Paperless classroom saves money, resources

Marty Speth’s classroom at Delavan-Darien High School in Wisconsin doesn’t operate like most, reports the Janesville Gazette: It’s almost entirely paperless–no textbooks, no hardcopy lecture outlines, no written tests. Tables specially designed to accommodate two dozen computers replace the traditional desks and chairs. Electronic whiteboards replace chalkboards. Three large recycling bins–two for aluminum, glass, and plastic and one for paper–trump a small garbage can. "At the end of last school year … when I took stuff down [to the main office] to be duplicated, I was astounded at the amount of paper that came back," said Speth, an agriculture education teacher. He estimates that since he implemented his largely paperless approach, he’s reduced paper consumption by at least 50 percent in his five classes. Speth uses, an online system designed exclusively for agriculture education that organizes readings, homework, quizzes, and tests. Students access their lessons–called "e-units"–and related assignments and assessments through the web portal. Speth also manages his students’ grades at, an online grade book. "I’ve always tried to stay on the outer edge of technology," he said. Speth’s plans for a paperless classroom were set into motion at the end of last school year, when the district cut its second high school agricultural teacher, leaving the curriculum in need of an update. The Delavan-Darien FFA Alumni paid for the subscription–a one-time cost of $1,200, which covers the curriculum for all but one of the high school ag classes. The Delavan-Darien School District spent money to add a half-dozen computers and upgrade the classroom.
District officials have responded well to the paperless approach, saying it saves money and resources. Delavan-Darien High School Principal Mike Cipriano said it also "ties right in" with Speth’s teachings about the environment. "He not only teaches about it, but he puts it into practical use," he said…

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