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Hey Google, You Didn’t Create the Paperless Classroom!

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photo credit: dullhunk via photopin cc
photo credit: dullhunk via photopin cc

In an article at Mind/Shift about fully integrating Google tools into the classroom, a strange quote caught my eye; then, after some contemplation, it drew my ire.

It’s the beginning of what Google calls the “paperless classroom” — moving assignments, class discussions, feedback, tests and quizzes online.Anya Kamenetz

So Google builds a suite of education technology tools; or, more accurately, it gathers a bunch of existing tools together and gives the collection a sexy name, Google Classroom. Now, suddenly, the search giant claims that it has created the paperless classroom. Really?

Google didn’t even create the search engine! Although the higher-ups there would, most likely, love for you to believe it did.

The paperless classroom has been around for nearly a decade. Although this isn’t meant to be a promotional post, I’ve been teaching educators how to build a paperless classroom for a very long time. My own classroom went paperless sometime around 2007, when I created, using the wiki host EditMe. Where was Google then? Oh, right, it was handing out gBikes to employees (maybe Google invented the bicycle, too).

Google does have an application that helps us navigate from one place to another. Next thing you know, Google will announce that it created the compass and the sextant.

There’s also Gmail. Maybe Google invented the Pony Express.

What about Google Docs? Does this mean Google created pencil and paper? Did Google invent writing?

Granted, most of this post is designed to be humorous, but I am truly irritated about Google contending that it created the paperless classroom. It most certainly did not, because I did!

Oh, and in case you didn’t know it, I created the Internet, too.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 130,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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