I printed out the article. I couldn’t help myself:) My classroom is borderline paperless. We use Google Docs and Edmodo for almost everything, so there is very little paper in my class. I guess you could say that instead of my class being a paperless class it is a less-paper class? Being in a less-paper classroom allows me to be in the role that I want to be in as a teacher, which is “in the mix,” learning with the kids.
Moving in the direction of going paperless was one of the best things I ever did. The biggest improvement is that it is much easier to share work and it is much easier to have students work together on products that they create. For instance, my students can collaborate on a Google Doc and then share it with the class. If they did the same thing on paper only one person or a few could read the paper at the same time.
Measuring learning in a paperless class is the same as in a regular classroom. You need to make electronic rubrics and then email them or electronically submit them back to students. I use Edmodo to accomplish this. Google Docs is AMAZING for giving students feedback on their writing in context because the students can reply to your comments and you can have more of a conversation about their writing! It is of course tremendously time consuming, but all good feedback is.
It is much easier to build a learning network in a paperless class because sharing and collaboration are all baked right in. The only time it can be difficult is that sometimes the kids like something physical in their hands, so you need to have that available for them sometimes too. But for the purposes of building a learning network, you have to foster a strong class culture and emphasize it with human connections in class, for instance discussions, eye contact, helping each other, and leadership. Then try to carry that through to the internet where you continue those meaningful discussions.