Towards keeping the planet green …

Sunday, September 26th, 2010 | Sustainability | 4 Comments

We are all into keeping the planet green.  One way of doing this is by being conscious of paper consumption.

One tree can yield about 8 000 sheets of paper (of course, it depends on the size of the tree and the type of paper, but I’m using averages and round figures for illustration purposes here).  Imagine an average school in South Africa with 800 learners, and suppose 100 pages are used by each learner for class tests and examinations throughout the year: in such a school 80 000 pages are used during the course of the year.  This equates to 10 trees.  With 22 000 schools in South Africa, it means that 220 000 are falling victim annually to satisfy the demands of assessment.

Some people go to great lengths to find other ways to produce paper.  An alternative to trees is elephant dung.  Yes, elephant dung!  Each elephant can produce 50 kg of dung per day, which could be processed to create 115 pages of paper.   Such efforts must be applauded!

Potential paper source

If my maths is correct, it would take 700 elephant days (roughly two elephant years) to produce enough paper for one school; or 44 000 elephant years to produce paper for the entire country for every school year.

The problem is: where do we find so many elephants?  And what is more, each elephant consumes about 200-250 kg of vegetation per day to produce 50 kg of dung.

Isn’t there an alternative?  How about harnessing electronic means to assess students?    Tools such as assessment software and clickers are used by many teachers to cut down on the volume of paper used in the classroom.  This must be an easier and cleaner way for a teacher to make a contribution towards keeping the planet green.

Click here for an Afrikaans version of this posting.

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Paperless classrooms

Friday, April 17th, 2009 | Computer Usage | 6 Comments

You have probably heard about the concept of a paperless office.  Technology makes the use many printed documents redundant – this brings about savings in terms of money and space, and has the added advantage of being good for the ecology.

Have you considered the notion of a paperless classroom?

Perhaps we are still some way from a completely paperless classroom, but the use of technology could elliminate a lot of paperwork for teachers.  This is true with reference to many administative tasks, and teachers would love to get rid of all the paper required for assessment.

How much greener would this planet be if we have paperless classrooms!

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