My Year Without Paper-Using Online Tools to Save a School District One Million Dollars

Concurrent Session 11

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

After witnessing extreme amounts of paper copying at my K-12 District I discovered our organization spent three millon dollars a year on copying/printing.  Inspired by the books "Switch" and Tribes" we formed a papersaver tribe and set out to change behaviors leveraging online tools.


Paul has most of his life in higher education with an emphasis on online learning, academic technology and multimedia production. He has a Master's degree in Instructional Technology from Towson University. He also has a certificate in Digital Storytelling from the University of Colorado. In the past 6 years he has served Denver Public Schools as a Coordinator of Online Professional Learning, focusing on teachers and school leaders. For more information about Paul, visit his holistic website: or his blog

Extended Abstract

Employing ideas from the books "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath and "Tribes" by Seth Godin, we've set out on a journey to change behaviors in Denver Public Schools attempting to save at least one million dollars out of the three million currently spent on copying/printing.  This does not include external printing jobs or plain paper purchases like easel pads or post it notes.  When this is added to copying/printing, the actual total paper cost to the district is closer to five million dollars a year. 

The approach to change takes many forms-workshops, messaging, even papersaving gift baskets.  The alternative paths include high tech, low tech and no tech solutions to using paper.  I'm experimenting with these alternatives by vowing to not print anything for a year.  I'm recording progress on my blog:

Attendees will gain ideas for taking on personal and institutional change, how to leverage online tools and sustaining a tribe-recognizing that anyone can be a leader and contribute.