How To Create A Paperless Classroom With Your iPad

How To Create A Paperless Classroom With Your iPad

Update: Some of the feedback we are getting (an example of which you can see below in the comments section) is suggesting you might need certain rights for this to work–namely access to Google Apps in Education, and District admin rights. We will update this post when we find out more specific information, but it seems that the majority of this workflow is relevant to simple access to Google Docs/Drive itself. Please share in the comments any experience you might have.)

The idea of a paperless classroom is not new.

In fact, there was recently one very good blog, TeachPaperless, dedicated to this very idea. In short, the idea promotes not just a reduction of paper and other physical resources, but rather a more efficient workflow, quicker communication, improved access to learning materials, seamless digital portfolios, and more naturally connected student-teacher-student networks.

When iPads came out, many laypersons assumed they’d simply replace textbooks, but any teacher worth their salt knew this was a bad idea. As iPad competitors like the Google Nexus series Android tablets sort themselves out as viable solutions for teachers and students, the idea of a truly paperless classroom, for better or for worse, is truly within our collective reach. (Well, besides most forms of state testing, On-Demand writing, and the millions of students without access to adequate technology, but that’s another matter entirely.)

For everyone else, there is opportunity to give it a shot, and the infographic below from (and based, in part, on Sam Gliksman’s excellent iPad in Education for Dummies book) offers a step-by-step (and fairly well-detailed) summary of how to get started with a paperless classroom. Though the title emphasizes iPad compatibility, it can also work with Chromebooks, Android tablets, Windows PCs, and any other hardware that can access Google’s productivity suite.ipad-paperless-workflow-for-teachers


How To Create A Paperless Classroom With Your iPad


    • To sign in to Google Apps I’m assuming? But teachers can still use the rest of the process, yes? It looks like it’s primarily using Google Docs to share and edit documents.

  • I also tried implementing this method but found it fairly laborious and strict in terms of what you can share meaning it lacks a sense of innovation and creativity.

    I found a solution that allows you to share different types of learning resources which can be created specifically for a topic and are aimed to promote effective learning. Mind Maps, Flashcards and other learning resources can be shared via a group and similar to using Gmail, it’s a free service:

  • @Mary, Strict in terms of what you can share? If you share a folder, then anything you can put in a folder can be shared. Teachers could easily upload common things like .pdf files, image files, video files, doc files, spreadsheet files, and presentation files to a shared folder. Laborious? Teachers upload a file to a folder they shared with their students. Done. Students upload the finished assignment or resource to a folder shared with the teacher. Done. I call that simple and easy.

    @Jon, You only need domain access IF you have young children AND you want to restrict their access to the actual email app. Something like that is likely to be used in elementary, but perhaps not in upper education. Otherwise anyone with a gmail address can share a folder and resources with anyone else at anytime without any other associations or district admin credentials

    I can login in to my private non school gmail account right now and create a shared folder. I can then add any other gmail user in the world and grant them access to that folder and anything inside it. When they login to their gmail account and access google drive, they will have my folder visible in their list of folders and files. They can grab my shared resources and make copies if they want. If I have granted them read and write access, they can edit and add files as well. When people have gmail accounts, sharing and collaborating is fundamental to the google docs feature set.

  • I’m an elementary school art teacher in a 1:1 school. I am looking for a way for students to turn in digital art they create on their iPads. I’ll give your method a try!

  • Just started using GAFE. Gmail e-mail is block STATEwide where I teach. How do you add students to the shared permission without mail/contacts in gmail? Do you physically have to type all names in one by one?

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