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Education Featured Article

October 19, 2012

Back to School without the Paper

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

When I was a student, my backpack was filled with books and binders each day. Many people are still feeling the damage in their backs from the weight, while I got a backpack designed with the belts of a camping backpack to alleviate the weight, in exchange for mockery and humiliation. However, the days of broken backs and full backpacks may be at an end, as schools are considering going paperless.

Schools in the Wachusett Regional School District are discussing moving to paperless. Schools across the district have been seeing less paper in their classrooms, while spending on computers and projectors have been up. The goal is to have students complete their homework as Google (News - Alert).doc files, which they receive in the e-mail, and will then e-mail back, saving paper and keeping everything more organized. For students who do not have computers or Internet access, paper copies are still available.

So far, the schools attempting it have managed to reduce their paper usage by the 30 percent goal, although there are still some issues. For example, students who try to do the homework while in school are finding the network to be bogged down by all the other devices. The system simply isn’t good enough to support hundreds of students.

Furthermore, getting information to parents is more difficult, when there aren’t any fliers to be sent home. PTO memberships and funds have taken a hit from the lack of announcements on fundraisers and other such events, which might have a worse effect on the budget than cutting paper will fix.

It’s still an imperfect system, but it’s a start. Saving paper is always useful, but hopefully they’ll manage to cut down on massive textbooks soon as well. The bandwidth issues need to be taken care of, which could prove costly, and phone and e-mail are not always the best ways to reach parents. Still, it’s a noble effort, and hopefully it will soon result in many students having fewer aching backs and bent spines.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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