Much to my shame, as a PGCE student, I spent an awful lot of time printing. Nothing had changed the following September, October and perhaps leading up to the April of that academic year (around the time our school invested in iPads). It’s fair to say that the lessons in which I used the iPads I spend very little time beforehand (if any) frantically printing. Not only is this saving trees, but it means I spend more time in bed in the mornings as I don’t have to get in early to print worksheets, differentiation sheets and sheets that I simply never end up using.
I’ve covered in previous posts about the benefit of hosting materials on a website which can be accessed easier view QR or Google Doc (for the same reasons I’ve given above). However, another brilliant paperless classroom solution is the app Showbie. Showbie is one of the easiest to use and most beneficial apps for the virtual classroom and, drum roll please….it’s free!! Well…fremium…but it’s free features alone make a big difference to the virtual classroom.
Students and teachers take less than 30 seconds to sign up (name, username and password…email is optional). The teacher then sets up a classroom on their account and is given a code. The students then put the code in and voila! All of your students are connected via Showbie. You can now send them photos, text/audio notes and PDFs; which when used in conjunction with Genius Scan (an App that scans PDFs onto your iPad) is really powerful. Furthermore, students can annotate, create audio or visual notes and send them back, creating a dialogue between student, teacher and peers.
Once you’ve mastered this, the possibilities are endless. You could go on to differentiate by group and create two different classroom codes, ask students to share their work and ask pupils to peer assess and students could even be a handy way of submitting homework.