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School mobile phone ban mooted

Who Needs Paper?

Wired News

This story from Wired ran in August 2002...

Students at an Iowa college can forget the quintessential experience of pulling all-nighters at the library poring over stacks of books.

The Des Moines Area Community College's West Des Moines campus is the newest of the college's six branches. It opened last fall with the mission to collaborate with companies to beta test education technologies.

Instead of a library, the school has a resource center equipped with computer workstations that can access the Web, e-books and online journals. The resource center also houses several meeting tables, audio-visual materials and a few paper magazines -- but no books.

This fall, [2002] the paperless program expands to include all technology courses and some business and liberal arts courses. All of the students concentrating in tech fields such as network administration and information technology are required to have their own handheld. Campus Dean Tony Paustian estimates that over half of the campus community will be totally paperless this fall.

"Hopefully within a year [by 2003], we'll have the whole campus paperless," Paustian said.

The campus has its own wireless infrastructure. Faculty use smartboards, which work like giant touch screens for professors to jot notes. Students can download notes from the board to their handhelds.

All data, including each student's work, is kept on the school's storage area network and is accessible through the Web. A memory module slides into the back of each iPaq and also stores student work that can be synched with a home computer or laptop.

Campus leisure activities are also tech focused. The campus provides several Xbox and GameCube consoles for student use. Students can check out games, and in the main student common area, the games are projected onto a large empty wall. The school holds regional gaming competitions every two months.

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