A paperless office is a reality for many of us. Documents produced by office workflows are more and more sent and archived as PDF. Think of purchase orders, invoices, bank statements, meeting minutes, etc. However, there are environments where content on paper is still preferred. For example, when text and graphics is a means of communicating a deeper meaning than just template data stored as reference. Think of learning and education.
A learning process is far from being a workflow template. Teachers take great effort in guiding students by means of carefully tailored curricula. For the individual student, learning is an intense cognitive and affective journey to internalize new concepts and meaning through interaction with a real or imaginary outside world. Learning requires focus and concentration. It is an holistic activity in which all senses are at work. This makes learning a demanding activity in terms of tooling, retaining attention and eliminating distraction. So it is no surprise that research suggests that the paper form factor still offers unique advantages compared to computer and tablet screens.
Besides ergonomic and psychological arguments, there are other factors that may contribute to the decision to choose paper as information carrier. Computers screens are the perfect EduTech front-end for Education-as-a-Service driven by representatives of the ever-advancing platform economy. But is Freedom of Education served with such a model? We all know there is a very thin line between platforms and surveillance capitalism.
Perhaps, ultimately, educational organizations that opted for Free Software and Open Educational Resources, and utilize their own Free Printing Press, are far better equipped to ensure a safe and trusted environment for their students, than schools that outsourced their core business to for-profit platforms. The choice is yours. We try to do our part with SavaPage Open Print Portal. We provide our solution as Free Software, and bring you a safe environment to produce, export and distribute content as PDF, or to print-on-demand and distribute content on paper with easy to use Delegated Print and Job Ticketing scenarios.