Year of online school cuts paper use in classrooms


Joseph Zuloaga '23

The paper recycling bins in classrooms are relatively empty compared to years past, in part because teachers are using fewer paper worksheets.

Cameren Gonzales '22 , Staff Reporter

With the ending of the stay-at- home order, students around the country were finally back inside their physical classrooms this past fall.

After spending the past year and a half on Zoom, many students have to now get used to doing their work with paper and pencil again.

Despite the struggles caused by a year and a half of remote learning, such as lack of student attention caused by distracting technology or a disrupted internet connection, could there be a benefit to this “Zoom Year”?

Throughout the past several months, students and teachers had to communicate assignments over the internet without using paper. This could lead to an environmental benefit: lowering paper consumption.

Members of the Riordan community had a variety of responses.

Jamil Flores ’23 said, “Yes, I’ve seen a lessening of paper used in my classes this school year.”

But other students such as Adrian Gonzales ’24 disagree, and said, “No, I haven’t seen a lessening of paper use in the classroom, but I have seen more technology use.”

With these differing responses from students, asking teachers such as AP Statistics teacher Mary Ann Datoc about her own classroom paper consumption can be used to get a clearer picture.

Datoc said, “Maybe in the beginning of the school year because teachers and students were used to submitting their work online. After a week on no paper, I started xerox copying notes where there is space to show their work on math problems and hard copy worksheets. This made a difference in their grades.”

Riordan’s AP Environmental Science teacher Michael O’Brien emphasized how technology has previously had an impact on Riordan’s paper consumption in the past.

He said, “With the advent of the iPad that decreases paper consumption massively, not only with copier paper, but because of paper books as well.”

This statement references when Archbishop Riordan first required iPads (now also laptops) for school.

It seems that a key commonality for teachers and students has been more use of technology in the classroom, which means less paper.