The first session that I am blogging here at SITE 2017 related to K-12 Online and Blended Learning is:
Paperless Classroom: the Teacher’s Perspective
Presider: Miri Shonfeld, Kibbutzim College and MOFET, Israel
This article is the second part of a study which examined how teachers and students deal with “paperless” learning and teaching and how this policy is implemented in a “paperless school “. The article presents the findings relating to the teacher’s aspect. The qualitative research tool for the study was semi-structured interviews of the 12 participants. The major categories were derived from the interviews which dealt with the teachers’ perspective of the following areas: The rationale of learning in a paperless classroom; Methods used by teachers to implement a paperless classroom; Benefits of technology; Technology challenges; Teaching and learning challenges in this environment; Teachers’ coping with paperless learning. The presenters will discuss the results of the study in comparison to the literature review and other reports of paperless classroom schools.
As this was a small group, the presenter began by having the audience introduce themselves. The research was conducted in a middle school environment, where the researchers looked at the student perspectives and the teacher perspectives. At the last SITE conference, the presenter indicated that she presented on the student perspective – which were that the students generally liked the paperless classroom, but there was a group of students – for the most part lower performing students or special education students – that did not enjoy having all of their materials electronically.
The session this year focused on the teacher perspectives. The research questions included:
- Can we assume that teachers in a school that emphasis innovation and technology will present an innovative way of teaching?
- What is their perspective? Is there a change?
According to the literature, the paperless classroom is designed to create a more innovative environment that fosters social interaction, as well as provide more individual instruction to students.
The sample included 12 teachers, most of whom had been something else in a previous career (i.e., teaching was a second career) and had Master’s degrees).
The teachers talked about the efficiency of the paperless classroom and the importance of using this kind of medium in terms of preparing the students for the future. In terms of their teaching strategies, they indicated in the interviews that they used independent learning, collaborative learning, individual learning, flipped classroom, adaptive learning, and media integrated into teaching. In terms of the technology used, the teachers reports that they used simulations, worksheets, 3D, games, video clips, Google Maps, and several others that I didn’t get due to my typing speed.
In terms of the challenges, they indicated that having long texts electronically made it more difficult to read. They also indicated that the writing process was more challenging due to the paperless environment – particularly with typing skills. There were additional distractions, as well as the potential for information overload and technical problems, when using the paperless classroom.