*NEWS*SPLASH COLOR, A DASH OF LEARNING
*NEWS*SPLASH COLOR, A DASH OF LEARNING
2006-01-17 at 9:51:00 am #13508
A Splash of Color, a Dash of Learning
The reduced costs of laser printers have helped bring the educational benefits of using color to the classroom.
WHAT’S BLACK AND WHITE and read all over?
In today’s schools, less and less.
suggest that the use of color in the classroom is an easy yet effective
method educators can implement to promote faster development in their
students. Color increases recall by up to 60 percent, and some research
suggests that readers pay attention up to 82 percent longer when color
is used in a document.
But this is nothing new. Educators have
historically embraced color, although mainly through the use of ink-jet
printing technology. Ink-jet printers offer attractive initial
acquisition costs, and teachers can even afford to purchase them out of
their own pockets or through the PTA fund. In the past, stepping up to
color laser technology has simply been too expensive for teachers and
administrators to consider on a widespread basis. But costs have
plummeted, even as the technology advances, and laser printers now list
for prices that schools on tight budgets can afford.
Ten years ago,
a color device that printed three pages per minute (ppm) would cost
about $7,000. Today, however, many high-performance color laser
printers are priced below $500-and those machines can be networked so
they function as a shared device. Laser printers offer incredible
speeds around 20 ppm in color. By comparison, ink-jet devices can be
very slow, since speed claims are usually based on documents in draft
mode with only spot color. Teachers wanting to print full-coverage
documents in the best-quality mode will find that the speed on an
ink-jet device can slow to two or three ppm.
inherent issues work against the use of ink-jet technology. Although
ink-jet printers have very low initial acquisition costs, they do have
a high cost per page and require frequent user interventions to change
cartridges and paper. On the contrary, each laser cartridge provides
users with thousands of pages, and even base-model laser printers
normally hold a ream of paper. More problematic is the tendency of
ink-jet cartridges to dry up quickly if they are not used on a regular
basis. This can mean that printers left idle for the summer, or during
a long winter break, will need new cartridges upon return, even though
none of the ink on the old ones has been used.
Cable in the Classroom
printers also have much higher reliability ratings and can easily
handle a wide variety of media. It’s typical for a laser printer to
print 5,000 pages without a single misfeed; ink-jet printers can’t
match that. Cheap paper, especially the recycled kind, can cause ink to
bleed dramatically and the paper to curl. Laser printers generally do
not have that problem and can handle recycled paper with ease, in
addition to materials like labels and glossy paper, and cardstock.
course, price is always a top consideration whenever schools shop for
technology. However, networked laser printers offer educators many more
options toward restraining costs. Network management software can
control who can print in color and who cannot. It can also allow
several teachers to share one machine. This cuts down on the number of
devices a school must track and maintain, as well as the amount of
supplies schools must purchase and keep in stock. For those areas where
a shared network device in a central location for use by several
teachers is not practical, there are solutions available that place a
color laser printer on a power cart that can be rolled from classroom
to classroom. This allows many teachers to enjoy the benefits of the
machine, while ensuring the school doesn’t have to endure the
Some argue that the drawback to laser printers is
not the acquisition cost of the machine, but the cost of toner and
other maintenance supplies. However, when you compare purchasing a
cartridge that will last for 8,000 pages to buying an ink cartridge
that needs to be replaced each month, the cost per page actually comes
out less. And more importantly, teachers will spend less time dealing
with printer maintenance and more time with their students.
the benefits of better information retention and greater student
engagement, color also helps brighten up a classroom and enhance the
learning environment. With today’s laser printing technology now
enabling documents as large as 12×48 inches to be printed affordably
in-house, it makes more sense than ever for schools to add a little
color to their printing infrastructure.