Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

How Is This Better Than Paper?

Using Digital Flowchart
How Is This Better Than Paper?

How Is This Better Than Paper?

Using digital tools is a shift in mindset. Technology allows for interactions that were difficult or impossible before.

Using Digital Flowchart

Link to flowchart

Ask the Question

How is this digital task BETTER than using paper?

If you don’t ask “how can I make this better” then it won’t be better.

Things To Add

[tweet]Being paperless does not increase student engagement or improve learning. [/tweet]

Immediate Feedback

If the computer can grade it, it should.

Instead of a digital worksheet try a digital tool that gives the student immediate feedback on their answers. Try this “Football scrimmage” on Quia to practice rational numbers. Notice the student is told after each question whether or not they were correct. This is very motivating and students do not practice wrong. Google Forms allows you to turn in self-grading quizzes in the settings. However, I prefer something that provides feedback question by question rather than a summary at the end.


How can students collaborate on the document? Google Apps in G Suite are designed around collaboration but many other products facilitate collaboration also. Check out Explain Everything for iPad collaboration.


How are students able to display creative thinking in the activity? One tip is to allow students to choose the medium. They choose the app. Check out how Matthew Farber let his students choose the Bitmoji app to demonstrate their learning.


Are students turning in work only to the teacher or do they have an authentic audience? Will there be peer evaluation? How can they share and receive feedback from others on what they have done?


How does the technology allow for higher quality feedback than just a grade or notes left in the margin of a document? As much as is possible, providing students feedback while they are working on something increases the learning potential and motivation. After the due date, students learn less from feedback than if it was given before the due date. One advantage of Google Classroom and Google Docs is the ability to move away from comments to conversations.


How are students actively engaging with the technology beyond just writing down answers? Look for opportunities for students to explore ideas. Using web tools such as Desmos or Geogebra students can explore ideas rather than simply memorize them.

Collect Data

Tech that collects and summarizes data helps you to better target student needs and to adjust lessons more quickly.


What choices do students have? Giving students choices aids in differentiation and gives students a sense of a locus of control. Technology makes it easier than ever to provide students choice.


Edutopia is an excellent resource for learning new things about teaching. Check out their list of articles for teachers who are new to tech.

Google Apps Training

https://www.google.com/edu/teacher/ is a great resource for finding training materials on how to teach with Google Apps in G Suite.

1 thought on “How Is This Better Than Paper?

  1. Alice,
    I like to give my students formative assessments with feedback as well. I like Socrative for this reason. Depending on the settings you choose, it will let them know if they are correct or not, and you can even provide an explanation as to why the correct answer is the right choice.

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