I have officially come to detest paper. I’m at a faculty meeting and there’s a handout going around and my first thought is whether I can get this digitally, whether on ItsLearning or via email. It’s not an environmental thing; it’s an efficiency thing. Every piece of paper I get requires a decision and a place. With my iPad, neither applies: I can open it via email and, if it is only an immediate need, I can delete it with the email. If I want to save it, I can put it in iBooks. Even though things ‘pile up’ in iBooks, those piles are neither visually oppressive nor as difficult to reduce.

But paperless has its difficulties, mostly when dealing with those that are paperful, and that is both students and adults. Towards the end of first quarter I collected a number of projects: Medieval completed their Dante Travelogue projects, Archaeology their Greek Vase projects, and Classical their Summer Reading projects (ok, those weren’t collected at the end of the quarter). These are all projects that can be done electronically / paperless; the Greek vase project is done paperless in the online version of the archaeology class. But the majority of students decided to hand these projects in on paper. Those projects are graded but here is the accumulated paper / view:

This should not be the desk of a paperless teacher. So what to do? I have to be more aware that students are not as willing to be paperless as I want them to be. I also have to show them alternatives to paper submissions, even if they complete their project on paper: the Greek vase project requires paper / the construction of paper Greek vases, but my online students take pictures of their vases and submit the pictures rather than the vases themselves.

The other area that has proven more difficult is ebooks. I like ebooks; I like reading them, marking them up, having (all of) them with me wherever I go without having to dig a book out of my bag. But they also lead to device overload. I have my laptop hooked up to my projector, and sometimes I use my iPad to control that laptop and/or provide notes from around the classroom. If I’m doing that, though, that precludes my use of the iPad for an ebook (and toggling back and forth between iBooks and Splashtop / Doceri is at best cumbersome and at worse technically not feasible). Does that mean I need a second iPad (and I of course meaning every teacher if this is the direction we’re moving in)? Or do I sacrifice the mobility that the iPad provides in terms of notes and classroom management for the sake of the ebook. At this point, no question the former, but it’s a choice I didn’t anticipate having to make.

I love being paperless but perhaps I love it too much; I have come now to detest any paper handed to me. But it is a noble goal to go paperless, if for no other reason than the efficiency. I will continue to work at it. Any suggestions?