Should Schools Go Paperless?

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.


May 9, 1962 issue of Punch.

A new aid to rapid - almost magical - learning has made its appearance. Indications are that if it catches on all the electronic gadgets will be so much junk.

The new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The makers generally call it by its initials, BOOK.

Many advantages are claimed over the old-style learning and teaching aids on which most people are brought up nowadays. It has no wires, no electric circuit to break down, No connection is needed to an electricity power point. It is made entirely without mechanical parts to go wrong or need replacement.

Anyone can use BOOK, even children, and it fits comfortably into the hands. It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire.

How does this revolutionary, unbelievably easy invention work? Basically BOOK consists only of a large number of paper sheets. These may run to hundreds where BOOK covers a lengthy programme of information. Each sheet bears a number in sequence so that the sheets cannot be used in the wrong order.

To make it even easier for the user to keep the sheets in the proper order they are held firmly in place by a special locking device called a ‘binding’.

Each sheet of paper presents the user with an information sequence in the form of symbols, which he absorbs optically for automatic registration on the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a flick of the finger turns it over and further information is found on the other side.

By using both sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of BOOK. No buttons need to be pressed to move from one sheet to another, to open or close BOOK, or to start it working.

BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. Instantly it it ready for use. Nothing has to be connected or switched on. The user may turn at will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards as he pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a location finder for any required information sequence.

A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is the BOOKmark. This enables the user to pick up his programme where he left off on the previous learning session. BOOKmark is versatile and may be used in any BOOK.

The initial cost varies with the size and subject matter. Already a vast range of BOOKs is available, covering every conceivable subject and adjusted to different levels of aptitude. One BOOK, small enough to be held in the hands, may contain an entire learning schedule.

Once purchased, BOOK requires no further upkeep cost; no batteries or wires are needed, since the motive power, thanks to an ingenious device patented by the makers, is supplied by the brain of the user.

BOOKs may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the programme schedule is normally indicated on the back of the binding.

Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge seems to have great advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.