01.09.2014

Paperless Classrooms: Time to Convince Teachers

Paperless Classrooms: Time to Convince Teachers

Image | Brad Flickinger

The future of education and textbooks seems to be digital. This type of multimedia and interactive content has many advantages compared to the traditional paper version: save money, save space (goodbye to heavy backpacks!), interaction between the student and the content … Only a few days ago we received the news of a digital book whose pages personalize depending on the student´s level. This is great for learners, but how can technology help teachers?

Tools from Google and Apple

“More teaching, less tech-ing”. This is one of the slogans Google chose for Classroom, a shared space for students and teachers where the teachers have control of the educational activities. Larry Page´s company has a clear objective: provide students all the organization and communication possibilities that applications allow, within the educational environment.

Among the features that are included in this control center (currently only available in Google Apps for education) is the ability to create spaces for each student to upload their homework. No more having to deliver paper homework: share the document in Drive and you´re ready to go. In the Task section, there is a complete and personalized list with the pending work to do. At a glance, the educator knows who has already turned in their homework and who hasn´t, and can correct their work from the same place.

Paperless Classrooms: Time to Convince Teachers

Image | iTunes U

If Google has Classrom, Apple has iTunes U. “Your lessons. Your materials. Together on iPad,” reads the slogan. The objective of this tool is to allow students to organize all of their work and materials directly from their iPad. In this way, students will always have their notes and other necessary materials to study within their tablet.

The advantages for the teacher in this case are also very interesting, because the tool offers the possibility to update the contents of the notes at any moment. You want your students to see a video? Create a new task and the students will receive it in their inbox. iTunes U also allows to create discussion topics and debates, all from the same platform without leaving the mobile device.

The App Ecosystem for Professors

Paperless Classrooms: Time to Convince Teachers

Image | Showbie

Google and Apple are not the only companies that want to make teachers lives easier. There are applications developed by third parties, that also want to offer these features. Showbie is one of them, and its goal is to end the use of paper. The idea is that the teacher assigns a task to the students and sends it through the application. The teacher can then comment and even write on the received presentations.

The advantage of interactive applications is that parents themselves can play an active role in monitoring their children. ClassDojo is one of the most known. The teacher does not only evaluate the behavior of each child, but the information also arrives to the parents. Teachers and parents can even communicate directly via the instant messenger.

Paperless Classrooms: Time to Convince Teachers

Image | ClassDojo – Instructional TechTalk

It is worthwhile to speak not only about applications related to academic content, but also of other tools oriented to manage the classroom daily. Solutions like TeacherKit allow educators to do roll call, make notes about each student, keep a history of notes … It´s time to replace the paper documents that have been used forever!

If you dedicate yourself to teaching and you still have not found the app that you need, all you have to do is look, because there are many more.

Tools That Already Exist

What do all of these tools have in common? In addition to trying to help professors in their daily life, they are extremely simple to use and do not require expansive technical knowledge. Now everything is in the hands of the teachers who, luckily, have an extensive catalogue where they can choose the technology that best suits them for teaching their classes.

The mSchools mSchools programme is a multi-faceted mEducation initiative by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, in collaboration with The Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall and GSMA.

Launched in 2013, mSchools supports students and teachers effectively integrating mobile technologies into the classroom. Mobile enables access to up-to-date materials, improves collaboration and strengthens learner engagement, opening up new ways of teaching and learning that improve achievement and employability.

The mSchools programme brings together private and public institutions to help students build important new skills and prepare them for today’s digital world.

Mobile World Capital presents a global vision that effectively integrates mobile technologies into the fabric of the industries transforming our lives. Committed to expanding the mobile experience throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain with strong support of the public and private sector.

Mobile World Capital is leading mobile transformation through commitments in Competence Centres, local Industry Development, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programmes.

MWCapital offers an open platform and exhibition showroom where citizens can understand and experience how mobile is enhancing our lives: The Mobile World Centre, located in the heart of Barcelona on Plaza Catalunya.

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