For my entire duration of high school, you could often find me at a computer during my free time, but not once did I ever bring a laptop or tablet into the classroom. The old habit of pen and paper was satisfying and always seemed to be good enough. For any typical class, I would accumulate hundreds of pages of hand written notes or assignments each semester. Before each exam week, I would prepare for each lengthy test by reading reading over all of these pages of notes. Towards the end of my high school career, nearly all of my teachers developed tolerance for students using computers to take notes in class, but for some reason I never made the leap to going paperless.
My first class at Wake Forest is on August 31st, just about two week away. For this upcoming fall semester, I’m going to try to move as many of my academic habits onto the web as possible. This does not mean taking notes in Microsoft Word (stored locally on your hard drive), but instead on Google Docs so I can access my information anywhere. It also means replacing my traditional academic planner with an internet based project management solution. I’ve been using the visually oriented tool AgileZen for my work, it’s based off the kan-ban workflow strategy:
The solution tracks “stories” as from left to right, allowing you to drag them across the board and see your progress visually.
Perhaps the most common symbol of academia is a stack of books. My plan to go paperless means buying the e-books that are available for the courses I’m taking. Oh and what about all of those PowerPoint presentations? I’ll be using web-based Prezi.
The result is a flexible lifestyle enabling you to access your information from a variety of devices. I will be able to access my documents on my on my laptop, library computers, smartphone, iPad, and anything else with an internet connection. For the occasional class such as Math that requires pen and paper, I will be prepared with my notebook. But for now, I’m moving my “book bag” into the cloud.