EAST LIVERPOOL A "paperless classroom" may sound like a contradiction in terms, but that is exactly what Columbiana High School offers its students and which could be the wave of the future for city students.
At Monday night's school board meeting, Columbiana language arts teacher Jayson Yeagley offered a presentation on how his district's high school students have exchanged textbooks for computers.
A one-year pilot program for seniors proved to be so successful that it was extended the next year to juniors then to younger students so that, today, every student in the high school is provided with a laptop computer, with no textbooks purchased.
"It totally changed the classroom and how I function," Yeagley told the board.
He admitted the up-front cost is considerable, with the purchase of netbooks for each student but said much of the revenue for the computers came from not having to purchase textbooks, as well as revenue from a gas oil lease.
It was noted by Superintendent James Herring and Treasurer Todd Puster that the city district recently purchased textbooks for about $200,000 and that the average textbook costs about $100, with each student having between six and seven books, whereas a laptop would cost about $350.
Yeagley said his district's paper consumption has also gone down considerably with advent of computerized classrooms.
By and large, students are respectful of the laptops they are given, according to Yeagley, who said students are responsible for paying for any damage that does occur.
With 360 laptops currently in use in his district, Yeagley said perhaps five have been broken.
He said the most important part is teacher training, saying, "Some teachers are right on board, others hesitate, but it's been great for us."
Asked about those students who do not have Internet access at home, Yeagley said all his assignments are due at the end of the next school day but that students find many ways to access the Internet, including friends' or free WiFi areas.
"I can't say enough about how this has worked for us," Yeagley told the board.
The school board has been approached about allowing students to use the district's Internet in class at least one day per week, so Herring has been providing information.