There are a few tools that you'll need to prepare to Go Paperless! Here's what I'll be using:
EvernoteI've shared my love for Evernote in the past, but this is a tool that has so many features and so much potential. It can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, and it allows you to save notes, pictures, audio recordings, and more into cloud-based, password-protected notebooks. If you haven't signed up for an account yet, you should sign up at Evernote's website. Accounts are free, but there is a premium version available. As you're starting to go paperless, I would hold off on getting the premium account. I've had a free account for a few years, and I haven't ever maxed out my uploads, although I expect that to change as I start to use the service more. Still, at $45/year, the subscription service is a steal.
DropboxDropbox is an online file hosting server. A basic (free) account will give you 2GB of storage, and there are ways you can expand your storage by connecting to your Facebook page, following @Dropbox on Twitter, etc. You can also earn 500MB for each friend you refer. If you use my link to sign up, you'll get the extra space as well. They have paid accounts available for up to 500 GB, but I haven't needed to use that...yet.
I use Dropbox to store all of the files that I would want easy access to. The beauty of Dropbox is that it allows you to access your files from any computer or mobile device, and for someone who switches between computers and mobile devices constantly, I appreciate how easily I can access my work.
This is one of the few services that you'd have to pay for as it's a paid iPad app ($4.99), but honestly, this is probably the best paid iPad app I've used. This app allows you to read and annotate pdfs, webpages, and other documents on your iPad. One of the best things about it, though, is that it integrates well with other sites like Google Drive and Dropbox. Even if you only have one iPad in your classroom or just an iPad for yourself, I would highly recommend this app.
If you're planning to have your students complete assignments digitally or turn in their work online to you, this is a great platform. You can create groups, calendars, assignments, and quizzes in a secure teacher-moderated environment. Did I mention that this service is free and works on any computer or mobile device? I'm an Edmodo-newbie, but my district is going to be switching over to using Edmodo, and I'm excited to be learning about it. I'll share all of the tips and tricks that I learn along the way.
If you haven't signed up for or tried out any of these services, then this is a good place to start. I'll be writing tutorials over the next several days and weeks that use these tools as I begin to go paperless.
Have you started to cut back on your paper clutter? What other tools are you using? Be sure to share in the comments section!