Using visualisers to reduce carbon footprint and save money

Using visualisers to reduce carbon footprint and save money

Guest post written by John Dabell. John trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting his career in London and then teaching in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, he has worked as an Ofsted inspector, national in-service provider, project manager, writer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter @John_Dabell.

With the focus on the COP26 conference this month, everyone is striving to find ways to reduce carbon emissions and reduce waste. Schools will be looking very closely at areas where improvements can be made, not only because of the general need but also from student pressure.

One objective of many schools is to achieve a Paperless Classroom by reducing the mountains of paper used every day:

“A typical teacher uses anywhere from 25-75 pieces of paper every day for handing out tests, homework, and resources to students. The average amount of paper used in an entire school per day is around 2,000 pages, and when examining the yearly totals this number skyrockets. In a year, a school can use around 360,000 pieces of paper (with 180 school days). If you were to expand the search nationwide, the number would be around 34 billion papers being used in schools every year.”

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It is not only the cost of paper (the average school spends $30,000 – $50,000 on paper alone) but printing costs, including toner, are high on the list of overheads.

If an average school consumes 75 trees per year, this is also contributing to deforestation and the increased demand for freight which is also a carbon guzzler. The use of printers, including toxic inks, contributes to water pollution and waste. Photocopiers are also high energy users.

Recycling has been a major challenge for schools in recent years but is in itself an expensive process both in terms of cost and CO2 emissions.

A ‘paper-lite’ environment also saves water, because approximately 10 liters of water are used to make a single sheet of US letter (or A4) paper.

By using a HUE HD Pro document camera to share documents you can teach smarter by dramatically reducing photocopying. Where 30 copies would previously have been made, now only one is needed.    

Even though a completely paperless classroom sounds good in theory, in practice this won’t work because sometimes reverting to a piece of paper and pencil is simply quicker and easier. But if you can substitute the paper for a mini reusable wipeboard and use it in conjunction with a visualiser, you will have the best of both worlds.

Using online platforms for tests, homework and projects will further enable ease of sharing. Giving students tablets and laptops helps to reduce reliance on text books, which are often lost or damaged. Tech-savvy students don’t need to haul bags full of traditional textbooks, worksheets, and photocopies around school. Technology is there to help.

There are major payoffs by committing to a paper-lite environment, with savings on space, paper and printing supplies. By streamlining workflow you’ll also save time creating and organizing resources. The reduction in general waste will be a further benefit; the average secondary school produces 22kg of waste per pupil each academic year while for primary schools it’s 45kg.

Students will also learn more when content is interesting and interactive rather than shuffling through paper.

Great reasons for using a visualiser in a paper-lite environment:

  • Show students any sort of text, image or drawing without the need for photocopying. 
  • Share the tiniest artefact or a scarce non-digital resource, such as a single copy of a book, picture or photograph, with the whole class at once.
  • Online marking.
  • Reduce the piles of paper hiding your desk, workbenches and cupboards and reclaim the space in your classroom.
  • Help pupils become more environmentally conscious and improve their digital citizenship. The value-add is self-evident.  
  • It is an investment in progressive teaching standards and a great example of sustainable technology. 

As a sustainable solution, your HUE camera will stand the test of time. Built to last, it will still be doing what it was meant to do after many years, helping you teach smarter, achieve higher educational goals while lowering the school’s waste and costs.  

And finally…

There are still many areas of school life where paper is useful, and even necessary. While the shift towards a paperless environment takes time, visualisers can play their part in both changing the way educators teach and changing the way pupils learn. 


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