forms for earth day

For a long time I’ve been looking for ways to diminish the amount of paper used for teaching, and it’s not all about the environment. All those before-school, lunch breaks, and afterschool minutes spent at the copy machine add up to too much of the free-time in my life. And that’s when the darned machine is actually working. And then there’s always the department’s allotment of paper, which seems to run out at the most needful times, and then I’m spending my own paper money for paper copies. I’ve had enough of paper.

Think of all the times you use paper to gather information from your students, their parents, other teachers, club members, and so forth. First you spend time making the copies, then you take more time to disseminate all those copies to the appropriate people. Next, you collect all those papers, file them, check to see who hasn’t turned them in yet, make more copies for those ingrates who lost them or used them for paper airplanes instead of giving them to their parents . . . . You know all too well how this goes.

So while I’ve been looking for ways to cut down on my use of paper, here comes Google with their Google Docs forms application, whose primary utility is to gather information into one place. Without paper. I’ve been yammering on about forms for awhile now, but don’t just take my word for it. Read what a very busy and most grateful middle-school band teacher has to say:

I am a middle school band director. I teach nearly 300 students each day
and have communication with them and their parents – nearly 1000 people in

With Google Docs, my program has reduced its paper use by as much as 90%.

Instead of using hard copies, thousands of times over, we can now set everything up to work online with documents, forms, and spreadsheets. Previously parents had multiple pieces of paper for certain functions. We can now eliminate these by using separate online forms. Rather than going through so many pieces of paper, parents can now just click the next link.

Read the rest of what Matt Doublestein, self-proclaimed teacher and earth-friendly Google Docs user, has to teach us about saving the earth–and, bless him, saving us time!

Happy Earth Day!


1 Comment

  1. April 24, 2008 at 10:20 am

    […] can make copies of the table to use as handouts for your students, but maybe you’re trying to cut down on all those handouts. There is also an interactive exercise at the same site, which is useful for the individual […]

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