Paper Free School?

Arguments for and against using paper in schools

Paper Free School - is it possible?

School - Home paper trail

As a parent of primary and secondary school aged children, almost every week I got some paper based communication.

  • Notices
  • Permission slips
  • Reports

Sometimes the communication is given to all students, sometimes one per family. There is an expectation that the oldest child in the family is responsible enough to deliver the note home but this does not always happen in practice.

Many times the paperwork or part of it needs to return to the school for processing.

As a web developer and technology geek, I am interested in solving this waste of trees.

This website will investigate the problems and issues associated with school - parent communication:

  • ensuring communication is delivered on time and to the right person
  • privacy of communications
  • ensuring feedback is obtained on time and is communicated to the right person
  • preventing fraudulent communication (for example student interception)

Zero paper

Taking this a step further - is it possible to operate a school without paper?

All of the classrooms in my children's school have projectors and/or smart whiteboards. Tablets computers and netbooks are ubiquitous and have a battery life suitable for a normal school day. Textbooks are becoming available electronically with the added value of embedded rich media and digital testing.

In the classrooms, there are always displays of students' work. The walls would look very boring without the art and other expressions of class activity.

Can schools do away with all paper? Do they want to?

The most significant record of my education - my Bachelor's degree is printed on paper, framed and hanging on my office wall. I am proud of it. It is a visible reminder of the years of hard work I put in to achieve it. Are there documents that schools must print?

If we do away with paper, do we need schools? Having participated in several MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), I know that learning via a computer environment is possible. I don't want to do away with teachers (I love teachers! - about half of my family are teachers). And I don't want to do away with schools. There are valuable benefits of social development, kinesthetic and physical education and peer learning in the school environment.

And as this commercial shows, paper in any language is difficult to replace with electronics for all applications.