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Wiring Classrooms for Paperless Learning

July 07, 2014

Backpacks are getting lighter nowadays with students carrying fewer books and instead learning about math, science and history on laptops and tablets. More and more school districts recognize the many benefits of paperless learning.

Backpacks are getting lighter nowadays with students carrying fewer books and instead learning about math, science and history on laptops and tablets.

More and more school districts recognize the many benefits of paperless learning: students can supplement reading assignments with instructional videos and have quick access to the Web, teachers can place lesson plans and progress reports in the cloud, and administrators can reduce their paper and textbook budgets.

Springfield Public Schools in New Jersey, for one, illustrates how technology has transformed the classroom. The district supports a 1:1 technology-learning environment for more than 2,400 students in five schools. Elementary school students explore foundational academic subjects on laptops and tablets, and every student from sixth grade through high school graduation writes papers and completes lessons on notebook computers. All faculty and administrators use district-issued laptops to plan curriculum, communicate with students and parents, and conduct other tasks.

Similarly, St. Elizabeth School – a co-ed, private college prep school in Wilmington, Delaware – implemented a mandatory 1:1 bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy to not only enhance learning but to also eliminate most textbooks because students had to annually pay as much as $600 for them.

But these and other schools that lean paperless couldn’t expand technological learning without fast, scalable Internet service to support new bandwidth requirements. To grow their 1:1 technology learning programs with confidence, these districts had fiber-based Ethernet Dedicated Internet connections installed, enabling them to also plan for increased enrollment and the addition of more devices without worrying about taxing bandwidth.

Springfield teachers and students now freely stream videos in classrooms without affecting the performance of other applications. And plans to upgrade the Internet connection to 10 Gbps are currently underway as student enrollment continues to climb and the possibility of replacing textbooks with additional tablets is explored.

And St. Elizabeth School benefits from a system so robust that it has been able to replace 95 percent of its physical textbooks with electronic books.


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Shannon Bradley

April 23, 2015

I just need to say. I still learn and I just love my 50+ old electronic and Physics books.For example : I was just reading what could be related to the fiber optics of to day in a old 1956 John Wiley & Sons Inc. 'Modern Physics' under photoconductivity. Please ! Don't take my old books away.

Tomas Yanez

July 24, 2014

The upcoming school year will be the first for Common Core online assessments. So until the districts get a year of experience in battle conditions, I don't think anyone really knows yet. Hopefully we'll be able to highlight some enlightening case studies on that next year!

Doug Broad

July 24, 2014

Interesting perspective on the 1:1 trend and its network/bandwidth impact. What are you seeing from the assessment side in terms of districts preparing their networks for the potential impact of online testing and other aspects of the Common Core?


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