Digital Divide: Ditching Classroom Printers

I have been really enjoying all of our projects for ED 620 and have been really trying to think of ways to incorporate many of them into my classroom next year. Most of the projects we have explored can be turned in digitally, which is great. One place I am a little hesitant on accepting digital assignments is in student essays.

Part of my concerns, when it comes to accepting digital documents, is editing. I am not sure if this is an adapting thing that I have just not grown accustomed to or if it really is easier for students and me to edit mistakes when they are on real paper in front of us.   I am not even sure if it something I have picked up, as far as skimming rather than reading carefully when things are online. Regardless, many teachers still require printed documents. This brings me to my overall concern: the movement in schools, including my district, to remove classroom printers.


Now, in the defense of school budgets everywhere, I completely understand the need to cut back on frivolous printing. Still, for students that need a place to print what other options do they have? In our district the digital divide can sometimes be painful for students’ grades. Often, students have come to me to print because teachers that assign the projects require them to print them at home, but their home does not have electricity… let alone a printer. Has anyone else gone through the “classroom printer removal” process? If so, how has it impacted those students without the means to print? As a teacher, what can I do to make the transition smoother for my students and myself?

Universities have commonly gone with the pay-to-print plan, but with public schools that does not seem to be a realistic option.


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