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Beyond symbolism

World Environment Day is Tuesday 5th June and the host country, India, has described it as “not a symbolic celebration, but a mission.” Can World Environment Day encourage lasting change? With educators planning lessons and other activities around the theme, there is no doubt it will inspire conversation among the current generation of learners – and the paperless school chat between educators will also inevitably resurface.

Technology saves the day. And the environment.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, there are many success stories around tech-based solutions to environmental issues: intelligent infrastructure, renewable energy, environmental monitoring, the sharing economy, electric cars and going digital are all examples of how technology has evolved to address our ecological woes.

So while the paperless school may seem elusive, it could be closer than we think. After all, the iPad wasn’t even invented until as recently as 2010, yet today, many see it as indispensable. Technology has made its way into education, with BYOD programs in full swing around the country and government policies and funding changing to digital literacy and STEM. However, it is fair to say that most of the mainstream media coverage of technology in schools has been teaching and learning-focused. The potential use of technology in schools in an administrative context has largely been ignored. Could this be the intersection where innovation, technology education and the environment meet? In short, yes.

The Paper Trail. And how School Stream can help.

First things first – There is no arguing that reducing paper saves the environment by reducing waste. The impact of paper use goes far beyond trees, as it uses exorbitant amounts of water, electricity and oil to produce. In fact, one tonne of paper takes 24 trees and 90,000 litres of water to produce! Paper that is not recycled also contributes to landfill and air pollutants and, in Australia, it’s estimated that only 50% of paper is recycled. The good news is that schools are in a great position to make a significant impact on these statistics.

A fully-integrated school communication app is a cost-effective way to take steps towards going paperless, and there is a simple tool that you can use to calculate your paper usage here. School Stream is sending over 1 million notifications a month, resulting in savings of at least 1 million printed page. This represents a win for the environment and a significant saving for the schools who are using the app.

By investing in technology and software, schools are not only ‘being the change’ they want to see in the world, they are modelling digital and environmental leadership, and saving money at the same time.

The paperless school of the future is here now.

For further information about how School Stream has helped others, read a case study here or use this quick tool to see how it could help your school save paper and money.