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.