Can iPad Help Colleges Save Trees?

Apple iPad is widely received with good reviews and iPad is being touted as a “Laptop Killer”.  In a single day Apple sold 300,000 iPads and more than 450,000 iPads within a week.  No doubt iPad is a well made device, but iPad lacks the basic features of a laptop. iPad can not replace laptop, yet.

ipad case 300x300 Can iPad Help Colleges Save Trees?Ever since Apple unveiled iPad, debates are continuing about the core functionalities of the magical device iPad.  Is iPad useful only to consume contents? Can iPad be used to produce content? Is iPad meant for students? Here is an attempt to answer a few similar questions.

Can iPad Find Home in Colleges?

The fact that iPad can be seamlessly used to read books, create documents, browse the web, listen to music,  watch movies, and play games makes iPad to a find suitable home in colleges. Not only iPads suit well in the hands of students, they can also help colleges save paper usage and in turn save trees.

How iPad Can Help Save Trees?

iPad can help students in a number of ways.  It can easily reduce the text book prices drastically. Imagine buying a textbook for $25 on iBooks,  instead of paying over $100.  Students and parents can greatly benefit from that. More usage of eBooks can definitely help reduce paper usage. At least, text books books are reused. However, the printed papers from a class are hardly reused.  Therefore, the major chunk of paper savings and in turn saving trees will probably come from reducing the paper usage in college courses through eReaders like Kindle and  iPad.

Here is a stunning paper usage statistics from a top university.  Students from the university of size ~8000 students and no restriction on printing,  consumed ~10 million sheets of printed materials (1 million dollar worth of paper) in an academic year. This is equivalent to cutting ~1000 trees. One can easily imagine how much colleges can benefit from using a device like iPad.


Of course, going paper free or at least reducing paper usage depends on colleges and the type of courses. One may not make a math course paper-less. However, college courses on heavy on reading materials and possibly courses from humanities can definitely save lots of papers and trees.

Pilot Program on eReader in Universities

Recently, five US universities conducted a semester long experiment using eReader in the class room to understand its role in a academic setting . The study used Amazon Kindle as that was the best eBook reader available then.  However, the multi-functional iPad is probably better suited for class rooms and the results from these studies could be applied to iPad as well.

Princeton University, one of the participants, conducted the pilot program on three courses and declared the eReader experiment a success by giving A+for reading.  However, as a writing/annotation tool the eReader fell short of expectations and needed improvements.  The Princeton University report on the pilot project revealed a number of interesting points and how eReader, like iPad, can save trees.

  • 94% of the students surveyed said they they used less paper,  reducing by as much as 85% of the printing.
  • The use of eReader seems to rub it on the students to use less paper in other courses as well. For example, students with eReader printed little over half the pages printed by the students without an eReader (even when the course is not eReader friendly).

This pilot study shows how an eReader can be used in a class room to save papers/trees.

Will Apple Go Extra Yard to Save Trees?

Apple has a great opportunity to go extra green with iPad and make more money. However, Apple does not seem to target the colleges with iPad as of now.  Unlike other Apple computing devices, there is no student discounts on iPad.  May be Apple thinks for this price, students are going to find iPad on their own.  There are rumors of Apple coming up with a smaller iPad. However, the need for college students is not a smaller iPad, but reduced price and more features. Will Apple reduce the price by this Fall?  With reduced price and features that can help iPad to replace laptop will go a long way in iPad finding a home in the hands of college students. And yes, save trees as well.



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