Each week Simon Collier and I collaborate on an email newsletter for teachers called Tech Tools for Teachers. Click here to find an archive of past newsletters and to subscribe.
This week we review the site PrimaryPad
PrimaryPad is a tool that allows students and teachers to collaborate on a word-processor style document. Despite the name, PrimaryPad could be used with both primary and secondary students.
We like PrimaryPad because it:
* is free.
* doesn’t require users to sign up or log-in.
* is very easy to use. You can create a page in seconds.
* has a wide range of uses for all ages and curriculum areas.
* allows for collaboration across the class or globe.
* is secure – only people with the unique URL can enter a room.
* is ad-free.
* provides an authentic opportunities to discuss netiquette and cyber safety issues.
An example of how I used PrimaryPad in my Grade Two Classroom
Last week, I used PrimaryPad with a small group of students each day.
I wanted to use this tool, not only for the powerful collaboration opportunities it offers but to create an authentic opportunity to introduce my students to chat rooms and netiquette in a controlled environment.
For the task, there were six members of the room (including myself) each on individual computers. We first started by having a general online chat to get the students familiar with the tool. I had my students focus on reading others’ messages, responding appropriately and remaining on-topic and polite.
With the first group, the chat led to a discussion of the school Festa that was held on the weekend and the group decided to use the collaborative space to create a top 10 list of the best aspects of the Festa. The chat feature of the tool was used to decide on what to put on the list.
The students got so much out of this session. Afterwards, we were able to reflect on how the students did with reading and responding to messages and we had a rich discussion about netiquette (ie. CAPTIALS means shouting, the importance of taking turns etc).
Other examples of how PrimaryPad could be used (note some ideas from http://www.ideastoinspire.co.uk/primarypad.htm)
* Import a document and students edit it collaboratively.
* Students write a story, movie/book review, essay or other text in small groups.
* Brainstorming in groups what students know about a new topic.
* Import an opinion piece and have students use the chat function to debate the topic.
* Make a chain story. One class starts a story, another class continues it and so on.
* At the end of a unit of work, students collaborate to document what they’ve learnt.
* Students help their peers to make their sentences more interesting.
* One child types a word in and other children try to list as many synonyms of it as possible.
* One child takes on the role of a person (e.g. Roman soldier, environmentalist, land developer etc.) who must answer questions posed by other children.
For more information about how to use PrimaryPad, download the PDF of this week’s Tech Tools for Teachers Newsletter Newsletter #22 PrimaryPad
4 Replies to “Tech Tools for Teachers #22 PrimaryPad”
We use primary pad extensively across year 5 and find the students really enjoy it. I have used it to record notes taken when researching, each student adding to the pad when they find out something new.
To create spelling definitions.
For our spelling words ‘silly story’ which is when the story should not make sense but the words must be used in context, also written as a chain story. Every time I say we will be using primary pad my students are so keen to contribute to it.
@ Henrietta, thanks for those great ideas! I can’t wait to start using it more in the classroom. I think it’s a really versatile tool and like so many other tools, only limited by your imagination!
Primary Pad looks like a great way for students to collaborate, particularly primary elementary students. Thanks for the great and complete review of it!
@ Kelly, thanks for your support. I don’t know how you get a chance to read so many blogs! What an inspriation.
I am looking forward to using PrimaryPad more with students. Hopefully they keep the free model as-is long-term unlike some other useful tools!