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My frustrating war on printers


I admit it. I have an irrational dislike of printers and printing. I guess it's not that I dislike the printing itself, but I dislike its cost on both the environment and the school budget in a era where digital methods of information sharing and storage can be used.

It seems like at least a couple times a month, I get a request from someone in the district for a new printer. The request is usually based on the number of feet the requester needs to travel to pick up her/his printing. Confidentiality is also cited at times by nurses, counselors, etc., but we do have a secure means of printing to our copiers.

After three years in this position, I have successfully:
  • Not purchased a new printer or copier
  • Established a building ratio of 1:60 printer ratio (based on nearby district's recommendation)
  • Eliminated non-networked and personal printers
  • Created a monthly cost-per-student by building report shared with principals
  • Created a chart that shows the cost per sheet of printing on different devices
  • Refused to enable printing from Chromebooks
And despite easy sharing with GoogleDocs, 1:1 devices for all kids 9-12, the adoption and widespread use of a learning management system, and a commitment by many teachers to go paperless, our printing costs have gone up slightly - from $1.49 per student in May of 2015 to $1.56 per student in May of 2017. 

OK, readers, is this simply an unsolvable problem, beyond my weak mind to solve - or have you worked in a district or building that has successfully slowed the paper avalanche?

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Reader Comments (2)

I am with you on all counts here Doug.
The creation and consumption of paper are one of the most damaging practices impacting our environment, particularly our water footprint. National Geographic Post:
You would think by going 1:1 and creating a blended learning environment that we would see a reduction in our use of paper. Hold the phone, our printer page counts actually increased over the past couple years. There are pockets of conservation and we are seeing improvements in some departments. The troubling thing to me is what the paper represents. Often times, it becomes part of a pile that ends up in the garbage can. Paper, in many cases, represents a private transaction between two people. Where is the interaction? Where is the authenticity?
What if you had decided to write this post on loose leaf paper? Who would see it? What would be the impact? Aside from the ecological and financial waste, there is a learning opportunity lost. Educationally speaking, paper offers an extremely poor return on investment.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Schuetz

Thanks for writing this, Bob. Nice to know I am not the only one who has a problem with paper in schools!

But you didn't tell me how to SOLVE the problem ;-)


August 16, 2017 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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