collaborative work in the classroom with etherpad

First the good news, I am now a teacher and expert at the Montessori School Potsdam. After a year of testing, I am now responsible for the digital technologies at this school next to my work in the FabLab.

In several courses, I made an introduction for students and course teachers in some tools (which we use) for collaborative documentation and their use in the classroom. One example is Etherpad. I started using this software sevral years ago in my own project-groups . This software is open source and can be installed as a server on almost any hardware.

There are some free accessable Online-Pad Server like :

In my class are between 10 and 20 students, all write simultaneously in the pad. you can track the discussion with a time-slider button. In the 6 weeks project courses a specific pad will be used as a general documentation tool.

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Example (only in German) :

One Topic in the current course is the installation of the etherpad on the Rapberry Pi and use it as a mobile local documentation server. The big advantage is also that any device can be used for Etherpad for instance Smartphones or Tablets.

Furthermore, I am looking for extensions to easily integrate such as images and videos in such a system.


Experiences :

– the students are happy to use their own devices in the classroom. (We want to introduce a mixed BYOD in our school this year. 95% of my students have android or ios powered smartphone)

– there is a testing period in the beginning with fun filled discussions in the pad.

– then slowly forms a structure in the text working groups were created.


some links :