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Are paperless schools the future?
Making changes in any organisation can be tricky, and that’s particularly true when it comes to education. However, that’s not to say that schools are resistant to change. In fact, Kathy Crew-Read, headteacher at Wolverhampton Grammar School recently championed the use of iPads in the Sunday Telegraph, commenting that children need to be “prepared for the future, not for the past”.
She went on to encourage others to follow her school’s lead, where students from nine to 14 years use iPads instead of exercise books and textbooks in all of their lessons.
This article discusses the concept of paperless schools, the reasons for schools to adopt this approach and the steps to take to transition to a paperless learning environment.
What are paperless schools?
Well, the clue is in in the name! In an ideal world, schools could function without using paper. In reality, this isn’t that easy, with some elements being easier to transfer to a digital system than others. However, even if a full paperless transition isn’t an option, the vast majority of schools could benefit from moving some of their processes online to improve efficiency and decrease paper consumption and costs.
For example, paperless schools might decide to manage their administration online by introducing software to manage and automate the creation of paperwork such as invoices, contracts and payslips. Or they might use social media or email to communicate school news rather than handing out announcement letters, for example. Alternatively, they could decide to fully integrate the use of technology like iPads in the classroom, as in the Wolverhampton Grammar School example.
How can my school become paperless?
The first step to take to reduce your school’s paper use is to consider how your school works and identify the processes that might benefit from transferring to digital with any relevant stakeholders. It’s important to get the support of any individuals these changes will affect before rolling them out, if they’re to be successful!
Some areas you might consider here include:
1) Reducing staff workload
Which paperless measures could lighten staff workload? This might include managing student assessments and providing feedback digitally. Or it could involve automating admin tasks, thereby reducing time spent on printing and filing.
2) Cost efficiencies
How much of your school’s budget is going towards printing, photocopying and paper? What could you do with this money instead? Could it be better spent, e.g. by investing in new school equipment?
3) Improved organisation and security
Keeping all your school resources in one place works wonders for efficiency and avoids important documents being misplaced, removed or damaged.
4) Reducing waste
We all need to do our bit for the environment and set an example for future generations. Promoting a paperless approach could help your school reduce its carbon emissions and paper-related waste.
5) Freeing up space
Having fewer filing cabinets and storage cupboards taken up with documents will mean your school could gain valuable additional space!
The transition to paperless in schools will certainly need key stakeholders on board, but this change could offer a host of benefits for schools that are willing and able to take the plunge!
For more information on equipment to help your school adopt a paperless approach, contact our friendly team for some inspiration.