Is Paper on the Outs?



Paper or Computers? Which is the world choosing?

Sophia Silvestro, Arts and Entertainment Editor

“Limitless paper in a paperless world,” said Michael Scott, a character on the hit show, The Office. 

Paper was invented during the Han Dynasty around 105 AD and has been a key part of societies ever since. It has held some of the world’s most important moments and has been used to retell stories of lives long ended, but with the advancement of technology and the internet, paper use has slowly declined, going from 93.4 million metric tons in 2000 to 65.6 million metric tons in 2021. 

It is well-known that schools in the United States consume large amounts of paper every year, about 32 billion sheets of paper yearly. With the decrease in paper being used in the United States, schools have seen a large drop in paper consumption as well. This makes us wonder, is this the end of the paper?

Technology became standard during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, allowing students to communicate with their teachers despite being unable to leave home. “A lot of people were remote so there were a lot of Zoom calls to go on,” said Ayden Finnegan ‘23. “There wasn’t much paper because if we used paper the teachers couldn’t grade it.” Technology also has benefits for our worldwide community. “Computers are easier to access and better for the environment,” said Eva Kelley ‘23. 

Technology also brings up many new problems such as the way students are easily distracted. “One of the big problems is that while it’s nice and convenient for everyone to have their own device… for my classes, I will often see a student on their phone,” said Mr. Fox, the English Department’s longest-serving teacher.

 “I will take the phone but then they’ll open up their device pretending they are engaged in academic pursuit, but they’re still distracting themselves. The problem is that technology can aid students but it can also prove to be a huge distraction.” 

While many like the accessibility and adaptable options that technology brings, a percentage still prefers using pen and paper.

“[Computers] have more resources at our fingertips, but that’s not to say we should forget doing pen to paper,” said Charlie Snoke ‘23. It has been shown that writing on paper helps with remembering what you’ve written, relieving stress and increasing creativity if done regularly. 

“I prefer to read off of paper, but if I’m just doing something quick like research or something, I’ll just read off of a screen,” said Fox. “But if I have a handout of something I want to read and study, I’ll make a copy so I can read it.”

Whether or not teachers choose to use technology or paper, education tools are certainly changing with the advancement of technology and the effects of Covid-19. Consider the effects of technology on your education and learn what works best for you to take full advantage of the options in front of you.