Thursday 22 December 2011

My reflections on using Papershow in class

When I first wrote about Papershow digital toolkit, I promised to give my feedback about the tool.
Now I have tried it out in the classroom with my students and here are some of my thoughts.

Basically, the tool consists of a digital notepad and a bluetooth pen. What is written in the notepad is seen on the screen. The teacher can choose whether to show the pad at the beginning of the activity or reveal the outcome at the end.

I tried all the activities mentioned on the Papershow website, such as mindmapping, checking and correcting student handwriting, doing dictations, checking spelling, taking notes (in groups and individually).

How else did I use Papershow with my students?
  • Students made a list of difficult key words from the text they had studied.
  • Students in groups studied idioms and wrote the most interesting ones in the notepad.
  • Students put down their ideas of healthy / unhealthy food items.
  • Students listed the causes of global warming.
  • Students brainstormed ideas for an essay.
After each activity students' notes were discussed, they could see what other groups had done, read what other students had written. This is one of the main advantage of the Papershow tool. It produces immediate visual response, and I think this is what attracts students, especially younger, to this gadget.

The use of the tool may involve each student in the classroom and make them active participants in the learning process. For younger students it really makes a difference if they use a plain pen and write in their workbooks or use a "magic" pen to write in a special notepad.

Now my few cautious critical remarks.

The initial excitement and interest quickly wore off once the students had understood how the tool worked (or not worked). Unfortunately the pen did not work in the distance of the promised 10 metres, it did not even work 5 metres from the computer. Students had to move closer to the front or I sometimes gave the pad to those sitting at the front desks. They even made up a joke that the bluetooth ray of the digital pen was too short for their classroom (no more than 4 x 6 m).
The older students realised (and told it to me) that the pen was fun but it was actually a waste of time. I had to agree with them.

Perhaps I and my students have been too serious (we had our bit of fun though) or my expectations have been too high, but I am going to pass the toolkit on to a colleague.


Ieva's blog said...

Actually I have the same experience. First month was exciting and we played a lot with it, but then we realised that it is just another toy to play with during lessons. Sometimes it is annoying because pen does not work properly- if we are too far from PC or internet connection is bad. But anyway, this is an interesting tool to use for variegating our lessons.

Baiba said...

Ieva, thank you for stopping by. I am glad to hear that there are other teachers who have used Papershow and share my misgivings. If it were not so expensive, it could occasionally be used for entertainment :)