A Baltimore magnet school will begin the first of its "paperless classroom" initiative this January with funding from the Baltimore County School Board. The $200,000 program will give 70 Loch Raven Technical Academy students tablets they will be able to both take home and use in the classroom.
The first group of students to receive tablets will be those in the Law and Finance program. The success of the paperless classroom will determine whether administrators will apply the initiative to the school's other two programs, Conservation Science and Arts Exploration.
The tablets will have protection software so students will not be tempted to misuse their new devices, and teachers will be able to upload worksheets, exams and lessons onto the tablets. The tablets will also give students access to do research at any time.
"There's always a time when I want to look up stuff on the internet, and it just isn't there," said a Loch Raven Technical Academy eighth grader .
Teachers at the middle school explained that since so many students have or are familiar with tablets and smartphones, the switch should be a relatively easy one. In addition, the ability to keep up with technological changes is especially important for those in the law and finance fields for students who choose to pursue those subjects, since technology is always evolving in these fields. With the portable tablets, computer labs are no longer needed and schools can use those rooms for other resources.
The paperless classroom has also begun to take hold in other middle and high schools, thanks to Edmodo, a social network for schools that allow teachers and students to talk whether or not they are in the classroom.
The growing popularity of paperless classrooms may encourage other schools to move towards digital worksheets and records, uploading worksheets and exams to share electronically. Document scanning companies can help schools or offices make a seamless transition as the paperless classrooms become a reality.