We are embarking on a new project in my district. I have two classrooms in one of my elementary schools that sometime next fall will become "paperless" classrooms. So, you might ask yourself - what is a "paperless" classroom? A "paperless" classroom utilizes technology to enhance and supplement student learning in lieu of textbooks, paper and pencils. The students use the technology to research, write, read and complete their day-to-day tasks. The driving force behind a "paperless" classroom, in my opinion, is the power it has to engage the students. There are other benefits such as immediate feedback on assessment and an increase in communication and collaboration for your students.
The main tool we are utilizing to complete our "paperless" classroom is the nComputing X-series device. (http://www.ncomputing.com/Xseries.aspx) This device allows up to 6 additional "virtual PC's" to connect to one host PC. Thus, you could outfit a classroom of 28 stations with only four PC's and 24 of the nComputing devices. The main benefit here is obviously cost savings - not only in the upfront cost, but in power and utility cost as well.
The plan is to transition the students from textbook, pencil and paper to the "paperless" concept over a period of time. We obviously don't want to "shell shock" the students and have them using the PCs 100% of the day on Day 1, but feel a 4-6 week transition period will allow for the students and the teachers to become comfortable with this model.
These "paperless" classrooms would not be taking shape without support from the building's principal, as well as the desire of the two teachers. We have also had a local business volunteer time and materials to complete the necessary additional wiring in the classrooms.
I will keep all posted as this project develops - I am certainly looking forward to the new educational opportunities that await the students in these classrooms.
JDS | CIO