September 1, 2013

At Kansas school, teacher sheds pen and paper

The Associated Press

PERRY, Kan. — In with classroom technology. Out with paper.

That's the mantra of a seventh-grade language arts class at Perry-Lecompton Middle School, where teacher Saul Heide is using his school's move to computer tablets as an opportunity to shed the use of pen and paper.

6News Lawrence reports the district has been pushing technology. High school students are given iPads, and Heide hopes his younger students' use of the tablets will get them ready.

Walking into Heide's classroom is an unusual experience. Instead of chatty adolescents, there are students sitting quietly, headphones in, doing their school work on iPads.

After completing his master's degree online and reading an article about a high school teacher who went paperless, Heide decided to make the jump himself. He eliminated paper last year and isn't turning back. Heide outlawed pen and paper in his classroom, but added headphones to the school supply list.

"I've yet to have any complaints or any of my own personal hang-ups on why I wouldn't want to do this," he said.

With carts of iPads shared throughout the school, a desktop lab next door, and a laptop lab across the hall, the opportunity for incorporating technology into the curriculum at Heide's school are endless. Students aren't allowed to take computers home, but any homework they have outside of the classroom is reading.

"With a lot of these kids living on farms or in rural areas where the strength of that internet signal can't be relied upon all the time, I don't ever want to penalize them for that kind of thing happening," Heide said.

In the class, students' essays, coursework and tests are done on iPads. Heide says not having stacks of essays piling up on his desk helps him keep organized.

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