Happy Earth Day!! Today on Earth Day we are reflecting on the benefits of going paperless. This is one of the first things that comes to mind when we think about how Edulastic connects to Earth Day.
In the context of digital assessment, going paperless means saving paper and trees, no more printing, no more lugging around pages, and no more worrying about losing assignments, exams, or quizzes because it’s all online in one place. Paperless can also mean time saved grading and time saved that would otherwise be spent with the copy machine or with printing and assembling assessments.
For Earth Day we decided to quantify approximately how much time and paper the collective Edulastic community has saved this year, and the impact. Here’s what we found:
Year-to-date Paper Savings
How much paper do you think the entire Edulastic community saves in a single year? This was the biggest question we had, and the focus question we chose for our Earth Day report.
To determine school-year paper use, we sent out a survey and also took a look at the Edulastic data. The survey came back and showed that weekly self-reported paper savings ranged from 0 pages a week to 5,000 pages a week and varied a lot based on subject and number of students. On the data side, we looked at the number of questions answered so far this year. We also estimated that there are 10 questions a page for a standard assessment. The data shows that an astounding 418,624,717 questions have been answered on Edulastic since August 1st, 2018, which means that approximately 41,862,472 pages of paper have been saved by the collective Edulastic community. This is incredible!!
But what does 41,862,472 pages mean? We turned to the Environmental Paper Network, a non-profit organization and their Paper Calculator tool to help us get an idea of the impact that 41,862,472 pages of paper can have. They spent a lot of time researching and studying these types of analyses and through their tool we could get an estimation of the resources, energy, and CO2 saved by the Edulastic community.
14,862,472 pages means that together we have saved:
- 1,670,000 Pounds of wood, made from about 5,010 trees
- 5,340 million BTUs of energy, equivalent to 6,350 residential refrigerators operated/year
- 3,760,000 pounds of CO2e, equivalent to 342 cars/year
- 4,480,000 gallons of water, equivalent to 3,230 clothes washers operated/year
- 246,000 pounds of solid waste, equivalent to 56,300 people generating solid waste/day
- 77.9 acres of forest from being disturbed, that’s equivalent to the size of 59 football fields
To that we say, way to go!! If you are an educator who uses Edulastic, thank you for being an incredible part of these savings.
We’ve summed up these findings in the infographic. You can also check out the full report here: Edulastic Community Paper Savings
An additional note: When thinking about our Earth Day report we wanted to consider was the impact of physical devices, servers, and the energy use associated with them. This is very difficult to calculate and quantify fairly for a number of reasons. We attempted to give this side of Edulastic community’s carbon footprint a fair look but ‘guestimations’ were too broad to paint a reasonable picture.(If anyone has a way to take a fair stab at it, please reach out! We are curious!) We even called the Environmental Paper Network to see if they had any advice for us. They did direct us to the Green Electronics Council’s website which includes tools for sourcing electronics.
“My principal just commented that our school’s overall paper usage is down over a 100 pages per student.” – Edulastic Teacher (via Earth Day Survey)
Time Saved Grading
Here’s another stat that will blow your mind. From our data calculations we also were able to determine that Edulastic has saved teachers over 132 YEARS of grading over this school year alone. That means a single teacher would have to start grading in 1887 to complete all of the automatic grading that has been done by Edulastic over the 2018-19 school year as of April 22, 2019. Can you imagine?
To calculate this number, we took the total number of total questions answered and estimated that on average it would have taken teachers about 10 seconds to grade each question. That brought us to 69.8 million minutes or 132 years to grade the over 418.6 million questions. Of course this would vary for an essay-type question or perhaps a multi-part question so this estimate is on the conservative side.
Diving even deeper, we discovered that Edulastic has saved teachers over 223 years of grading over the 5 years our company has been around. It has grown exponentially, alongside the number of questions that has been answered since Edulastic launched in 2014. (See GIF)
It’s been amazing to take a quantitative look at these impacts that we have made together. Please take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back! We’ve saved 132 years of grading and 14,862,472 pages of paper over THIS YEAR ALONE! (and the school year isn’t even over yet!)
Our community continues to grow, too, so we can only imagine that these savings will continue to increase. (See monthly teacher GIF)
By going paperless with Edulastic, so many people have enjoyed , and continue to enjoy the benefits of autograding and not needing to shuffle papers. Saved time (that would otherwise be spent grading) means more time teaching, differentiating instruction, or enjoying the weekend! And saved paper is good for our Earth- it protects the woodlands that provide beautiful habitats and promotes clean air.
What’s important to remember of course, is that no single solution is perfect. Everything will have a tradeoff. With that in mind, as long as we all are moving forward with good intentions and mindful of the impacts we have on each other and the environment, we will be able to continue to make our world a better place. Thank you for doing your part!