In the United States, one single lawyer can use up to one ton of paper a year. In Mexico, each person uses about 57 kilograms of paper a year, and we all waste about 22 million tons a year. 40% of the world's industrial logging goes into making paper, and this is expected to reach 50% in the near future.
Infograph demonstrating how widely paper usage varies from continent to continent. Sources: RISI, US Census Bureau, United Nations, Statistics Canada. Infograph © Environmental Paper Network. Image taken from: http://www.forestethics.org/paper-the-facts
How much paper do we use in education? How much paper in textbooks? How many printed exams, essays and research papers do we ask our students to do? How many papers, articles and activity sheets do we hand out?
Paper has been an essential resource for communication for centuries. In school, it has been essential for registering and presenting information. Do you remember how many books and papers you had to read during your school years, and in university? All his use of paper has put humanity at risk, as it is necessary to cut about 4 billion trees a year (an estimate o 10 million trees a day) to produce paper, which also requires burning fossil fuels for its production.
In this 21st Century, we have the opportunity to do something to save trees, and to help ensure a better future. Technology has the solution to reduce paper use significantly but using electronic papers, books and activities substituting the use of paper in many sectors of society. Schools and many other institutions can substitute the use of paper with technology. Specially the use of tablets present the most viable solution for this. There are a variety of Apps that can let us study and produce content easily at work, and at school.
For my studies and for leisure, there is specially one app that has been extremely useful when reading and studying from e-books and e-papers. Easy Annotate: Two PDFs Side-by-Side on iPad lets you underline, highlight, compare, link, edit, comment, annotate and study on your PDFs. It has an easy access control bar in which you can change the color of your highlighter, your marker, your pen or the annotations you type into your PDF document. It is really like working on real paper with your fingers. And with our carrying a whole pencil case full of tools.
You do not need the internet to work on your PDFs, once you have downloaded a document to Easy Annotate, it stays there, and it integrates so beautifully with Dropbox that everything you underline, annotate or do on your PDFs is automatically saved to your PDF in Dropbox. Really, it has helped me a lot when studying lately, becoming the only PDF App I currently use.
I know you've heard you can forget about the students carrying heavy paper books, but now, it can really be a reality, as Easy Annotate offers a true practical and useful study tool in on the iPad. Applications like this can really change the way schools can deliver and work on documents in a more practical and green way. No more paper waste, but a lot of productive work in this easy to use App.
I can now start to imagine a fully digital classroom, with no books, no activity sheets and no printed exams. Imagine how wonderful that would be, to be able to keep everything in Dropbox, and study it everywhere, and stop killing trees!
Easy Annotate could easily become an essential tool in 21st Century schools, we just have to get it! You can get “Easy Annotate: Two PDFs Side-by-Side on iPad” here:
Here is the video so you can see how it works.
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Jesús M. Hernández
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