Two of my colleagues and I are trying to figure out a way to eliminate loose leaf paper, or at least cut down on using so much of it. We were brainstorming ways of using flashdrives. What are your thoughts? and/or do you have any recommendations on websites where teachers can "pass out" an assignment and have students turn it in by submitting? Thanks ahead of time for your input.

Tags: Homework, on-line

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What kind of assignments are we talking about?

Some different ideas:

(1) Moodle has several options for giving out assignments and you can have students answer on the website or there's a way they can upload a file.

(2) You could post the assignment on a blog and they could answer in a comment. You could have the comments be moderated and not approve them until everybody has answered.

(3) You could have them email the assignment to you.

(4) You could use a dropbox type of web service like where students could upload assignments.

(5) If it's some type of paper, students could write the assignment in Google Docs and share it with you.
This might work where all students have home computers and flash drives. But the reality where I teach in a small town in the far north, only about half my students have home computers. The school is wired though so maybe those that don't have computers at home could use the library computers or the one student computer in the back of my class. Maybe we should put flash drives on the list of school supplies for next year. This is the time of year to plan for next year...Thank you for the idea, Maybe when I make a trip to the city this summer I will purchase a dozen or so 1 or 2 GB drives at Future Shop or Staples and resell them to students who do not get to the city very often, in the fall. I'm tired of the excuse of "I finished my assignment at home and then my printer ran out of ink.." This might eliminate that one and save a few trees long the way.
I have suggested this at my school, but there is a concern over the possibility of a virus migrating to the school network via the flash or thumb drives. Has this been an issue at your school?
We have a school server and there's not been one notice to the community this year about viruses being a problem. I would assume if your school has put all due processes into place that viruses will mostly be caught. Back up systems are a necessary precaution as well.
If you have an account with Google Apps - Education Edition, you can create assignments through Google Docs and share them with all of you students. In a similar way, students can write up their assignment using Google Docs and share it with you. In this way, whenever you log into your Google Docs account, you will have the assignments in your main directory. You can then make comments into the documents and even put down a mark. When the student logs into their account, they will automatically see the changes you have made. These assignments could be in the form of Documents, Spreadsheets, or Presentations.

If you are interested in exploring Google Apps further, you can create a classroom wiki (through Google Sites) and use the "Filing Cabinet" feature, which lets students upload any files, no matter what the format is.

If you haven't looked into Google Apps - Education Edition yet, it may be just the thing you are looking for to start eliminating paper. check out: Google Apps on YouTube.

Hope that helps.
I found a real cool free web based ftp client that would work:


It's a snap to install as it doesn't need a database. Students and teachers can upload and download files easily.

It's the simplest solution I can imagine!

Kevin Stachowski just asked a very similar question: have you looked at the replies there? I'll not spam C2.0 by repeating my reply, but I think it is equally relevant to you. I would certainly go online rather than thumb drives, given the choice.
Thanks for all of the great input everyone. I teach 6-7th grades Social Studies. I've been looking at all of the links you've recommended already. Now it's just a matter of learning how to apply one, and learn how to incorporate it as part of the classroom day to day. We're already a tech semi-savvy school. All of our grades are on-line with a group called Also, students are used to podcasting and getting audio information from my classroom website, and I've used a website called to administer tests with great success. I love this site. Now, I'm just trying to figure out the day to day homework assignments, seeing if I can't eliminate paper waste.



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