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Technology and the New Teacher: Printers & Copiers

About this Daily Classroom Special
Technology and the New Teacher is designed to introduce you to the topics, successes, and pitfalls of technology in the classroom. It was written by Buzz Eyler, a Teachers Network web mentor who has been leading in-service training in technology use for the past 12 years.  

(Note: This page was written in 1999. Some information may be dated.)

Printers & Copiers

Since computers were first made to work, it was a dream to have a paperless office or school. Files would be saved electronically and viewed on a monitor when needed. That is still a dream.

Unfortunately, we still need multiple paper copies, often even electronically stored documents. Whether it is a lack of trust of computers or old habits dying hard, we probably use more paper now because mistakes are found and the whole document is re-printed.

The sophistication of the copiers now is unbelievable compared to just a decade ago. They can sort, collate, and staple at great speeds. But, alas, schools rarely have them. So you will be making copies on out-dated machines that need repair often.

There really is not much to say about copiers. You will probably face some sort of limit on the number of copies or you may be asked to give all documents to one or two people who will run them for you. Just try to think of ways to not use a great deal of copied material with your children.

And, we come to printers. This is a device connected to your computer that makes a copy of what is displayed on the computer screen. There are three categories: dot matrix, the noisy, slow machines many schools still rely on; ink jet, which are fast, quiet, often print in color and must have expensive cartridge replacement; and laser, clean, very fast and very expensive per copy and often in the office for administration or office applications only.

No matter what kind of printer you have, the computer and printer must communicate with something called a Driver. This is a software program that comes with each printer which must be installed onto you computer. The driver always comes with the printer and instructions for installing it are included.

Most people learn early how to print to their own printer in their room, but if there is a better one somewhere in the school, learn how to print to that one and send a child to pick up the pages. Every network has a different procedure for doing this, so check with your tech support person.

If you plan to make copies of what you printed, set the printer to print in grayscale. It copies better than from color originals.

To save ink, save your file, do all the proof reading and spell checking and alter the document the way you want it before printing. Throwing away five sheets to get one correct one is wasteful and time consuming.

Advanced Topics
Curriculum Development
Mac vs IBM
Printers & Copiers
Word Processing


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