Drowning in Paper!!!

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Laura Smith on 17-05-2010

I HATE you, paper.  That may be an arbitrary and capricious statement, but I am really getting sick of you.  You clutter my life, I never know where to put you, you take up too much space, and really, you are just not necessary!  And thanks to the Internet and computers, I think I might just be able to survive with less of you.

With role models like Shelly Blake-Plock of Teach Paperless, and Dan Meyer,  and I’m sure many more that I haven’t found yet, there are many examples out there of how to run a classroom with less reliance on textbooks and paper.

What really bugs me is the resistance to this idea!  I recently watched Dan’s awesome TED talk about transforming Math curriculum, and then read the reactions to it on Kitchen Table Math.  How disheartening.  What is so wrong with challenging our students to think in a creative way?  To figure things out on their own instead of spoonfeeding them!  I was especially upset by the following comment:

I don’t want to be that cranky old veteran that doesn’t listen to new ideas, but I would think it appropriate to point out that we don’t yet have the capability/budget to produce affordable print products with embedded videos of water tanks filling up.So when Mr. Meyer urges his audience at the end of his talk to demand better curricula, what exactly does he anticipate these folks should be asking for? The impossible?Can you imagine what would happen to a new educational textbook company that took its starting capital and created textbooks with top-notch practice problems that were all “less helpful”?It would go bankrupt, not because it’s not a good idea, but because the reality of teachers in classrooms just doesn’t match. There’s a *reason* why textbooks are ultra-”helpful.”

Hello! Who NEEDS a textbook if you have visuals and videos via youtube? Why do we NEED a printed textbook? Why can’t we, instead, have curriculum designed for consumption via the Internet? Or, if you are worried about the possibility of access problems, you can have the curriculum available on CD or Flash Drive! We need to re-think the “old” way of doing things. Just look at this post from Mr. Meyer about a session he attended at NCTM. Scroll part of the way down the page and read about the “handouts,” where people had to make their own packets by “taking one of each paper” (oh, please, just stab me with a paper clip right now…) and then extras were promised through snail mail?!?! WHAT? This is the 21st Century, people! Get out of the dark ages and remove your head from your outdated textbook, and wake up to a world of new possibilities.

Without so much reliance on paper. I know. It’s scary. But, come on, aren’t you a little annoyed with that pile of paper cluttering your life, too?


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