Paper-Based Learning V. Learning From A Screenadmin
Over recent years there has been a push to move learning material from paper to e-formats. The advertised benefits have been many and varied ranging from being more environmentally friendly to being easier to read. But is going entirely paperless really beneficial?
There have been many papers, studies and reports on this; two of which we found particularly interesting are:
- Learning from text books is environmentally more friendly than learning from screen based systems
- Students learn better when reading from paper than from a screen
Furthermore, one report states that paper production actively supports sustainable forest management.
“The paper industry promotes sustainable forestry and depends on sustainable forest growth to provide a reliable supply of wood fibre. Europe’s paper manufacturers do this by encouraging forest sustainability through their purchase and use of certified wood fibre and by promoting sustainable forest management policies and practices at home and around the globe. And by providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fibre, the paper industry encourages landowners to continue managing their forestland.”
When looking at the benefits of electronic communication, and the use of e-books as opposed to paper books, one could argue that it is more environmentally friendly, but one paper has argued that due to the difficulties in recycling obsolete hardware (electronic waste), the resulting toxic emissions, which can include dioxins, furans, and cyanide, are a real and present danger, harming the recycling workers and polluting local environments.
The world is now at a stage of development that the use of electronic hardware is now common practice, but we acknowledge that one cannot simply rely on e-books alone to study. Paper has been at the mainstay of communication for hundreds of years, and provided we source our papers from responsible providers (as we do), then we are also helping to sustain our forests.