Use a laptop, save a tree

It’s no secret that Harvard-Westlake is trying to go green. Water bottles are no longer sold in the cafeteria and the bookstore is selling metal water bottles that can be refilled from new filtered water spigots around campus. Increasingly, teachers are asking students to view worksheets and slideshows online instead of handing out printed copies in class.

But the administration has yet to implement one commonsense, environmentally-friendly policy: allowing students to type notes during class.

But the administration has yet to implement one commonsense, environmentally-friendly policy: allowing students to type notes during class.

Most students take notes by hand every day. In a school of more than 1,600 students, reams of paper are wasted daily, and the environmental impact adds up. If the administration is serious about making Harvard-Westlake a greener school, then it should allow us to bring laptops to school so we can type notes.

Laptops would make note-taking easier for many students. If a teacher is speaking quickly, it can be difficult to write down everything that he or she is saying, and typing is faster than writing by hand.

Right now, students need permission to bring laptops to school, and many teachers do not permit students to use laptops during class. Some teachers have expressed the legitimate concern that they might not know whether students are playing computer games during class instead of typing notes. But even now teachers do not know if students are are really taking notes. They could be finishing up an English paper or studying for a biology test.

Replacing paper with laptops would not amplify this problem; those students who don’t want to pay attention already let their minds wander regardless.

Another concern is that laptops could be stolen. While this is always possible, it is no more likely than any other valuable being stolen.

Not every student will bring his or her laptop to school; some will still prefer taking notes by hand, either because they are used to it or because they retain information better when they write it by hand. Students may not have laptops to bring to school. But some of us who do would want to use them.

It would be up to us to actually save paper by not printing our notes. Yes, exclusively digital notes would take some getting used to, but we would adjust. The administration should let us help Harvard-Westlake go green.

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