UK schools are spending the equivalent cost of three million Chromebook devices on paper resources each year, according to new research commissioned by app company Kami.
After conducting a nationwide survey of 400 primary and 400 secondary teachers, the study – conducted by Vitreous World – calculated the total cost of paper used in schools. With teachers using an average of 30 sheets of paper per class, and each teacher, on average, teaching 3.3 classes each day, each uses approximately 99 pieces of paper per day.
The cost of a pack of paper (2,500 sheets) is around £13.96 (based on Euroffice, white A4 copier paper), which makes the average cost per piece of paper £0.0056. According to Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), the cost of laser printing a single page in black and white is £0.04, bringing the total cost of a printed page to £0.047.
There are 190 teaching days in the UK per year, and 548,078 full-time teachers.
Multiplying this by the number of paper sheets used by teachers in one school year, this amounts to an estimated £484,539,317 on paper print-outs. And with a Google Chromebook costing around £173.20 per year, which equals about 2,797,571m devices.
“As schools look for ways to help students catch up from what many fear to have been a lost year in education, there is an opportunity to aid this, and students’ success in their future careers, by putting technology at the heart of teaching practices” – Hengjie Wang, Kami
The majority of teachers (72%) express concern at their respective schools’ dependence on paper resources, recognising that most students will end up in a career that’s heavily reliant on digital skills and assets. The general consensus was that paper-based teaching and learning methods holds the education system back, with 77% of respondents claiming they’ve had to teach themselves digital skills, 52% saying they lack devices in the classroom, and 47% agreeing that they could do with more educational software in their teaching.
Hengjie Wang, CEO and co-founder of Kami, said that the pandemic has highlighted a “disconnect” between older paper-based methods and teachers with an increased appetite for digital classroom tools. “As schools look for ways to help students catch up from what many fear to have been a lost year in education,” he explained, “there is an opportunity to aid this, and students’ success in their future careers, by putting technology at the heart of teaching practices.”
It seems the pandemic has influenced teachers’ sense of purpose as educators, with 89% saying their role is to ensure they best prepare pupils for adulthood. As such, the lack of classroom resources has driven a sense of urgency, with 90% of respondents understanding that their pupils must keep advancing their digital skills, and 73% agreeing that as life becomes more digital-centric, the classroom should too.
But the student perspective has also changed following the events of the last 12 months; when asked what they think of students’ current expectations, 78% reported that they are looking for more personalised forms of learning, 74% claimed students desire a collaborative classroom experience, and 74% are calling for immediate homework feedback.
It makes sense then, that over half (56%) of the teachers surveyed, who already heavily rely on edtech in the classroom, believe it has improved outcomes for pupils. On top of this, teachers are keen to up their edtech usage in the future, with 85% saying they are excited about the potential benefits technology can bring in the classroom.
Amanda Hayward, e-learning advisor at a UK school, said: “There was a realisation for many of our education communities in the last year that technology was not a hindrance or difficult to use, it is just another means of reaching learners. Assigning work online is as easy as handing out a worksheet, but has so many other added benefits that in many cases have superseded the paper version.”
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