Sunday 8 June 2008

Does ‘Less Paper’ mean Paperless?

Islay High has been mentioned twice in this weeks Times Educational Supplement Scotland (TESS).

One was Vox Pop interview with a media studies teacher in the school, Gavin Ritchie. I suspect Gav will be getting teased mercilessly in the staff room tomorrow. Not because what he is reported saying but the image they used of him is awful!

One thing thing I will be asking him is whether he used the words ‘paperfree school’. We are most definitely not paperfree. Even the Guardian Education article was called “Is the paperfree school in sight?”

In the other article ‘Bin hard copies to save money’, Islay’s savings from being “paperless” was quoted.

While I appreciate the acknowledgment of the work that everyone is doing to make our ICT project sustainable, I think that the terms used do not help.

We are striving to use less paper but at no stage have I or any of the staff (At least not without sarcasm) used the these terms. Its is very clear that we are trying to shift from paper being used most of the time to using digitised material predominately. This is nothing like being “paperfree” or “paperless”.

These are distractions to what we are trying to do. Even the use of the technology is a distraction to the fundamental changes that the technology allows. They UMPC’s are conduits to the curriculum not a replacement to the curriculum.

During the approach to the exams a lot of pupils were asking for printed notes for revision. This I can understand. Nothing like spreading the paper out around you. The solution I recommended for English was that they make up their own study notes from the electronic notes. Use it as an exercise for study in itself. These were then printed out for the individuals involved but even then they still used the UMPC’s to search notes, watch scenes, listen to plays as well as have the study notes.

So, my question for you to answer is does the media fixation on the devices or idea of paperless help or hinder?


Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate when the media grab hold of a term and don't seem to let go. It would be entirely innappropriate to be 'paperless' - there are numerous areas in the curriculum that quite frankly need paper.

On the plus side, it's good that people are talking about what you are doing in the school - the more people that hear your point about 'tools to access the curriculum' the better! :-)

Rebecca said...

I think that the one good thing about the media is that it does serve to put the concepts into the public awareness; the more input we have into the debate about e-learning the better.

The problem is that absolutly everyone equates "paper-less" with paper free and as we all know this is not the case.

At the end of it all, the media need to sell stories and the idea of a paperless school sound so much better than the idea of a paper reducing school.

Or am I bering cynical?

islayian said...

I don't think you are being cynical Rebecca but I do think they are.
PS I like the Blog and have added it to my feeds