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Microsoft Helps the Environment, Contributes to ‘Paperless’ Schools

written by: Leah•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/8/2008

In 2003, Microsoft Corporation joined forces with the School District of Philadelphia in an attempt to help out the environment by creating America's first 'paperless' school. It was called 'School of the Future'. As a result, they have inspired other schools across the U.S. to do the same.

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    In the late 20th century, the nation was worried that the schools did not meet the demands of the economic world. Students were not receiving all the tools and knowledge they would need for every day life. Schools were not meeting standards. America was falling behind. Education had to be more advanced than it was in the late 1800s because of the technological advances. Corporations were looking for highly qualified individuals with a wide range of skills including communication, mathematics, and critical thinking. The children were not learning these abilities.

    Schools were also, they realized, being wasteful. They were one of the nation’s largest contributors to the landfills. Papers with one sentence, notes, and full binders and notebooks were being carelessly thrown into the trash and dumped into landfills.

    Today, educational facilities across America are still continually thinking of ways to become more advanced and better prepare their students for the working world. Policies are changing, requirements in curriculum are becoming ever more strict, and parents are being encouraged to become more involved in their children’s education. Also, many schools are becoming more involved with environmental concerns. They are taking steps to help out the green cause by doing things such as creating recycling clubs, investing in energy-saving light bulbs, etc.

    In 2003, Microsoft Corporation decided to help out. They joined forces with the School District of Philadelphia and decided to create many new technology-based high schools. They put their heads together and defined the five key and most important educational factors that would help students succeed. This vision included many guidelines and requirements and was called ‘School of the Future’.

    One of the ‘School of the Future’s biggest goals is to help the environment. Only computers, it was decided, were to be used for work and record keeping and distributed to each student, teacher, and administrator. The main goal for these computers is to create a ‘paperless’ school. No paper-based books are used throughout the establishment. Students study using online textbooks and laptops. Computers are used for everything down to school food being ordered online. Though Microsoft helped the school district, they did not pay for the computers; technology was auctioned off so the cost would be lower.

    Teachers are keeping grades and using textbooks online at no cost. This cuts down not only on cost, but it saves trees from being used for paper. Also, it eliminates trash and the need to recycle the paper. This also helps the teachers because students do not lost their assignments and it makes grade tracking easier and more organized. It also eliminates the need for more paper to be used for binders, notebooks, and folders.

    The result was that other schools across the United States are catching on and following their example. Kentucky was put in the spotlight for a paperless classroom and many other states are doing the same. More high schools everywhere are participating in the big green help by developing recycling programs and such, and saving the environment by going paperless.