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25.04.2015
Collaborative learning
Koen Timmers
by Koen Timmers
Educator - Author - Keynote speaker - Global Teacher Prize 2017 finalist

As I teach web design, students need to have the right images and pieces of code to create a webpage. At first, I shared these files on our school's intranet (network?), which of course can't be accessed by students who weren't able to attend my class. The implementation of cloud services  seemed to overcome this problem. OneDrive (formerly know as SkyDrive) solved my problem: all students, including ill, were able to access the needed document and assignments.

After a while I went a step further: I began to share digital courseware on OneDrive. As a teacher computer science, I strive to a paperless classroom. I believe digital courseware can offer a lot of benefits and opportunities. Preferring digital courseware rather than paper takes some time to be accustomed. Ten years ago only one students in a large group preferred a digital course. Nowadays only one student prefers to receive a paper version.

Digital courses are searchable, anywhere accessible, usually up to date, can promote m-learning (on smartphone and tablet), can be interactive or consist multimedia, are cheaper (to be spread in color) and have generally speaking a better quality (resolution).

OneDrive in Education

Another problem is the fact that books can be outdated. There is also a major difference between a textbook which describes information and good courses which offer a well grounded pedagogical structure. Sometimes students can't find specific information in there textbook. This made me decide to hand out general courseware at the beginning of a course and write specific couseware during my lessons. While I teach my students, I create a word (online) document, on which the progress of excercises is captured and extra information is gathered. At the end of the day, week or month, students can rehearse and excercise by informing their courseware which is an exact copy of the information provided during the lessons. Students can add own ideas, can print out and access the information anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes the implementation of a new tool has unexpected side effects: students began to share own written tutorials in a shared folder. As this folder is shared to different classes, there begins to grow collaboration between different groups, as they can consult each others documents. Towards future groups, there will be a nice library of resources.

Are you prepared to strive to a paperless classroom? Please share your experiences with OneDrive.

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