3 Simple Tips for Putting the Lessons of Earth Day into Practice

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

3 Simple Tips for Putting the Lessons of Earth Day into Practice

Posted in Pro Tips | April 22, 2016

According to the National Wildlife Federation, paper can account for as much as 60 percent of a school’s annual waste, and each year over 350 million inkjet and laser cartridges are thrown away. During today’s digital age, that sounds like a lot of preventable garbage and money to be saved on printing papers.

In the past year we’ve heard from a few educators on ways that they’ve reduced their paper usage, and how it’s impacted their bottom line. Oregon Teacher and Instructional Technology Coach Alyssa Tormala, for one, has gone practically paperless in her English classes.

She was shocked to find that she and her students had saved over 5,400 pieces of paper over a 10 week period as a result of making all handouts and assignments digital whenever possible. And more importantly, by disengaging from “the paper chase,” she was actually able to spend 25.5 more instructional hours working with her students.

On Earth Day this year, we’re looking to the trend of how teachers are using less paper by going digital—and offering a few tips on how you can adapt your classroom habits to do the same!

  • Deliver Content Digitally. Not all reading excerpts are found in textbooks or novels, and sometimes it’s nice to incorporate a news and blog articles or scholarly research that complements the traditional materials you present to your students. However, before you give in to the urge to print every article analyzing symbolism in Lord of the Flies, take heed! Use an LMS or other learning platform to link out to articles, post them in a course update, or embed them in the platform.

  • Recycle, reduce, reuse, and digitize your worksheets. Though students need paper and pencil for some worksheets, start off each year by re-assessing your documents and see if there are any that can be updated to a digital format. Not only does this reduce paper, but it saves time printing, handing out the papers, carrying them home to grade, and so on. Dog ate my worksheet, no more. Instantaneous submission of work creates a more streamlined classroom - and affords teachers and students more time to interact through discussion and learning instead of collecting papers.

  • When you can, test online. Any teacher will tell you that testing is another big paper perpetrator. In order to maintain the integrity of test taking and reducing any student urge to bend the rules, paper tests do sound appealing. However, conducting your tests on a digital platform, such as Schoology, comes with many benefits, including the ability to lock down the browser while testing, randomize the tests, and get instant automated data and grades.

In case you're into stats, like I am, we included a few more below from the National Wildlife Federation that outline how paper production and printing effect the environment. Happy Earth Day!

  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.

  • Manufacturing one ton of office paper with recycled paper stock can save between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton made with virgin wood products.

  • Preventing one ton of paper waste saves between 15 and 17 mature trees.

  • Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to heat an average home for six months.

  • The greenhouse gas emission reductions from recycling 10 tons of mixed paper are comparable to not using of 94 barrels of crude oil.


question.png How have you used Schoology, or other technologies, to reduce paper use?


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