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Koen Timmers: Striving to a Paperless Classroom

by Koen Timmers
Expert Educator Columnist, Belgium

I strive to a paperless classroom. My students don’t receive any printed textbooks when a new school year takes off. Apart from the ecological reason, printed textbooks would be outdated from the beginning, as I offer project based learning. That’s why I decided 5 years ago to create my courseware while I teach.

OneNote is the tool that enables all this content creation. My students get 30 minutes of introduction how to install and use OneNote. They can choose to use the software or webapp. They also get a quick guide. I share my OneNote document with 3 different classes.

While I teach my students how to create a website, I paste screenshots in my OneNote document. Instead of drawing schemes on the blackboard, I draw them in the document. One section is called “collaboration”. My students can add wishes or comments, newly found sources or own written tutorials in this section. It’s wonderful to see this document and thus my courseware grow by the participation of my students, who spontaneously start creating own written tutorials, post these on OneDrive and link these in OneNote. This also causes an interaction between my 3 different groups. Some students prefer to take own notes and create their own page in the document.

I keep my personal agenda and other private stuff in a secured section. Those who prefer a printed textbook can export the document as a PDF.

My students are really motivated. They love to share and collaborate in the document. My experiences are also positive. It’s a pleasure to teach my classes and each time a student has created a new tutorial, is a moment of glory. And it allows me to increase my knowlegde in this landscape which is changing continuously.

Take a look at our shared document. There is a chance we are all working on it while you take a glimpse:

Some impressions (images are available in higher resolution, also in the software version):

Planning the project. Beside a fixed curriculum, my students can express their desires towards layout and functionality of the new website we will create together:


Creating the template of the website:


All tutorials written by students and shared on OneDrive…


… and linked in OneNote:


Sketching to clarify the BOX principle (margin, padding and border).


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