Paperless policy gets mixed reviews
History teacher Brian Powell shuffles through papers cluttering his desk looking for that one elusive document that was handed in as a hard copy. When he finds it, Powell guarantees that it will be the last paper assignment to be graded.
This is because Powell has embraced the new paperless policy. All teachers are supposed to be enforcing this policy by using technologies, such as the laptops, in their classrooms every day. If the policy is strictly enforced, students will rarely, if ever, need paper. Assignments will be submitted through the teacher’s SharePoint site and notes will be taken in OneNote, thus ending the need for notebooks and loose leaf paper.
School-wide, some changes have already been seen, as calendars and planners were not printed on paper this year. Rather, the school calendar can be found on the school website.
Powell is a staunch supporter of this new completely paperless policy. He explained, “I like it because it makes my life easier. It makes grading easier and communicating faster.” In short, he just wants paper out of his life.
In fact, Powell decided to come to JC five years ago because he knew the laptops were being introduced into JC. They allowed him to give more effective assignments through using the internet as a resource. He also states that the laptops help to keep him more organized.
Another steadfast advocate of going paperless is Latin teacher Richard Wojewodzki. Wojewodzski stated that through the social technologies, the movement toward the future has led us to a “dynamic paragon,” and as of two years ago, all of Wojewodzki’s students have been paperless.
In working toward his goal to “educate students for the century they are going to live in,” Wojewodzki started a website, www.teachpaperless.com. Since February 2009, he has been blogging on this site every day.
Though there are fans of the new paperless policy among the faculty, Spanish teacher Jennifer Medrano is not as supportive. “I think that there are good things about it, but in some contexts it makes my life as a teacher more tedious.”
In Medrano’s opinion, students “need to be speaking and interacting with others,” as opposed to sitting behind a computer. But, Medrano notes that being paperless has had its benefits. Students can go to her website to find homework assignments. The website also allows absent students to be prepared for the next class.
Senior Amber Cook has found that in some classes, like Spanish 4 with teacher Danica Zavodny, her computer is necessary. She uses the technology to take quizzes on Quia, and OneNote is used for taking notes and doing class work assignments. Cook declared, “Honestly, I like paper better, but the stuff we have done in Spanish, we have needed [the laptops]. It is what it is.”
Zavodny affirms these sentiments. She said, “I am not really passing any paper out.” Instead, handouts are found on her website, and students can download them onto their own computers. However, students still turn in some written assignments on paper. Zavodny also says that she uses Quia, “maybe once a week” in all of her classes for drills and review exercises.
Sophomore Tyler Beard acknowledged that using his laptop has some benefits, “It’s good because you don’t have as many books.”
Freshman Megan Tobias pointed out other beneficial uses, “I take notes in OneNote. I check e-mails, teacher websites, and PowerSchool.” Even though she utilizes her laptop every day, like most students, she still uses a paper planner.
Senior Macie Wedra, however, thinks the new policy is “unrealistic,” but admitted, “it is a good idea in theory.” While some teachers are trying to enforce the new policy, Wedra observed, “People use paper anyway.”
This disregard for the new rule is stressful for students who now have to be prepared for classes with both their laptops and paper. Wedra remarked, “Now [students] are using both [paper and laptops]. It is just too much.”
With paper still being widely used, people may begin to wonder whether or not the going green movement is just another passing trend. Wedra firmly believes, “It’s just a fad.”
Powell disagrees, stating that going green will last. However, he does not think that it will be for environmental benefits. He cites large organizations that are “scanning documents to clear space and get rid of rental [costs].” Powell believes that eventually the world will drop the facade of caring about the environment, but for now, “[It’s] cool to care about the environment so [organizations] can push green solutions.”
Caitie Beth Shauck can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.