We like to talk about going paperless. It’s kind of our bread and butter.
But in this conversation, we noticed that examples often center around classrooms covering the humanities. No shortage of example writing projects. Plenty of creative ideas for social studies students. Lots of discussion ideas for literature or film courses.
Where’s the STEM love? And what does it look like when a science or math classroom goes digital?
While science and math classrooms are 100% eligible to move toward a more paperless classroom - maybe even one that uses a flipped or blended model - the unique demands of these subjects make it tougher to go all in.
But we come bearing solutions for STEM classrooms. There are plenty of tools in our toolbox that make it possible to assign, submit, grade, and share resources without feeling limited by subject matter. Let’s give you the STEM tour.
Snapshot it: The elephant in the room: does using a paperless platform for algebra or calculus homework make sense if it takes a student twice as long to type out his or her work? It sure doesn’t if forcing students to tap out formulas and equations becomes a monstrous time suck.
To that we say: sure, grab a pencil. Allow students to do work in whatever way makes the most sense. But we’ll use our paperless platform cut out the part where you have to collect the homework and double check that everyone turned it in. Our new app let’s students submit work with a photo. You get a high-res PDF and Chalkup automatically tracks who has and has not turned in assignments.
Digital platforms should give you more convenience, opportunity, and flexibility. They should never be a burden.
Gading: Bonus round on STEM homework. Once submitted, Chalkup’s inline annotator allows you to comment or draw on the document.
So you can still circle or write in the proper solution via your laptop or tablet just as you would on paper.
Embeddable resources: There are definitely some areas in which STEM classrooms are actually a better fit for digital platforms than other subjects. This is one of them.
The resource-sharing potential on paperless platforms is awesome. We allow for rich media on our discussion threads; all you need is an embed code. This means it’s easy to share a physics tutorial from Khan Academy or treat your students to a science love song via the guys at AsapScience.
See? These are the videos you could be sharing with your students each week.
Paperless platforms up the ante on staying in touch and sharing new ways to understand your lesson. It won’t limit your ability to perform awesome experiments in class. It’s just one more opportunity to reach students outside of school with something engaging, interesting, and informative.
Help is on the way: Last digital plug for STEM classrooms - it’s so much easier to ask for help. When classes stay in touch with a digital platform, there is a clear way to reach a classmate or instructor for help when work has a student stuck.
We want to unstick students.
Maybe this looks like sending a quick message to a teacher, or perhaps it’s starting a discussion thread and asking anyone in class for a hand. We’ve seen this result in students reading chapters together and throwing questions on Chalkup, as well as forming impromptu study groups.