Congratulations to the winners of CDW Canada's 2010 Teaching with Technology Contest
Grand Prize Winner #2: Stephanie Ratti
Redstone Public School, Richmond Hill, Ont.
The Paperless Classroom
by Stephanie Ratti

Being "eco" friendly is becoming a global vision. So, could an institution notorious for paper consumption help the environment? Is the paperless classroom a thing of science fiction or could it truly work in 2010?

Place: Redstone Public School

Time: September 2010

Grade: 7/8

The first day of school is always filled with excitement, but our classroom was somehow different. There was a Smartboard mounted on the wall and the perimeter of the classroom had charging stations, with laptops waiting patiently to be used. There were no notebooks, pencils or erasers neatly lined up on our desks. What was going on here???

Welcome to our paperless classroom, our teachers announced. You can imagine our surprise when we were told we could use our own technology in the classroom. No longer would we have to hide our cell phones or iPods. We nearly fell off our seats when the teacher asked us to use our iPods to do a quick Wikipedia search to help activate our background knowledge about the invention of the computer. What fun! In our small groups, we quickly had a multitude of information to discuss. This is sooo cool.

Just when we thought nothing new could be revealed, the teacher asked us to use our cell phones to complete a survey about this year's classroom rules. We texted our responses to the poll questions and a graph appeared on the Smartboard; we could see how the class felt about different issues instantly. We used to create a cool poster of our classroom's promise and posted it on our door - meaningful art to be proud of!

Throughout September the class learned how to use Web 2.0 applications, such as Capzles and Blabberizer, to create responses to reading. Our creative writing is always published on a variety of Web 2.0 sites, so that others can enjoy our work. When we write it is for a real audience and that is motivating! It is always energizing to be in our classroom. Our textbooks are available online and we have a classroom Moodle and Twitter site to stay in constant communication with each other. When we use the same technology for both playing and learning, it makes the hard work of reaching our educational goals much more fun. Sometimes we're having so much fun we don't even realize we are learning!

Our paperless classroom is 21st century learning! We use computers to find, analyse, create and distribute information. We are well prepared to enter the workplace of the future because of this awesome experience. How in the world are we going to return to paper and pencil next year??? Our friends are already so jealous that we have so much technology in our classroom and they have very little.

New equipment would help us extend this paperless classroom from pilot project to a reality for many students in our school. How many more students can we engage through technology? With help from contests like this, the possibilities are endless.

Teaching with Technology prize winner Stephanie Ratti, CDW Canada's J.D. Hupp and Grade 7/8 class at Redstone Public School
CDW Canada's J.D. Hupp presents teacher Stephanie Ratti with a Teaching With Technology prize bundle J.D. Hupp presenting to Grade 7/8 class at Redstone Public School Redstone Public School student with Teaching With Technology prize bundle
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