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Richard Wells

Head of Business Sales, Epson UK

As the UK education system continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to showcase the balance of sustainability with access to good quality education technology.


While the notion of recovering the UK’s education gives schools the chance to reassess their priorities and put sustainability side-by-side quality based on what technology they use, it’s easy to imagine this comes attached with a weighty series of compromises.

What is clear however is that while technology has helped to bridge the learning experience gap during the lockdown, it will also play a pivotal role in revitalising UK education.

Links between test scores and screen visibility

According to research commissioned by Epson prior to the pandemic, 40% of teachers notice a correlation between pupils being unable to see a screen properly and lower test/exam scores,1 while further research reveals that 58% of students can’t read content on a 70-inch flat panel screen.2

Despite this, 79% of teachers are still using flat panel displays, including whiteboards, blackboards and TVs, in the classroom. This suggests a significant risk of ‘cheap seats’ in UK classrooms, an unwelcoming thought as schools make efforts to seat children even further apart from one another to help maximise social distancing. So, what are schools doing to avoid compromising the learning experience?

Optimising the learning experience

Shaftesbury school in Dorset included interactive projection in their model ‘classroom of the future’ to help bring the optimal learning experience to life for its secondary school students. This not only enabled full screen visibility for students across the classroom, but it’s given teachers access to four different content sources simultaneously and has allowed students to experience interactive lessons with tools such as Mozaik 3D software.

As the UK lockdowns forced us into home learning, the subsequent surge in demand for home printers only reinforced the importance of print in education.

In the early years foundation stage, East Ayrshire Council fitted numerous Early Childhood Centres with a new interactive projection prototype so that children could interact with content on the floor or the wall. The ‘Duo Flip’, developed by IT and AV solutions specialists Efficient IS (EIS), can be easily manoeuvred around the classroom while connecting wirelessly to a PC and demonstrates the needs of children being put first, without compromise.

Maintaining access and sustainability

As the UK lockdowns forced us into home learning, the subsequent surge in demand for home printers only reinforced the importance of print in education. But how can the education sector, which has remained a front-runner in addressing eco-trends, make sustainable choices when it comes to printing?

There are two main printing technologies, laser and inkjet. While both may look the same to the naked eye, you’ll always know once you’ve used a laser printer because of the warmth of the machine after it’s printed something and the extensive waiting time to print its first page.

By contrast, inkjet printing is a heat-free printing technology that uses fewer consumables and therefore less packaging. By switching from laser printing to inkjet technology, European businesses could save enough energy annually to power 800,000 electric cars for a year, cut €152m in energy costs and lower CO2 emissions by 410 million kilograms, an amount it would typically take 19 million trees a year to absorb.3

Epson has been leading the industry shift from laser to business inkjet printing for the last couple of decades and we’re pleased that having secured a position on the NEPA (National Education Printer Agreement) framework, the education and public sector now has more access to sustainable technology, no caveats, no compromise. 

[1] https://www.epson.co.uk/insights/article/classroom-tech-is-not-making-the-grade-poor-screen-visibility-is-impacting-student-exam-results1
[2] Leading 70-inch class 4k resolution flat panel in a 22′ (width) by 27′ (depth) classroom-style arrangement. When asked to copy down six short items of information from slides being displayed, 58% of students ages 12-22 copied at least one item incorrectly. Based on U.S. research conducted by Radius Research.
[3] Based on Epson calculations. Methodology verified by TÜV Rheinland, based on ‘Typical Energy Consumption’, defined under and/or simulated with reference to the Energy Star test procedure and presented in kWh per year. Models identified using IDC HCP tracker 2019Q2 (2015Q1 to 2018Q4 data), and 2018 installed-base in EU22 businesses reported by IDC 10 (“Installed Base by Vertical, 2019Q2”). Comparative calculations can be found here: https://www.epson.eu/neop-footnotes

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