities. If you are one of the many teachers that spends out of your own pocket for classroom supplies, going paperless can definitely ease the burden. 

There are many apps out there that can assist you on your journey to going paperless in the classroom. However, only ClassTag offers a way to not only save you time and money, but gives you something back in return. ClassTag is completely free for teachers and you can earn free supplies while sending out electronic newsletters, announcements and other communications to parents.


Going Paperless Saves The Planet

As mentioned above but worth stating again, another benefit of going paperless is that you’re also going green. Let’s be honest – we could all probably stand to focus on using less paper on more than just Earth Day! Making fewer copies of documents helps save our planet. What’s great about this benefit is that it is one in which the students can also participate.

Does your school have a Student Council or National Honor Society? Include those students in the recycling program. While this article from Forbes’ Rod Berger addresses sustainability and energy saving costs in schools, he makes a great argument for student involvement: “the most effective and exciting strategy for driving sustainability in a school district is by handing much of the job over to the students.” Give them opportunities to become stakeholders and leaders in the going green process. Another option: make “going green” a competition between students, staff, homerooms, etc. Both students and staff love a friendly competition!

Digitizing class newsletters and announcements is a great starting point for going green. Depending on your class and school size, making those two things electronic could save thousands of papers a week! Work with your students, parents, department, or team members to create “going green” goals.

There is no doubt that a paper or “hard copy” of a document is sometimes the most effective means for communication. By doing their best to go paperless, teachers are immersed in a multitude of benefits for themselves, their students, their students’ parents, and the world!

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