As Co-Founder and CEO of EdSmart, Fiona is passionate about
using technology to empower relationships and a greater good,
with a focus on helping educators, parents and students worldwide.
She began her career as a radio broadcaster and was Co-Founder of
ArtsHub, the leading online home for arts and cultural workers in
Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She was featured in the book
50 Great eBusinesses and the Minds Behind Them (Random
House 2007). Fiona is also a long-time runner and mother of three.
It's time we had a serious conversation about climate change and the role we can play in combating it.
For quite some time, the information around climate science has been pushed to one side in the national debate, as governments sought to deal with more practical things, like the economy. But there’s nothing more practical than making sure the systems that support life can continue to do so.
Australian schools have been one of the few places where we've been able to ask the question ‘why is this so?’. However, with recent tragedies, the realities of climate change are now more urgent, and the need to act rather than merely question has become apparent.
When we started EdSmart in 2014, we built our platform as a digital forms solution, specifically to make it easier for schools to go paperless and transition to more sustainable practices. We were advised by plenty that ‘benefits to the environment' was not a decider for schools so, being commercial and needing to keep an eye on our own sustainability, we concentrated on the angle of the cost and labour-savings of our School Organisation System instead.
Yet, we knew, because we could calculate it directly, that using EdSmart was also good for the environment and could help schools play a part in saving trees and taking carbon load out of the atmosphere.
We created a Cost Calculator to show the tangible benefits a school can gain from EdSmart. We've helped champion schools who are putting sustainable practices at the forefront of their endeavours – such as Oakleigh Grammar School – and we quietly do our bit in emergencies by ensuring not everything was lost for one of our schools in the NSW bushfires (their precious data remained safe in the cloud and we gave them extra resources to get them back up and running).
The naysayers to our responsibilities to the environment have been very vocal but I’m glad we made that early decision to keep the metrics that measured positive environmental impact by using our system. Your school can also go digital and reduce paper waste. It just requires taking the first few positive steps:
1. Play around with our Cost Calculator to see the real impact a school can have on the world around you.
2. Do a digital 'stocktake' – what technology are you using, are you really using it or could you use what you have better? Generic digital forms that don't take the needs of schools into account could be creating more work than they're worth.
3. Learn from what other schools are doing for the environment, like Albert Park Preschool, Australia's first certified carbon neutral kindergarten.
Schools can play an important role in addressing the need for waste reduction, raising awareness and increasing their environmental responsibility. We here at EdSmart are doing what we can to support our schools in taking positive action.
Together, we can do this.
If you are not yet part of the EdSmart schools community and would like to have a chat, feel free to get in touch. We would love nothing more than to help your school take practical steps to care for the environment.