Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Paperless Classroom...What, How & Why

I was fortunate enough to have attended EdCamp Social Studies this past weekend at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA.  As part of the organizing team for the event it was both a nerve wracking experience and proud moment to see so many people from all over the country show up on their own time and money to attend the unconference.

Many are writing and tweeting about their take-away from the event, mine came in a session on the Paperless Classroom that was facilitated by @shawnmccusker.  Most of the discussion revolved around workflow for a paperless classroom (Google Docs, Evernote, BigCampus, etc...).  Some of the discussion was focused on devices and the varied experience that may exist in a laptop classroom as opposed to an iPad classroom and logically the discussion progressed to how to teach in a 1:1 classroom.

Well into the discussion I remembered a TEDx Talk that I saw over a year ago by Simon Sinek, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action."  The talk has always resonated in my memory and influences a great deal of the professional development I run and my philosophy towards technology integration.


What struck me about this talk and has caused it to stick in my memory is how simple the idea is and yet, it is often overlooked.  Too often in an attempt to integrate technology into our classrooms, we start with the "What", proceed to the "How" and rarely get to the "Why". Here is "what" we are going to do today, this is "how" we are going to do it...and oh yeah, this is "why" it matters...if we are lucky we get to the why.

How about we get to the "why" more often.  Instead of started with what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, lets consider why are are doing it in the first place.


  1. The why? Has really started to dominate my thinking in the last few days. I am eager to attend our upcoming 1:1 meetings. I have a series of new questions to ask. I think you hit the nail on the head. We should know why we are making the move not just asking how we can do it.

  2. I realized when I asked the question in your paperless session at EdCampSS that is immediately struck a cord with you as the discussion started to shift in an entirely different direction. It is a critical question to ask, and one that is often overlooked. Yet, it is clearly the best place to start. I hope your thought process is clarified and the implementation of 1:1 at your school is improved because of the simple question, Why?