Pencils and… iPads?

The paperless approach

Jordan Vogel, Chief Reporter

The written word and the manner in which it’s presented has evolved remarkably since its inception.

The ancient Egyptians had students write on a sheet of papyrus using a reed brush, a far cry from the Bic pens and spiral notebooks students have become accustomed to. This natural progression of the method for recording research, data, prose, and more begs the question: is it now, or will it ever be, the right time to take the next big step and fully digitize the process?

The paperless model is a new form of recording information that completely removes the need for physical writing materials. Although Commack schools haven’t explicitly expressed any intentions to adopt such a philosophy, the subject’s rapidly increasing relevance and potential necessity demand for its pros and cons to be weighed.

A concern that prevents some from fully embracing the concept is the opportunity for students to violate academic integrity, a policy that’s been greatly emphasized this year, once all materials become part of a shared cloud.

“It allows for easy distribution of cheatable materials, like in copying and so on,” said math teacher Bobby Varughese. 

It’s an unavoidable truth that a PDF file of all the answers to a homework assignment is much easier to spread as opposed to a paper worksheet. 

On the other hand, the amount of money that could be saved by disposing of physical materials is invaluable. The cost of upgrading the technology distributed to students would cause the returns to be minimal at first, but eventually the school’s budget for other commodities would become exponentially greater, as there would no longer be a need to invest in paper, pens, and pencils. The students’ access to technology is imperative, as the Chromebooks students are using will need to be upgraded regularly.

“There would have to be an investment for it [Commack High School] to be fully paperless,” said choir director Wendy Frankonis. 

The technology that’s used in our current model is completely serviceable when paired with physical materials, but the jump to paperless would take tablets and styluses capable of emulating the feeling of writing with a pen or pencil for the switch to be worth it.

The notion of a paperless school is an optimistic one, with benefits that span across budgeting, organization, and, on a grander scale, environmental conservation. It seems like the inevitable future not just for Commack, but the education system as a whole. Due to complications such as the cost of technology, and the issue of potentially compromised academic integrity, such a future is still most likely a few years out of reach. 🔳