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Innovation

How many printers do we need?

At our high school, I have a networked printer in every lab, one in the teacher's lounge, a big mopier in the main office, and a couple of personal lasers in remote spots or where confidential printing is important (the special education director's office, for example). As long as they're running, no one complains about not having a printer in (or even near) their room.
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Written by Christopher Dawson on

At our high school, I have a networked printer in every lab, one in the teacher's lounge, a big mopier in the main office, and a couple of personal lasers in remote spots or where confidential printing is important (the special education director's office, for example). As long as they're running, no one complains about not having a printer in (or even near) their room.

Not so at the elementary schools. This year is the first year of seriously phasing out inkjets in every room in favor of a few networked lasers. Obviously, in the first year of a new program there are going to be some gripes. Some of them are absolutely to be expected. However, some are also legitimate. In a secondary setting with passing periods, long preparation periods, and older kids who can responsibly be sent to grab something off of a printer, centralized networked printers don't pose any real hassle.

However, in an elementary classroom, I can definitely see where this might be a bigger problem. Kids and teachers simply go for much longer periods of being together and there are fewer opportunities to run to the lounge to grab a paper. It could even be argued that younger kids need more in the way of handouts and supplemental materials, necessitating a higher volume of printing.

So the real question is, how many printers do we really need? I can't justify one per classroom at the primary level, but does one for every two or three classrooms make sense? I'll never go back to inkjets, but laser printers are relatively cheap. This might be one of those inexpensive things that make teachers really happy.

Of course, my fear, tree-hugger that I am, is that making printing more convenient will simply increase the use of consumables. Would a better investment be an LCD projector for every room? Obviously this is more money up front, but if teachers could project many of the materials they might otherwise hand out, would we save money and resources in the long run?

What do you think?

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