According to the Sputnik News article, “Missing the Cut: Norway’s First Paperless School Fails to Cut Paper Waste”, a school in Drammen, Norway tried to drastically scale back on their paper usage but were not able to make much progress.
The school, Åskollen, gave each of their 500 students an iPad hoping it would make textbooks, handouts and written assignments a thing of the past but they underestimated the value paper brings to education. The article mentions that an annual report stated that the school “used a total of 950 kilograms”, which is over a ton, of writing paper per year. When compared with the paper consumption of other schools in the municipality, they fall right in the middle.
The schools headmaster, Lars Christian Gjøsæther, readily admits that there are some things the school still has to continue to use paper for and gave the example that “research suggests that many people remember better when they write by hand”. He also divulged that “some teachers chose ‘textbookless’ teaching last year and ended up printing many compendiums.”
There are just some places that are not meant to be paperless and a school is one of them. Honestly, it is hard to come up with places that it doesn’t belong once you really think about how much you use paper products in your life.
In my opinion, a paperless education would be second rate. Of course not everyone shares my opinion, but if you don’t, I urge you to at least check out this New York Times article, “Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age”. It highlights some of the key reasons that I feel the way I feel about paper being essential to education.