Archive for the ‘Paper Alternatives’ Category

Alternatives to Paper when Brainstorming

July 5, 2018

light bulb signifying ideasA very popular use of easel pad paper and post-it notes are for brainstorming sessions with groups. My team and many others at my workplace use these materials for generating ideas and then sorting them. What they may not know is that that easel pad of paper costs approximately $40 and the post-it notes are $24 for a box. That’s some expensive brainstorming that happens simultaneously across the district and the cost is multiplied.  So…what are some non-paper alternatives to use for these exercises? Here are possible apps to use: Padlet, Google Doc templates, Google Slides, and Lucid Chart-a Google add on.

Padlet is a free cloud-based software that provides an online space that looks a bulletin board, a wall, or many custom backgrounds. After you open a Padlet page you give the link to others and they can add what really looks like post-it notes and then you can move them around to organize them. Some things I like about this software is that there is a mobile app and everything is user-friendly. Padlet is often used in K-12 classrooms so I know that adults can handle it easily.

Google apps provide multiple options to consider. Google docs has many templates such as for SWOT input. Take a look at a nice graphic one here.   You can also just insert a simple 4×4 table like this.  Alternatively I’ve used Google slides with users creating their own text boxes on a slide. Of course these text boxes can  be moved around, resized and reformatted. I’ve also used the comment feature to facilitate discussion around the ideas on a slide.

Finally, Google docs has an add-on called Lucidchart. I started with a P&ID basic design, took away the connectors and made the boxes look like post it notes. NOTE: for users to interact, fill in and move the idea boxes you have to share the design in Lucidchart. After it’s moved over to Google docs it can’t be edited. Editing has to take place in Lucidchart.

Here’s what my self-created chart looks like:

lucidchart screenshot

Hope these suggestions give you some ideas to move away from using paper.
Do you have alternatives for paper brainstorming that I haven’t included here? Let me know via comments!

Paperless Update

April 24, 2018

no-printerFour months into my year without printing things are going surprisingly well.  Members of my team produced a video (spoofing The Office) to encourage others to save paper/printing.  I compiled a comprehensive list of high tech, low tech, and no tech paperless solutions.  This Friday we’re making our first pitch to a curriculum team who will experience a dramatic presentation, with props like these IMG_3863 showing how much the District spends on making paper copies.  After sharing my paperless solutions, they’ll receive a gift basket (paid for with personal funds-no District money was used) from our Paperless Tribe.  IMG_3865

We’re asking that everyone cuts paper use/copying by just 1/3, not as drastic as my paperless path.

So…how is your year going?  Have you tried any paperless solutions?

About Preferences

February 16, 2018

no-printerThis week in my no printing saga I’d like to talk briefly about printing preferences.  In the Heath brothers book “Switch” they emphasized shaping a path and building habits.  With this quick tip you can almost effortlessly be printing less.  If you use Chrome as your browser (and why wouldn’t you?) you can setup your print preference to save as a pdf rather than send it to a printer.  Here’s what the preference screen looks like:

save as pdf screenshot

By saving this as a preference, anytime that I’m in Chrome and especially using Google docs, all I have to do is hit Command P on my keyboard and then hit return and voila!  I’ve saved my doc as a pdf on my desktop.   This makes it an easy path-just a few keystrokes, and forms a habit to save rather than print.  And I think it goes without saying that it’s easier to search for a particular pdf file than a drawer full of paper or, even worse, a pile of paper.  Happy saving everyone!

Paper Savers Week 6-No Tech

February 9, 2018

printer-37270_640Through this year of avoiding printing and perhaps paper altogether I will highlight my high tech, low tech and no tech solutions.  This week is a no tech solution. I’ll talk about utilizing whiteboards. I know it sounds “old school” and could be seen as a copout to using technology, but I want to model all kinds of options for others to consider.

As the Culture Champion on my floor at work I’m responsible for, among other things, celebrating birthdays, keeping the refrigerator cleaned weekly and advertising culture events in the building.  I used to print out fliers, announcements, and signup sheets. My boss, Amanda, gave me the idea to deploy whiteboards that could be erased.  I picked up some inexpensive ones from Target.  The toughest part was figuring out how to mount them.  On the backs I used duct tape and string.  For the bulletin board I used push-pins with hooks that I also found at Target.  On the fridge I used one of those removable 3M hooks since the curve of the door wasn’t working for magnets.  Finally, I found a large whiteboard that had already been mounted in one of our stairwells.  Surprisingly, no one had been using it for announcements.  As soon as mine was written, another department took over the rest of the space.  Rather than  be annoyed, I was joyful that someone else saw the opportunity to save paper!  Here are some photos of the whiteboards in use.  NOTE:  The blurring of last names, via photoshop, is intentional.