The benefits of the paperless classroom are varied and apply to both teachers and students. The first advantage is simply not having any physical paper that can be lost or forgotten and that may perish over time. Another benefit for the teacher is not having to make photocopies of each handout – a tedious task, especially when the copier breaks down. Rather than photocopying, a document can be uploaded to Blackboard and the students can access the document using their iPads. Students do not need to develop a filing system, and even disorganized students can find their lecture notes organized for them on Blackboard by the teacher, week by week. The use of a scanned textbook eliminates the problem of students forgetting their work, and there is no longer any need for them to carry heavy textbooks to class – so no excuses!
The online aspect of the class – using Blackboard and iPad access – makes grading work easier, Students may enjoy working with educational apps on the iPads when the course schedule allows, and can use the apps to practice spelling and vocabulary-building exercises.
Although there are many benefits encountered with a paperless classroom, there are also drawbacks, some of which can surface unexpectedly, and resolving them is not always possible during class. The first issue encountered by teachers will be the setting up of student iPads, which can take a few hours of class time.