Advantages and Disadvantages

April 9, 2008

Now that we’ve read a little bit about the possibilities of Paperless Classrooms (P/C) lets talk about some advantages and disadvantages. Below is a light article that talks about some advantages and disadvantages. Also let’s refer back to Richardson’s “Blogs, Wikis, Podcastm, and Other Powerful Tools for Classroom” pages 22-23, which talks about Online Filing Cabinets and some benefits of a paperless classroom.

After reading consider the following:

Why do you think students would be more (or less) attracted to this type of learning? Also, keep in mind some of the problems that you have personally encountered with technology and how as teacher in a P/C we could deal with these issues!


J& K Productions.




  1. First, I just want to point out that the reading in Richardson might be starting to change my mind a little about the paperless classroom. I think I am leaning more towards it! As Richardson points out, Weblogs do not let students “misplace their work” (23). It also allows students to have “all of their work organized in one place,” and easy to share with others such as parents “counselors, mentors, and peers”(23).

    I think that students would be more attracted to this type of learning because technology is something fun and a large part of their generation. It will also catch and keep their attention because teachers can do so many interesting things with technology. I know that when I was in High School, I was so engaged when the teacher would use the projector to show us a demonstration or a website online. Technology was something fun and new that I was interested in seeing more of in the classroom. I was looking at this website: http://www.cyber-prof.com/Articles/article-technology-in-classroom1.htm
    It points out that “visual aids and any thing that can help clarify the point will make teaching the lesson easier for the teacher.” While it will be easier for the teacher to use technology, it will also benefit the students and, in turn, keep them voluntarily and happily engaged.

    Some problems that I have with technology are that I don’t always understand it, and it can sometimes malfunction. As “The Paperless Classroom” article points out, “students may not have the computer skills or be uncomfortable using a computer to complete class assignments.” This would be a big problem. It could be solved by offering learning sessions about technology or thoroughly discussing it in the classroom beforehand. As far as malfunctioning, it is something we cannot necessarily prevent. As teachers, we can always have a backup plan or an alternative lesson ready just in case the technology portion won’t work.

  2. lol I put a link to this article in my last post.
    The disadvantages with the paperless classroom stem from the fact that it is unproven. It is such a new technology that replacing the proven paper copies would seem unwise. I disagree with the authors claim;”students may not have the computer skills or be uncomfortable using a computer to complete class assignments”. I feel like computers are becoming so user friendly that anybody (the youth are especially proficient) can learn to operate them. The way computers can store information and connect students reconceived the notion of paper copies. Though paper copies will always have their place, a “paperless” ideal has numerous advantages to outweigh them.

  3. I agree with Stacia, that students would be attracted to this type of learning because it is a part of their generation. The more interactive and fun we can make learning for our students the better.Our students will have grown up using the internet & computers.

    In Richardson’s arguement he mentions that “the dog never eats it; it’s either in the blog or not” well what happens in the power goes out for that family? (23) or their internet is down? that creates an entirely new form of excuses. I know a few times, I’ve posted something on the blog, (or at least I thought I had) and the server restarted halfway through and all my information was lost.

    By going p/c students might be turning in their work or taking quizzes online, and an entirely new form of cheating can occur. I remember taking mastery quizzes in psych online …and so many times students would have other students log in and take their quiz for them or use the internet to their advantage to cheat. Cheating is a potential problem for teachers to ty to prevent. This article I found http://www.ion.illinois.edu/Resources/pointersclickers/1999_12.html suggests some ways that online we can prevent them in a p/c classroom. They suggest “Deliver test/quizzes “orally” through chat. Meet with students individually online and test/quiz them on course content. You can explore depth as well of breadth of your students’ knowledge and understanding of the concepts” along with other ideas and websites.

    I think having the ability to go paperless is a huge advantage if the resources are available in the school to do so and the teachers are educated about technology.

  4. Like Stacia and Bree pointed out, paperless classrooms may be more appealing to this generation rather than the more traditional hand outs. As the article states, “A paperless environment has many advantages. First, by relying on electronic media to enhance presentations, students’ interest can be heightened.” I had never thought about this in the sense that lessons could become more interesting and attractive for students, rather than having them sitting there listening to a boring lecture. However, one disadvantage that the article explained sparked my interest and completely stated my exact concern with a paperless classroom. It says, “Second, students may not be able to learn from a computer and have to print out all materials, which they may find inconvenient and expensive.” That’s how I feel here, when professors require you to print out 20 pages or more, when we pay enough tuition for them to print the material out by using the school’s materials.

    Although the point of how students could give their undivided attention to the lesson without having to take notes was listed as an advantage, I am going to have to disagree with it. I think that is enabling them to just sit there and day dream. I know that I am guilty of this, even when I am taking notes, but providing high school students with notes is asking for trouble. Besides that, I think that taking notes in class force you to pay better attention and helps to reinforce the information that you are learning about. I would consider a paperless classroom by using a technological technique for lectures, but I would still require my students to take notes during class, rather than them just clicking and printing, which requires no thinking skills at all.

    Of course using a paperless classroom would present problems with technology because it does not always cooperate properly. But being flexible and always having a back-up plan could eliminate these problems. My mom, who works in my old high school, told me about a graduate student who attends here, planned a powerpoint presentation to her class, and the technology wasn’t working correctly. This student teacher had to improvise and come up with something for her students to do, since her original plan was not going to be successful. It just goes to show that with technology you always need to be prepared for the what ifs…

  5. I think that students would be more attracted to this type of learning because it involves the computer. Similar to what Stacia, Breeyn, and Ashley have said, as time goes on, children are using the computer at younger ages, and know how to use them. I think that in the future, students will have no problem using technology and paperless classrooms will be easier and more desirable than they sound. Also, people use the computer all the time! Students will feel comforted knowing that their assignments and texts. lie in a trusty friend, the computer. However, this can be a disadvantage because students might be too preoccupied with AIM or Facebook that they won’t pay attention to the task at hand. I guess that is the same with regular textbooks. I agree with the article that says with advantages there are always disadvantages. Nothing is perfect. What do you think?

    People always encounter problems with technology. When Stacia and I moderated, I know others had trouble signing on to del.icio.us and furl. As a teacher in a p/c, they have to know what they are using (tech. wise) and be available for assistance. In some cases, they have to be lenient. Certain things happen that we have no control over. Also, p/c teachers need backup. Recently at my observation, my class was using the computer to do research. One of the sites they needed was not working, so my host teacher had another one available on the spot. In order for our students to do their homework, we have to do ours.


  6. The websites you guys are posting are really good. Everyone is right, Paperless classrooms are very new and that is a definite disadvantage, but hopefully with a brave generation like ours, we will be able to try new things such as blogging and wiki-ing.


    PS. I hope I am not posting the blogs too quickly for you guys–I just want to have them up for everyone in the morning.

  7. This is the same website I used to respond to your last question. I think the pros and cons that it provides are pretty relevant. On of the main disadvantages I find the article to address that are very important is the reliaility of technology. Drawing back to Chris Johnston’s presentation on the use of technology in his classroom, the thing that immediately sticks out to me is when he designed a class test on the computer. I thought it was a great idea! But then, when he tried to give the test, all the lap tops went down. As a way to prevent this, I think it’s imperitive that teacher’s devise “bacup plans” for these situations. Take a look at this site:


    Tina says, “To me, it seemed that people were a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of letting go. As a teacher in a computer classroom, I always had a backup plan for when there was a hardware failure. It surprised me that the teachers couldn’t imagine living in a paperless environment.”

    This idea of “letting go” in the classroom means you need to think out of the box and be ready when things don’t go as planned. Yes, a paperless classroom IS possible, but with the good comes the bad, and teachers need to realize that peperless classrooms means the same amount of work as paperfilled classrooms. -Aut

  8. I think that students would be attracted to this type of classroom because it seems more fun to surf the web for your assignments than it does to look at handed out worksheets. Here is an example I found of a classroom in Kentucky that has gone paperless. They have their own website! the site is http://www.paperlessclassroom.org

    On the other hand, I think that some students might not like this type of classroom because they may prefer having hard copies of things to take notes on and such. However, these students can just print out whatever they absolutely need, and the classroom will still be friendly to the earth!


  9. I think paperless classrooms definately attract students to learning. I think it is a great way to get students organized, engaged, and thinking critically. This is important and affective, because along with paperless classrooms comes the stress on students to make sure that the information they are finding is credible and reliable.

    Check out this website: http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech059.shtml

    Although, a paperless classroom is a great idea. I beleive that some students may veer away from this type of education. It may not appeal to all different types of learners. However, there are ways to adjust the paperless classroom in order to meet the needs of every student!


  10. I think kids would be excited to use handheld computers at first. However, like any new technology, its exciting to use…at first. Then after awhile it is just the same old, same old. Kind of like what the English teacher from Lansing said about blogging. You have to know when to use it and when to stop using it.It is an addition to the rest. In the article provided, I especially thought how beneficial it was for the Chicago-Kent first year law-student to have all of their materials available on line,but I wonder if it was cheaper or not? AS a parent i love the idea that Richardson pointed out of having “an online portfolio”. As I have said before I cannot possibly keep all those wonderful writing pieces and works of art that mt kids do. This would really be nice if I could save them all on the computer and share with friends and family.
    One article I researched pointed out an aspect to this technology I hadn’t thought of–English Language Learners. A teacher found himself in a sticky situation with having to teach English to Spanish only speaking students. By using the hand held laptops, he could transform his lesson into Spanish and instantly connect to them. That’s pretty powerful, here’s his story:

  11. I always think about how I would feel about a paperless classroom at this point in my life, and I imagine feeling the need for something tangible to write on. So, this webpage that I found speaks about that students do want paper, which creates one of the few disadvantages about introducing more technology in the classroom.http://www.keller.com/dan/PaperlessClassroom.html

    However it also raises an interesting point about the paradigm shift it beholds upon the student. Rather than thinking in a linear form when using paper as a study tool, a student will think in a more “hierarchical” way just as information on a computer appears. This idea is similar to Richardson’s statement on how weblogs give student’s a better way of organizing information (23.) This structure allows students to group information and facts in multiple different catergories. For example, each education file on a computer may have several notes which are grouped according to significance. A book, howver, does not have the ability to distribute information like that. This idea of organizing information, however, may get tricky as it demands a great deal of skills for mentally filing information.

  12. The bottom line is that students are going to be more attracted to learning when technology is involved in any situation. It is something they have grown up with and will keep their interest. I honestly don’t see many faults in having a paperless classroom what so ever. I think that this is a great way to help our students become more organized and on top of their school work because they are constantly on the computer anyway and I also love the benefit of conserving resources for the environment as well! There are always going to be negative aspects of any new educational tool but we must look at the fact that the good out weighs the bad heavily. I’ve found a website that completely describes the paperless classroom, how to utilize it, the advantages and disadvantages as well.

    I know that sometimes we cannot always rely on technology because of rare malfunctions and technical problems but the good news is we always have the old fashioned way to complete an assignment to fall back on. As future teachers we should encourage our students to become completely paperless yet we should also stress that if an assignment is not going to be able to be submitted electronically because of technical problems then they must hand in their work written.

  13. The only true disadvantage I foresee for students in a totally paperless classroom is having to read off of screens at home. When in class for a couple of hours or less, two or three times a week, reading off of a screen is tolerable. But reading off of a screen every night for multiple subjects would surely be excruciating. On this website http://technologysource.org/article/from_paperless_classroom_to_deep_reading/
    I found this quote:
    “The term ‘paperless classroom’ could be used to encompass all the ways in which classes can be taught and managed using the latest technologies. However, most writers use it to refer to the management of classroom instruction: the collection, correction, returning, rewriting, and storage of assignments and records of attendance, examinations, and grading (Robb, 1997; Damery, 1998; Keller, 2001).”

    I agree with this statement wholly, and I think that a totally paperless classroom, especially if for multiple subjects, would be more harmful than helpful, and I think we should slowly blend the two styles together until a median is found.

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