With many teams preparing to make the transition to paperless debating next season and many more still on the fence about doing so, we wanted to provide our readers/listeners with insights from three of the pioneers of this transition. In this special edition of The 3NR Podcast, we host a panel discussion of paperless debating with a particular emphasis on the experiences of debaters themselves—from pre-tournament organization to pre-round preparation to in-round execution.
To get this debater-centric perspective on paperless debating, we turned to Ellis Allen and Daniel Taylor, rising seniors at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta and winners of the 2010 Tournament of Champions. Ellis and Daniel were one of the first high school teams in the nation to transition to paperless debating and their insights into the process can provide a helpful blueprint for students now beginning the transition themselves. Joining Ellis and Daniel is Alex Gulakov, a debater at the University of Texas and the creator of the Synergy system of paperless software. Alex has been one of the biggest advocates of paperless debating and is currently working with several summer institutes and debate programs across the country to aid them in the transition.
The discussion—clocking in at just over an hour—covers a wide range of paperless topics that debaters will find helpful. After beginning with a discussion of the transition from paper to paperless, we delve into the specific mechanics of preparing each speech including pitfalls to avoid and tips to improve your debating. There’s something for everyone—including coaches—but our primary goal was to provide debaters with the information they need to confidently make the paperless transition.