Printing is a major expense for our district. Since all staff members have a device and students in most grades have a device, we should be taking advantage of ways to share and edit resources digitally instead of printing and making copies of documents. Here are some ideas:
Take full advantage of the sharing and collaboration features within GSuite.
Google Drive provides unlimited storage for all of your stuff. That’s great, but what’s even better is that you can share anything in Google Drive with anyone else. You can share individual files or entire folders. Even better, you and those with whom you share can edit these files collaboratively with the GSuite apps. Taking advantage of these features should reduce your printing dramatically.
Provide feedback to students via Comments in Google Docs instead of on paper.
If you are a teacher who grades lots of writing (e.g. essays, terms papers, Night Writes), your first instinct when providing feedback for students might be to print out all of this writing and use a red pen to grade and comment. Instead, try having students do their writing in Google Docs and turn this in via Google Classroom. Use the Comments feature in Google Docs to avoid all of that printing.
Comments are like Post-it notes in the document in which you can include suggestions for correcting or improving the writing. Students also have a Resolve button, which they can use to let you know that they have made the change that you recommended. You can’t do that with pen and paper. Having students use Google Docs also gives them access to the Spelling tool, the Explore tool, and other Add-ons. It can also allow students to read and comment on each other’s writing through peer review.
Here is a great demo of using comments in Google Docs by Daniel Bennett.
Scan and send documents instead of making copies.
When I have a document that I need to send to another person, I rarely make a paper copy. More often than not, I use one of our copy machines to scan and send via email. Take a look at this video to learn how:
I also frequently scan documents with my iPhone, upload the scans to Google Drive, and then share or email the documents to the recipient. For this, I use an app on my iPhone called Scanner Pro. It’s great because the scans I do are automatically uploaded to my Google Drive. From there, I can share directly with others through Drive or attach to a Gmail message. Scanner Pro costs $3.99, but it’s worth every penny. Other free apps will perform the same function, including Microsoft’s Office Lens.
Use Google Classroom to share resources in one convenient location.
Anyone can use Google Classroom to share resources. The things you share with students this way cannot be lost like paper handouts, so students and their parents can access anytime online. We even have school leaders that are using Classroom to share with other staff members.
Classroom is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with GSuite. Instead of making copies of documents and handing them out to people who will likely use them for a short period of time and then lose or forget about them, put everything you want to share into your online Classroom. Here is a short video to show you how to get started: