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Raleigh teacher goes paperless in wireless world

Posted March 19, 2009

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— Every month, teachers at Wakefield High School get thousands of pages of paper for their classrooms. Most of the paper ends up in a recycling bin, which adds up to about 4 million sheets a year.

However, Phil Vice is one teacher who isn’t adding to that usage. His computer engineering class is virtually paperless.

Vice's students take quizzes online, and their worksheets and handouts are online, too, taking the place of textbooks.

Raleigh teacher goes paperless Raleigh teacher goes paperless

“It has made me a very organized individual,” he said.

Students log in each day and see the work they need to complete and when it's due. They can do the work at school or at home.

“I like the fact that we do almost everything on the computer compared to some of my other classes, like AP (statistics),” said student Carl Piland. “We have to print everything off the computer. We haven’t even taken midterms yet, and my binder is already full from that class.”

Student Justin Duncan said he feels very comfortable using a computer because he is part of a technology-friendly generation.

“Having everything online and stuff like that for our age helps us to really be able to perform stuff like this … better than (on) paper,” he said.

Vice says he uses paper only for tests.

The content for his class comes from a non-profit organization based in Raleigh called The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning, and it costs the school $600 a year. The company shares the content using free open-source software called Moodle.


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  • deduce Mar 19, 2009

    "What if a student doesn't have a computer? It happens, ya know." - Rev. RB

    Well, then as is says in the article, they can do the work in class, instead of at home. They're taking a computer engineering class. Maybe they should offer an online reading comprehension for golo members course.

  • Adelinthe Mar 19, 2009

    What if a student doesn't have a computer?

    It happens, ya know.

    God bless.


  • mondosinistro Mar 19, 2009

    Paperless is a whole different way of doing things, and for it to work well you need a whole different set of tools, and the knowhow to use them. It takes time, but eventually we must go there. We have to overcome objections, but in a way that is understanding of the problems.

    In particular, I totally deplore the pernicious idea, currently in vogue, that if you really want your information to last, you need to print it out. That's the way to lose it! I've been working with CDs, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs for many years (26, 10, and 6 respectively), and I have no clear indication of any of my discs "rotting." But try finding what you misfiled among 500 manila folders. Even at home, with only 100, it worries me at times.

    Besides, there isn't enough paper in all the world's forests to store all the stuff we generate. In a sense, we're already 99.97% paperless. No way to go back.

    Not only do I applaud Mr Vice for his methods, but I'd like to get in touch with him to see how we can work together.

  • Iworkforaliving Mar 19, 2009

    I couldn't do my homework because the internet connection was not working.
    Sorry class I can't teach you today, the internet or computer system is not working or has a virus or the hard drive crashed.

    You could insert allot of excuses into this one.
    We are going down a stupid scary road people.

  • eternalrage83 Mar 19, 2009

    "His computer engineering class is virtually paperless."

    Good for him but lets see someone try to do this with a math class. Do that with a lot of classes and all you have managed to do is push the cost of the paper and supplies off on the kids parents. It is a lot easier to do all the work on the computer when the subject matter itself is about a computer.

  • PaulRevere Mar 19, 2009

    "The students print out everythiing at home. He is saving paper but the students still printing everything out at home. I am sure they print out the test papers, the handouts and everything else." superman

    Shhhhhhhh! You're not allowed to question the good intentions!

  • iamyeary Mar 19, 2009

    My job requires me to use the internet, (not at home). I still prefer to print out large reports or worksheets to use as well. It is very hard on the eyes to stare at that screen for hours and hours.
    Also, the internet can be very slow at times and if the power goes out---oh well. Then guess what, everyone, take a break. We are too dependent on computers already. It is only going to get worse. Before too long, young folks will never pick up a pencil or paper to write. Progress is not always a good thing. I hope we will always have a need for paper and pens.

  • anneonymousone Mar 19, 2009

    Good work, Mr. Vice! I'm glad that you're able to use the available resources so wisely in your class.

    But before everyone throws away the pencils, handwriting is not tested in schools, so not as much time is spent on it was was typical in the past. I have high school students who can not read cursive, no matter how neatly it is written. Nor do many know how to write in cursive; when they have to copy a statement in cursive on the SAT, they groan as if the Hounds of Hades have them by the throat.

    Even printing more than a few words at a time causes some students great distress; they are so unused to using all those tiny little hand muscles that it actually hurts, and that makes for some sa-a-a-a-a-a-a-d handwriting.

  • phoenixelon99 Mar 19, 2009

    Having said that...I also wanted to note that as one of Phil's former colleagues, I also count myself lucky to be among his friends. He is a WONDERFUL teacher and is well loved by his students. He is a consistent advocate for ALL of this students and does an amazing job at moving all students at all levels forward in their achievement. GOOD JOB PHIL! :)

  • phoenixelon99 Mar 19, 2009

    NC is my home - I don't often claim to be in the know about anything, but I am on this, as I used to teach there...the Department of Public Instruction hasn't provided new computers for this school. The lab Mr. Vice teaches in was populated with computers when the school opened eight years ago as Sanderson at Wakefield, and then had its computers replaced just before I left. If you're going to spout of snarky comments, perhaps they should at least be informed.