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Disclaimer: everything published below is not in any way guidelines or advice. We are not lobbyists or representative of any organization or movement. We are simply a group of concerned citizens who were lucky enough to be able to reach out to the communities and give voice to the real threats.


For more than a decade now, we have all been hearing one shameful statement:

Do not print this, save the trees!

That statement, intentionally or not, implies the following:

  1. Trees will die if you print anything out;
  2. Daring to print equals guilt, shame and realization that nature is so much worse because of you;
  3. Paper is a serious environmental threat.

And while it is easy to get swept off your feet by these depressing accusations and to go along with anything they say, we must stop and do our homework first.

Do we really know what the exact ramifications of printing something out are?


The argument of the trendy

These are the facts:

Fact 1. Companies and institutions lose around $40k yearly each, dealing with toners, printers, and paper, including the cost of errors, and lost time and information.

Fact 2. During paper and pulp manufacturing, a greenhouse gas called methane is emitted.

Fact 3. 80% of used paper end up in landfills, which also emit methane.

So does being paperless really help the trees in particular, as the trendy slogans claim, and the environment as a whole? Now let’s get our facts straight.

Fact-check 1: What is more harmful: cloud-based storages or paper?

Fact-check 2: What are the biggest methane producers?

Fact-check 3: What are landfills and can we please not put there any paper?


Fact checking fun

Fact-check 1:

The mildest way to put it: we simply do not have enough of the relevant data. Throwing papers out is very damaging for the environment, but datacenters are not unblemished, either.

Those cloud storage facilities need uninterrupted power supply, and that power comes from a multitude of sources, like hydroelectric stations, nuclear power plants, or coal. In USA along, the mountaintop coal mining is directly responsible for deforestation of millions of acres in the Appalachian Mountains. They poison rivers and soil, and even if the trees in the area were left standing, they don’t stay standing for long.

Fact-check 2:

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere and melting ice. Methane is emitted in a natural way, but 60% of all methane emitted happens because of human activity.

Many paperless movement supporters bring up methane as a point against paper and pulp manufacturing, but the biggest emitters of methane are:

Cattle farming and agriculture: 35%

Fossil fuels production and use: 31%

Landfills: 18%

Coal mining: 9%

In numbers, we can make the following comparison:

In 2011, landfill sites in US emitted a total of 103 million metric tons of methane. In the same year, paper and pulp industry in US emitted a total of 1.1 million metric tons of methane.

That’s 0.18% of all methane emissions.

By the way, trees, especially those growing in the rain forests, are cut down mostly for two purposes: to make room for cattle farming and to make room for soy farming as it is the cheapest food that the cattle would eat.

Paper manufactures, on the other hand, have to replenish the trees that they fell, as they need to have their raw materials renewable.

Fact-check 3:

Landfill is a way of disposing of waste by burying it in the ground. It is practiced all over US without the use of special containers or making sure the garbage is sorted out into biodegradable.

Landfills, besides methane emissions are responsible for species extinction, water pollution, and deforestation.


How we cope

So does going paperless make any sense at all?

Yes, it does. It is one of the better ways for any enterprise to reduce expenses and improve time-management. And while we are enjoying the bliss of modern technologies, we must remember the price we are paying for it.

For those interested how we are living with ourselves after printing things out: we recycle. Paper can be reused up to 7 times, and recycling it actually reduces number of felled trees, cuts energy used in production in half, and lowers methane emissions by an unknown number.



*the pic is used under CC0 1.0, via





Victoria Vypovska

Academic Integrity Advisor

Message me: 


We worked hard to provide relevant and tiered professional learning offerings for our users this past summer. While these sessions were delivered in F2F environments (that allowed for participation by enrolled learners in discussions, quizzes, etc.), I've created stand-alone, public-facing versions of each so that any user who was unable to attend can at least access the sessions' resources.


Please feel free to make use of these courses, as desired! 


  • Deep Discussions - a course designed to ensure your online and blended discussions are well-designed and productive. Access Deep Discussions via Canvas Course Groups.
  • Formative Feedback Tools - this course goes beyond merely introducing Canvas' awesome communication tools, as it emphasizes the reasons why quality feedback is essential to student growth and learning. Access Formative Feedback via Canvas.
  • Differentiation via Mastery Paths - a tutorial course designed to coach teachers' use of Mastery Paths settings to deliver differentiated learning experiences to students. Access the Differentiation via Mastery Paths course.
  • Back to School Canvas sessions - The resources provided in multiple Canvas and blended learning focused, back-to-school sessions for AISD teachers in August '17. Access the Back to School course.
  • Canvas 101 for Teachers - a completely redesigned introductory course for teachers who are new to Canvas. Access Canvas 101 for Teachers.
  • Canvas, Blended Learning, and T-TESS - explore the connections between these topics and gain access to an incredibly valuable tool for any teacher using Canvas to provide blended learning opportunities in their classrooms. Access the T-TESS course.
  • Canvas 101 for Admins - a brand new course designed to ensure campus instructional leaders know about blended learning, how to monitor Canvas usage, and to reward innovative teachers via Texas' T-TESS appraisal framework. Access Canvas 101 for Admins.


Check out Twitter for some action shots of our awesome professional learners in action!

When talking about a new topic of skill that you want students to master or at least grow in, it can be difficult to get everyone. Of course differentiation is nothing new, but with the use of canvas and specifically the mastery paths feature we have a new option.


Students may enter a new topic having zero prior knowledge or a lot of it. Canvas can be set up to give a pre assessment and then set students automatically down different paths as a result. Different videos and instructional actives can be added to various levels in places where students will need them most in order to get them to where they need to be. Students who understand the content will be able to prove this and advance to more challenging and rigorous activities at a pace suitable with them.

If the time and effort is put into developing mastery paths, it can go well beyond a simple pre assessment and continue to branch off in very specific directions in order to address all student needs down to the smallest details.

Jim Elliott

Google Forms In Canvas

Posted by Jim Elliott Aug 13, 2017

   So I would expect that many readers already know quite a bit of this, but nonetheless, I hope some of you will find it useful. I am relatively new to Canvas, but was able to use it effectively in my chemistry classroom last year.  Some of the top features I used were Quizzes, Announcements and the ability to integrate with G-Suite apps.  This post will focus on one specific aspect of Google integration.

   As a chemistry teacher my students are often collecting data.  Often it is beneficial to share data from each individual or group. one of the best ways is to create a google form and integrate it directly into Canvas.  This way the students never need to leave Canvas to complete the form, and you can collect all students' data as they are ready - even simultaneously.  The simplest way to do this is to go to the "Send" button on the top right of your Google Form.

Send button!

Next choose the "embed" symbol (green arrow)


This will give you html code for embedding your form in Canvas (yellow arrow).  Next you need to copy this code.  The easiest way to to this is to simply click on the copy link in the lower right of the dialog box (orange arrow).


Now we bring it to Canvas.  You can make this a content page, an assignment, or even include it in a discussion.  In your RichText editor you can give instructions and details, but if you are new, it is easiest to start with a blank page.  Click on the HTML Editor link (be aware if you already have content in the RichText box it may look vastly different in HTML and it can be confusing to decide exactly where to paste your embed code.

HTML Editor link

Here is what the HTML code looks like for my form

html code

Finally we see how it looks to the students - here is the student view of part of that form

Student View

Students will have to scroll within the frame to complete the form if it is more than one or two questions.

I would recommend that within Google you restrict access to within your organization, if possible.  Although not necessary, it helps with keeping track of which student submitted which data.  Use the gear icon (blue arrow) and choose the appropriate settings (sorry its blurry - resizing to make it more visible caused that).  The green arrow shows where you would restrict your settings if your organization has that option.


When I first started teaching, my classes consisted of 20 to 23 students in Florida. Here in North Carolina, I have 28 to 35 students in each class. Also, not only having more students I have an additional class to teach. Having 180 to 200 students now, I need to grade constantly. My first year in North Carolina was very stressful and my Sunday's were consisted of grading...until now! 


Canvas has offered a way to give students automatic feedback without running to the scan-tron grader and trying to look at the data when Canvas offers that in one click. Having 200 students is now easy with the help of canvas. The students love the automatic feedback and it is now possible to differentiate within the classroom by using Mastery Paths. If you are not using canvas, I can't stress enough how you need to try it! I am a firm believer that canvas has made my life easier. 

Rachel Smith

Absent - use Canvas

Posted by Rachel Smith Aug 1, 2017

I love using Canvas for when I am going to be out of school.  Students know how to easily access Canvas, so they can find the assignments.  Students are also easily able to communicate with me if they have any issues throughout the day.


I usually create a page with videos for students to watch, and links for students to practice the topic -- since I am a math teacher.  Then I create a short quiz to assess students level of understanding.  These quiz grades are a great way for me to determine how well the students understood the content even though I was not at school


I am curious what are some of the ways you have used Canvas while you are absent?

To keep it short and sweet, using Canvas the last almost 3 school years has been a life-saver. I used Google Classroom before that and hated almost every feature about it. Canvas has helped to streamline, and therefore save me time, in so many aspects of my classroom life. I have encouraged every teacher at my school to make the switch.


Here are some of my favorite features:

- Modules (how they are set up in sequential order)




And this year I am excited to try out Mastery Paths!


Keep Calm and Teach On.

Lindsey Joreid

As someone who has worked in education for 10 years, I can honestly say InstructureCon was like no conference I have ever attended! Beyond the sessions, the community of attendees was quite unlike any other I have experienced. Everywhere I looked, people were making connections, helping others out, and sharing what they knew and hoped to know. I was lucky enough to attend with my awesome teammate, but I know that if I had traveled solo, I would have found kindred spirits! From the opening Keynote to the closing concert, the 2.5 days I spent in Keystone are ones that I won't ever forget. I have already started trying to figure out how I can make a return trip in 2018... With that said, let's look at my top highlights from InstructureCon 2017:

  • The Location
    • Reading the convos about altitude did little to actually prepare me for what 27% oxygen actually feels like! Those stairs will haunt my dreams for sure. I have never been more motivated to conquer the StairMaster. 
    • As a Texas Plains and Panhandle gal, I am awed by the beauty of mountains. I could have sat outside and stared at those giants for hours on end. There is something magical about being nestled with mountains all around with 2,000 other people all passionate about the same thing. It makes for an incredible environment. 
  • Spending F2F time with my CSM
    • I am probably biased, but Casey Williams in the best.
  • Connecting with K-12 and Higher Ed peeps from all across the nation
    • I met a K-12 educator from Portland in a session about Content pages that led to a conversation about how my district uses Badgr, which turned into a convo about Zoom. Organic connections being built!
  • CCR!
    • That outdoor show under the stars was so fun. 
  • Seeing how others are actively using Canvas in their schools
    • Our district is just over a year into our integration, and as our admin, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for examples from real life classrooms of how teachers are using Canvas. The sessions I attended gave me sneak peaks into classrooms from all over the US.
  • The Keynotes (all of them!)
    • Obvi the roadmap items and new rollouts were blowing my mind. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was freaking out over some of the new Quizzing engine features! 


If you were at Instcon17, please share your top moments in the comments! I would love to hear from you! 

I am now entering my 2nd year teaching with canvas. I have used google classroom for the past 2 years and made the switch to canvas last school year. My main reason to make the switch was so that I could still teach and facilitate my class while I was on maternity leave. Canvas allowed me to house everything for my class in one place. I could assign work, give feedback, assign supplemental work & resources, grade the work & push it to my gradebook all in one place!!! It also allows me to reduce student internet traffic and better monitor technology usage by embeding my videos, PDFs and google products right on the page. This way students do not have to even leave the canvas website! And the best part is once you have your course built, you can copy it to the next year!!!! You can then spend the time you would use planning to do one of the other many things that you need to do!

Career and Technical Education affords K-12 educators the opportunity to offer students uniquely structured project-based exploration activities, often in group settings, while simultaneously engaging in one-to-one learning with others who have various learning styles and needs. Canvas in the classroom as a support resource provides relevance, definition, and structure to support K-12 learning as a unique user friendly online platform. The ability to transition from hands on creative projects to demonstrating technique with classroom technology like desktop computers, tablets, androids, and iphones, especially if managed and used properly, provide students an amazing way to learn. 

Tammy Hendershot

New to Canvas

Posted by Tammy Hendershot Jul 18, 2017

I have used Google classroom for two years.   I really enjoy the ease of use and the fact that when it is uploaded it is instant.  I find it a little restricting and unorganized.  I used classroom because when I took the Canvas pd last summer.  It was hard to build and required a lot of time.  The major drawback was that it did not integrate with google suite.  


I have attended several district pd's on Canvas this summer. I have learned that there are easier ways to create buttons, add assignments and connect to my google drive.   I have learned many new was to improve my google side of the equation.  I am taking other courses in Canvas this summer.  


I am very excited to dust off my old sandbox and rebuild the my canvas page.  II am ready  have signed up for additional work days offered by my district so that I can get it up and running by the begging of school.  Any ideas or apps that I can add on to make me and my students experience easier?

BJ Williams

A Canvas Masterpiece

Posted by BJ Williams Jul 18, 2017

Canvas... always used by painters to create grand masterpieces. People always say,"start with a clean canvas." Or to "canvas" an area-- to look over it carefully. While neither one actually describes the Canvas LMS exactly, the way I have used Canvas in the classroom embodies each one of the uses of canvas mentioned above.


Canvas is the platform for teachers to create grand masterpieces for their classes. How does this work? Think about it, every time you start a painting, you outline the actual image, you want to make sure the structure of the image is what you want it to be. That is where the layout comes in to play. Instructors have the capability to make the Canvas LMS layout extremely simple or complex for the audience that will be using it.


After getting the layout the way you want it, then comes the outlining of images and shapes and bringing the course to life. This is the module feature that I love about Canvas. I love that I can begin by creating a module that will guide my students' learning for the week or the unit. I can add all of the materials I need them to access using pages, assignments, quizzes, and external links and apps. Once the modules are complete and everything that I need. Once all has been loaded and its done, I know that I have taken this blank Canvas, and turned it into a course masterpiece.

Many teachers don't know who their substitute is and what they know. Some substitutes follow teachers plans exactly, others tell stories and some do the work they decided on. This makes it difficult to plan for a day of absence. That is until Canvas appeared! The novel way that I used Canvas is to relay the expectations I had for students when I wasn't able to be at school. I would write an announcement with their directions and tasks for the day. I let students comment and respond to other's comments- this way they could answer each other's questions. My students would check in there each time I was not at school for their directions. My students would just log in and do their assignments. If the substitute didn't like what they were doing they would show them the computer and say Ms. Maurer says this has to be done today. This past year the tasks that I left were done even with substitutes that are known to not follow plans. 

Katherine King

New to Canvas? Me too!!

Posted by Katherine King Jul 18, 2017

   I am new to Canvas in the sense that I have never used it in my class. I have gone through a training through my school that every teacher had to do. Doing this training, I earned my Canvas badge. I never used Canvas after that training. Sitting here today, I am going through the Canvas Expert course. I have learned a lot of new things that I would like to start implemented in my classroom this year.

   I like the feature in assignments where you can have group work. You can allow students to pick their groups and set a limit to how many students are in the group. I like the feature in the grade book where you can add comments and mark students completed or not. Canvas can seem scary at first with all of the different features. I would suggest taking a introductory course on Canvas to learn more about it.

   If you like google classroom, you will like Canvas as well. Canvas is a place to have your things more organized and be able to integrate more technology features in your work. I would highly recommend trying Canvas and playing around with all of the different features. 

Donnica Walls

Canvas is Awesome

Posted by Donnica Walls Jul 18, 2017

My experience with Canvas has been wonderful so far! My favorite part was being able to use the conference mode while I was out on leave. The conference mode allowed me to interact with my students two different ways. The first way was that I was able to live stream and teach to my students from my house while they were at school. I could upload my PowerPoint or PDF's and teach live through the conference. It also allowed my students to participate by using an icon to raise their hands, use their microphone to ask questions or to secretly ask questions o me that other students could not see. The other feature allowed me to video myself teaching and record it for the students to come back and watch it on their own time. This is an awesome feature and I recommend it to all teachers