Papyrus is an inexpensive, student oriented e-reader specially designed with collaboration in mind. It allows for on screen note taking with a stylus, as well as tagging the content. These tags are comments similar to those found on discussion forums, shared among all the students and the instructor in a given class. With all of this in mind, Papyrus also serves as a digital replacement for a student’s loaded backpack as it provides textbook, notebook and even a calculator all in one.
Papyrus’ stripped-down, specialized interface makes it accessible to a broad range of users. It’s simple enough that faculty and other adults won’t be intimidated or annoyed, yet functional enough that students will feel like they’re using something current.One of the most important details about Papyrus is how it is so different from a traditional style tablet PC or PDA. First, the unit is far less expensive at around $100. With a combination of a removal of audio, high-end graphics card, Ethernet port, and a textbook publisher/manufacturer subsidy (due to the subscription based service now that they have no overhead costs of shipping/storage/most manufacturing costs since their books are now digital) the cost is quite reasonable. Second, the device has a much longer battery life (around 30 hours) from using an E-Ink screen. Third, Papyrus’ stripped-down, specialized interface makes it accessible to a broad range of users. It’s simple enough that faculty and other adults won’t be intimidated or annoyed, yet functional enough that students will feel like they’re using something current.
Many students don’t participate in class because they’re afraid of drawing attention to themselves. Papyrus places students in an environment which they’re already familiar with (Facebook, MySpace, etc), giving them a safe, familiar venue to speak out without unwanted attention. It also lowers costs for textbooks by eliminating manufacturing and shipping costs and passing the savings on to students.
Papyrus gives teachers the ability to respond to student issues as soon as they appear in a post and gives the chance to create a game plan for the next class meeting.
Papyrus gives teachers the ability to respond to student issues as soon as they appear in a post and gives the chance to create a game plan for the next class meeting versus going into the situation blind, wasting precious class time trying to figure out where to pick up from the last assignment. Most importantly, Papyrus provides collaboration and communication without the distractions of current technology like laptops.
With rising energy costs, other big beneficiaries to the Papyrus device include textbook manufacturers and publishers. This subscription based model means an optimized cost structure with steady revenue. Digital distribution lowers exposure to rising cost centers like fuel and raw materials. It eliminates the used textbook market, allows them to add rich content to books, and delivers updates and corrections without printing a new edition.
Papyrus may not be the end-all-be-all solution to better communication and collaboration in the classroom, but we hope that the concept can be a catalyst for discussion about improving the classroom experience for everybody involved. Please let us know what you think.