Pioneering paperless classes

One of the few places in our lives where the use of personal technology is limited is school. But, after a full virtual year, the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the implementation of the Bring Your Own Device program, the use of personal technology during school hours has been normalized. Instead, teachers have prioritized decreasing the amount of contact, which has led to digitalization in the classrooms. This opens up a new discussion: the positives behind this modification to the curriculum. 

With the increased usage of online learning platforms, like Google Classroom, close contact, due to hard copies of classwork or homework, would be reduced in light of the use of digital worksheets. Not only would this increase safety within the classroom, it can help students stay organized. Especially with Google Classrom’s intricate design and due date notification system, students would be reminded of upcoming assignments promptly, in addition to being able to submit assignments with the click of a button. Moreover, such worksheets would greatly reduce paper usage─a huge environmental plus.

This transition would also benefit teachers greatly. Because the majority of assignments would be digital, teachers would spend less time hovering over printers waiting for photocopies. In turn, a simple scan and upload would suffice, leaving much more time for teachers to focus on other priorities. 

Not to mention, if positive Covid cases on campus rise to a concerning level, the school would have to shut down and switch back to a distance learning format. If such a thing were to happen, students would have to do nothing more than wake up and sit down at their desk: their new learning environment for the foreseeable future. Digitalizing the curriculum right now would make that transition smoother, should this occur.

But, for those who do not have a device they can bring to class, the school must provide some form of technology for them; this is where the newly implemented provisions come into play.

Starting in August, Diamond Bar High School announced that they will be providing devices for every student in need of one. However, the biggest issue with schools having to do this is quite obvious— money. In a few years, current computers will become outdated, and the school will be forced to replace them with newer, faster technology that they may not have a budget for. 

Furthermore, the school will have to sanitize all devices once they are returned at the end of each student’s high school career. However, students have been permitted to customize their devices with stickers, making it harder to sanitize. Due to this, the school will most likely resort to purchasing entirely new batches of computers for everybody, which can be costly.

With a more digital approach to learning this year, students and staff can expect a safer learning environment, one that includes less paper usage and decreases the chance of COVID-19 spread. And, considering the unpredictable state of this pandemic, going digital and establishing BYOD procedures can be considered the first of many steps being taken in order to create a safe and sanitary learning environment.