In our previous articles, we’ve spoken about how global biodiversity is front of mind here at Ocean Sole. One of the critical drivers of which is pollution from chemicals and waste. Now that more schools are resuming, we are taking a look at some sobering facts and an equally hopeful solution.

The Devastating Facts


The website The World Counts published an article called “Paper Waste Facts” reported that from 2001 to 2019, a total of 386 million hectares of forest were lost globally in all forest types combined. This loss represents an almost 10% decrease in tree cover since 2000 – and it is only getting worse. It is estimated that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and paperboard each year – with schools being the top consumer. While it is not expected to completely eradicate the use of paper, schools can opt to reduce their paper waste.


Win-win for the Environment and Education


In addition to the environmental benefits, going paperless presents schools with more benefits geared towards a better learning system. Digital learning solutions streamline the learning process and allow for better-engaged students. Going paperless allows teachers to cater to students with different learning styles through a variety of learning formats like podcasts and YouTube videos. Another benefit of this is parent-engagement. According to  Rassmusen University , positive parental involvement could mean the difference between a student succeeding or failing. Going paperless improves parent-teacher communication as sending notes digitally significantly improves the chance of the parents seeing the communication. It also makes it easier to connect with parents in a language they are most comfortable in.

 

So, let us take a closer look at the schools and government departments around the globe at the fore of this paperless movement:

 

  • Bridge Kenya (Kenya)

Bridge Kenya perfectly encapsulates the full potential and benefits of paperless education – from teacher recruitment and training to the actual classroom setting. The school’s teachers are provided with “Teacher Guides”. These handheld devices are equipped with software that displays lessons, and records attendance and assessment scores. This software also allows teachers to track lesson pacing and pupil comprehension in real time. This gives them the ability to tailor-fit their lessons in better response to the pupils’ capabilities, allowing for data-driven, effective, and most importantly, student-centric learning. Nobel Laureate in Economics Michael Kremer published a working paper evaluating Bridge’s digitally-driven education program. He reported that “enrolling at Bridge improves student learning”. The paper emphasized, “the test score effects in this study are among the largest observed in the international education literature” – a further testimony to the effectiveness of Bridge’s digital-centric teaching techniques.

  • Delhi School of Specialized Excellence (India)

Delhi School of Specialized Excellence has taken a step forward from the traditional pen and paper to paperless exams. The Indian government-funded school provided its students with tablet-like devices for JEE Main, NEET and REET end of term exams, News18 reports. Aptly, The Directorate of Education of New Delhi took to it to social media to celebrate what it referred to as “a giant leap for Delhi Education Revolution,” commending their “maiden venture to institutionalize device-based assessment practice”.

  • The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (United Kingdom)

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is a non-ministerial department in charge of regulating qualifications, examinations and assessments in the country. In its most recent report, Ofqual declares that it will allow exam boards to study the use of remote assessment, digital delivery and an “adaptive testing” software that tailors exam questions to student responses. It adjusts the difficulty of a test or exam to suit the aptitude of a student. When a student answers a question correctly, they can be presented with progressively more demanding questions, and vice versa, reports The Guardian.

 

Today’s students are no stranger to digital devices. Using them for school is a natural progression. Teaching students to not only be comfortable but thrive using technology equips them with highly useful skills such as video editing, coding, or simply virtual collaboration skills, all of which set them up for success in this increasingly digital world.


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