Here is part of the tower of paper I shredded at the end of the last school year:
It was a year’s collection of running records, assessment data, anecdotal notes and other documents used to track my students’ progress over the year. That was only a small part of my paper collection. I’d collected so much that it was hard to find my desk, buried under a mountain of paper.
So this year, I decided to go as paperless as I could.
Moving from paper to digital:
Every digital file I make is stored on Evernote. For student records, I created a folder for each student and grouped them together in a stack called “Student Records”.
Workflow for storing writing samples, tests and other paper documents
- iPad or iPhone
- CamScanner app
The CamScanner App is used from my iPad or iPhone to scan any documents students create on paper. CamScanner uses the camera to photograph the document and convert it to a searchable PDF. Once the document is scanned, I upload it from Evernote directly to the student’s notebook and give it a tag. Tagging allows me to search for the document in different ways. For example, using the tag ‘reading’ I can search within a student’s folder to find all their reading records, or I can search my entire student record stack to find reading records for the whole class.
Scanning a documents for a whole class does take time, I’m looking into purchasing a high-speed duplex scanner to help with this process.
Workflow for Running Records
When it’s time to assess a student, I open the PDF from my Dropbox account using Notability.
I use a stylus to annotate the reading record as the student reads, and the inbuilt microphone to record an audio track of them reading at the same time.
Notability won’t export directly to Evernote, however it does allow you to email documents, so I simply email the record to my Evernote account instead.
Workflow for Anecdotal notes, interview records etc.
Anecdotal records are easy to make using Evernote. I make notes directly into a student’s folder using the Evernote Apps on my iPad or iPhone or by logging into my Evernote account on any computer.
Now that my paperless system for storing records is up and running I’m continually finding more ways to use it. The iPhone camera is a great tool. I’ve used this to photograph student art works, take photographs and video students giving speeches or performing dances. These are emailed to my Evernote account and placed in student folders.
In addition to paperless record keeping, my teaching program is now entirely digital. I made a website using Weebly with different sections for the different subject areas. It took longer to set the program up than it would have with a paper program, but I find the productivity benefits of outweigh the costs. I can access my program any time and anywhere. I can easily share it with others. I also like the way digital programming allows me to link to resources that support my program.
Evernote is my new day book. I’ve set up a notebook for lesson plans and write them straight into Evernote, linking to resources as I go. I can quickly check my lesson plans from my iPhone and iPad, and share them with colleagues or with casual teachers on occasions where I’m not at school.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Aside from having a somewhat tidier desk, going paperless has been enormously beneficial.
I love that I now have access to student information anywhere and at any time
I love that I now have access to student information anywhere and at any time. I don’t need to carry boxes of documents back and forth with me, and writing reports will be a breeze. It’s been great for parent meetings. I’ve not only been able to show parents the reading records, but I’ve been able to play the recording so they can see and hear their child’s reading. Evernote’s searchabililty means that I feel far more organised. If I can’t find a document I simply search by a key word or a tag and find it again quickly. I’ve also found it great for sharing and working collaboratively with my colleagues.
What do you think about going paperless? Do you have any tips you can share? Let us know in the comments.