Go paperless: What can be stored in the “cloud”

Going paperless – is it a dream or a real possibility? Paperless classroom saves not only paper and money but also time you spend on photocopying. It allows you to store materials and student evidence on online platforms  and makes them more accessible for students. It gives students an opportunity for  collaboration and peer-to-peer feedback. The benefits of a paperless class are discussed in more detail here. So, what exactly can be stored in the “cloud”?

 

Materials and resources for students

I use G-drive to store and share the materials I will/might use for a range of subjects. The folders can store all types of documents including links to some useful websites. Below, a quick look at two folders – Preparing to work and Living in Scotland. Setting up folders and subfolders is really easy. You can upload files by drag-and-drop, uploading a single file or a folder. Students can view and download the materials but they can’t edit them. What I like about G-drive is the fact that it shows thumbnails. A small thing but changes dramatically the whole experience. My “digital natives” prefer app-looking interface to the linear one offered by platforms like Moodle or Easyclass. The materials can be accessed on mobile devices as well.

Folder for teachers

Also, on G-drive, Jane, my colleague teaching NC4, and I share a folder with materials, resources and admin, just for us. Obviously, students don’t have access to this folder. The assessments tasks are password protected.

Planner

I have been using Planbook since 2013. It is a paid platform ($15.00 a year) but it’s worth every penny spent on it. You will pay less if you buy a 2 or 3-year subscription. Plus, they offer you a free trial month to check if this platform will work for you. You can create online plans for the whole year and transfer them to the following years. You can upload a class list and create gradebooks for students as well as notes and reports on their performance. You can export your plans and keep them as a live pdf. You can embed pictures, blogs or videos in your lesson plans. You can also share it with other teachers. There is much more Planbook offers so, if you are interested, go through a range of tutorials here.

Students can see a “student view” planbook on their phones or tablets. They have access to lesson plans, all materials used including handouts, worksheets, links and homework. See an example of the week they can see. You can limit the viewing to a week or two with access to the previous weeks.

Students’ own folders

 

Student evidence

By student evidence I understand the record of their work (classwork + homework+self-study) as well as the assessment evidence (only if possible plus, preferably, encrypted or password protected). Student evidence can cover a range offormats – writing, visuals, e-portfolia, audio and video recordings, or links to students’ blogs/websites. This can all (or almost all) be stored in the cloud. No more need to keep folders bursting with students’ writing. If possible (I’m saying “if possible” because some assessments for example need to be handwritten and stay as hard copies), handwritten work can be camscanned (more about the tool here) and uploaded to G-drive or another platform of your choice. Below, images of different types of evidence stored in G-drive.

 

Student evidence can be displayed and/or stored  on other collaborative platforms such as Popplet – click here  (you will need to zoom + to see it properly; the padlet is not editable anymore but the links are still live) or Padlet. See below padlet with evidence of students’ work placement records.

Made with Padlet

If hard copies are necessary, you can easily export the evidence from both platform as pdf or an image. See below:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://hybridclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/remake-padlet-3.pdf” title=”remake padlet”]

[pdf-embedder url=”https://hybridclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Brian-Cox-3.pdf” title=”Brian Cox”]

Feedback

 

There is a range of planners on the market. I’ll be looking into them in more detail later but for the time being links to the best planning platfomrs:

  • Planbookedu – very similar to Planbook; simple and very user friendly. Free version is fine but if you want more features you have to pay $25.00 a year.
  • Planbookplus – version similar to Planbook costs $25.00. There is also a master version with a range of excellent features such as interactive assesssments etc. It costs $35.00. Video here.
  • Common Curriculum – an excleent tool for planning lessons and units. Very good for team work planning and standards tracking. You can post your lessons on class website created by the platform. The free version is limited to lesson planning though.
  • Monday.com – good for team or project work planning
  • Planboard – you can grade your students’ work and mark their attendance as well. Free for individual students. The lessons and/or materials can be shared with students/teachers as pdf.
  • Standards Planner – not ideal as a standard calendar based planner but very good for planning units or lessons. Linked to platforms such as G-Drive, Khan Academy or CK-12.
  • Ogment – watch the video here.

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Written by 

ESOL teacher at Edinburgh College