Going Paperless Pro vs. Con

By Isabel Ibarra

This year has been a big change for all of us Pres girls, no doubt. Our new iPads have changed the way our classroom functions and the way we do homework, class lessons and even quizzes and tests. We have changed from using paper for nearly everything to having empty binders with only a few papers per class.

This change has been beneficial for all students. Though not all students see it, our iPads have made our school life easier in more ways than one.

First, though not all students have had this chance quite yet, many classes are giving the opportunity to buy ebooks rather than print textbooks. Not only are these ebooks often cheaper, but they also are decreasing the weight of our backpacks. It can be difficult to lug around backpacks full of big, hardback textbooks. With our iPads, we can access the textbooks anyday at anytime, and they don’t have to weigh ten pounds.

With our iPads, we also have more capabilities for learning. Apps like iMovie and ScreenChomp make it easier to do projects and assignments for classes. Before our iPads, we had to have certain computers with the right capabilities that made projects harder for some students and easier for others.

Apps like Notability make it much easier to learn in class. Now, teachers share PowerPoints with students so that we don’t have to write down the slides word-for-word. Instead, we can pay better attention to what the teacher is saying rather than scramble to get every word down before he or she clicks on to the next slide.

Furthermore, many classes are giving us the opportunity to turn in our assignments online, through apps like Canvas or Google Drive. No more are the days of rushing to the printers in the morning before school because our home printers ran out of ink or just suddenly stopped working. Turning in assignments online saves us time and energy, and probably a good amount of stress too.

Some classes no longer even give out unit calendars in paper. Everything is through Google Drive and Canvas, which can have a positive impact on the amount of paper we use. Though there hasn’t been a big change in amount of paper we use, there is potential for a big savings. Kyle Brumbaugh, director of technology here at Pres, said, “I believe that the amount will go down over time, since it will take time for teachers to get use to distributing and collecting work in a digital format. The money savings will increase over time, but it is also dependent on the extent that teachers and students use the technology they have access to.”

Using less paper and more technology has definitely changed how Pres runs in many ways. From Google Drive to Notability to Canvas, Pres girls have many more opportunities to have an easier and better learning experience. You can’t walk down a hallway or into a classroom without seeing multiple Pres girls on their iPads doing homework. And really, with the quickly changing technology in the world, it’s clear to see that Pres is keeping up.


By Alexandria Anderson

While it may seem to have its benefits, the switch to a paperless education is not as glamorous as it sounds.

Going paperless has provided students with more opportunities for distractions while in class. This makes for an inadequate learning environment, as students are focusing more on their tech devices instead of what’s going on in class. 59% of the 216 students who responded to our survey have used iMessage to text someone, and 69% have AirDropped a picture to a friend, all during class periods.

The paperless switch diverts students attention away from the classroom and into the world of their technology. “I’ve also had a few teachers mention that conversation in class has really gone down because students are always looking at their iPads rather than really listening to the conversation,” said Maria Agresta, senior, about the lack of participation in class.

41% of survey responders even report being more distracted in class now that the school has gone paperless.

Besides distractions, the paperless switch has also allowed more room for human error. Documents may be uploaded or shared wrong, making them inaccessible to students.

One of the most recent problems girls on campus have been having is forgetting to turn their bluetooth keyboards off while not in use. This, in turn, causes their iPad to be locked up.

“Those 30 girls who had their iPads locked, there’s no way to recover from that,” said Gene Tognetti, Presentation’s Education Tech. Coach, in reference to the students with bluetooth keyboard problems. “We had to completely wipe them out and start from scratch.”

Due to this human error, students had to have their devices completely wiped clean, meaning that, if they didn’t back up any of their information, they lost all of the documents on their device.

While simple human error does account for most paperless problems, unforeseen tech issues that are out of student control still come up as a result of going paperless. 58% of survey responders have already experienced problems when accessing documents on Google Drive or Canvas either at home or at Pres.

Should the Internet crash unexpectedly or applications on the iPad stop working, students would have an even harder time accessing their necessary documents.

“Technology, especially Internet, can be so unreliable and takes time away from classes and homework in order to correct situations,” said Jalene Weatherholt, senior.

Provided with a paper copy of their documents, however, students would not need to worry about  possible tech delays. Their ability to access important documents and turn in assignments on time would not be contingent on potential technical issues out of their control.

Although proponents of the paperless movement make the argument that going paperless is more eco-friendly, it’s not as environmentally sustainable as it sounds.

According to the Printing and Graphics Association of the MidAtlantic’s campaign, Print Grows Trees, “by depressing the market for paper and wood products, we encourage landowners to ‘cut and run’ — harvest their primary forestland for quick income and then sell the land instead of growing more trees.”

What this means is that cutting the use of paper won’t actually put an end to deforestation; it will only perpetuate it.

Now, the school hasn’t gone 100% paperless: students are still able to use paper handouts and write in notebooks should they choose to do so. The biggest concern with going paperless lies in determining what can go online and what simply has to be on paper.

Tognetti aptly sums up the struggle. “Sometimes people think, ‘I need to be 100% paperless,’ and that’s just not reality…The challenge is, when is it right to be paperless…or when do I still actually need the students to have a piece of paper in front of them.”