Thursday, January 17, 2013

Going Paperless

Paper stackWhile getting ready for class this week, I realized that even though I use my iPad for reading and grading papers, doing my own research, and presenting at conferences, I'm still pretty dependent on paper when I'm in the classroom. I use technology in my teaching, but I walk into the classroom with an armful of paper--a binder of teaching notes, a hard copy of the syllabus and class list, and various other materials. 

Then I came across this Lawyerist post about not going paperless at trial, which got me thinking about why I'm still so paper-dependent. I think the answer is that I originally organized my materials in a teaching version of a "traditional trial binder" (I am a former litigator, after all) and I've just updated those materials every semester since. I also have lots of post-its and scribbled notes that I probably haven't looked at in years but am afraid to throw away casually.

But I've decided it's time to go paperless in the classroom, too. There will be some start-up cost to organizing my materials electronically, in a way that makes them easy to access and flip through during class. However, once I make this investment, I expect I'll be able to use those same materials (with some updating) for many semesters to come. And I'm already thinking about how liberating it will be to recycle all those old teaching notes and clear off the shelf in my office.


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