Nova Scotia students welcome first paperless classroom
Published Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:18AM EST
Teachers at a Nova Scotia middle school hope their students can ditch the pencils and books, but keep on learning. The secret? Trading paper notepads for computerized netbooks.
Junior high school teachers Todd Symes and Shawn Kirk came up with the idea when they were taking an online course approximately two years ago.
After consulting with the school board -- and wrangling a combination of grants, scholarships and donations -- they've since been able to purchase just shy of 20 computers. That's just enough for their grade 8 and 9 students at Chester Area Middle School to partner up and get to work.
"Our kids are excited abut technology and we wanted to make sure the kids were going to be more engaged," Kirk said of his eighth grade students.
"We've got a computer lab which is always full, so we decided if we could have our own laptops in our classrooms it would make all the difference."
The experiment, a first in Nova Scotia, has been underway for just two weeks now. But students have quickly embraced the opportunity to log on to send and receive their assignments online.
Students can take quizzes and tests while logged on, and even file their homework there -- safe from any dogs that might otherwise want to eat it.
Grade 8 student Jacob Rowsell is already sold on the change.
"I find it very useful because sometimes I misorganize stuff and lose some things. And it's really good 'cause you can save everything on this and I use the computer 24/7," Rowsell told CTV Atlantic.
So far, the project is limited to English classes. But grade 9 student Aidan Davidson said students are so accustomed to working with computers in all their coursework, the paperless approach could easily apply to other subjects too.
"It would just be getting the laptops into those classes and it would just make everything a lot easier and it'd save a lot of paper," Davidson said.
But in order to expand the program they'll need more computers.
While it may take some time to line up the sponsor they hope can make it possible for every student to have their own a computer, Symes said it only makes sense to be pushing the classroom in that direction.
"If you look at the kids that we serve, they're pretty much on technology all the time. They have so much skill and they need that ability to get information whenever they want to," he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jill Matthews