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No Paper Please. But What?

My Twitter friend Barbara Radisavljevic recently responded to my blog post “If I Were in Charge.” In this post, one of the points that I made was that I would get rid of textbooks. I am hoping that my friends and readers will offer some responses. I’m definitely interested in what you have to say.

From Barb:

I always enjoy reading what you write, and it always makes me think. I know we are in the midst of a great transition in education, and I can’t help but wonder how it will affect my business, which will have to change with it. I sell paper versions of workbooks and reproducible educational materials. I am wondering how long teachers will still be using these. When I was teaching we would have given anything to have such materials instead of typing ditto masters for everything. The technology available today wasn’t even dreamed of when I taught in the late 1960’s. The excellent teachers do the best with what they have and make up the rest.

I see that the educational publishers who are my suppliers, Evan-Moor, Steck-Vaughn, Creative Teaching Press, Teacher Created Materials, Edupress, Educational Impressions, Frank Schaffer, Scholastic, Garlic, and such, all seem to be trying to keep up with the latest state and national standards, and they are continuing to offer new products 2-4 times a year. What does the future look like for such materials, in your opinion? It seems if these were expected to be obsolete in a matter of a couple of years, they would not continue to make research-based updates. Some are beginning to offer software products and eBooks, but most of them still focus on paper materials. Now it seems the direction is free on-line resources. Is there still a place for the kind of materials these publishers continue to produce in the modern tech-savy classroom?

I would appreciate your input and that of your readers.

So, what are your thoughts? What would you want to replace traditional paper materials? I’m holding my thoughts for a little while. Will post soon. Curious about what my readers have to say!


Photo by Oberazzi

6 Responses

  1. From @schoolworm

    Today I learned that some schools are collaborating with google.docs to submit projects to teachers

  2. From @luvnteachin

    Interesting. I’m not convinced that an elem. school can go totally paperless but I don’t know why so hows that non answer for ya

  3. In every technological change there are winners and losers. Barb, you are likely to be a winner because you are thinking about how your industry is changing and asking important questions.

    I am environmentally conscious. I recycle, compost and use compact fluorescent light bulbs in every socket that will take them. I drive the most fuel efficient car that will meet the most essential of my needs. I worry about pollution, disappearing species and the deforestation of the planet.

    But I LOVE paper. I love the heft of the different weights, the textures of different grades, the range of colors and purposes for its use. I love how one book on a crowded library or bookstore shelf will grab my attention and draw me to it in a way that a book on a kindle can’t.

    Oh, I get very excited about new technology, but that new stuff becomes out of date so quickly. Paper is more durable in its own impermanent way. But if educational publishers have to change their material frequently they should do so online. I shudder at the end of the term when I dispose of disposable workbooks with most of the pages untouched.

    IIf we don’t think about how and why we use paper it will continue to get more expensive and, eventually, scarcer. When something can be done more efficiently, more effectively online that is clearly the way to go so that those pieces of paper more thrilling than 20lb bright or newsprint are still available and accessible.

  4. From @futureofedu

    Classrooms will be full of self-directed creators of new knowledge that are inspired to learn. Just typing that makes me smile.

    PS: That makes me smile too 🙂

  5. […] Host Put in motion the start of my website’s design Bought content for ebook Started research No Paper Please. But What? – keepingkidsfirst.wordpress.com 04/17/2009 My Twitter friend Barbara Radisavljevic recently […]

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