Mr Finlayson

Education and Technology


Posted by alexfinlayson on August 5, 2009

EtherpadHoly Cow! This program is impressive!

I’ve known about Etherpad for a fair while but have never really played around with it – until yesterday.

I had a small group working on a poem – I wanted them to produce a collaborative effort and type it up. I remembered Etherpad and instead of putting the kids on one PC I set them across five. They logged on to Etherpad and at first I asked one student to press the button ‘Create a Public Pad’ – the link sent him to a generic page with a generic title

Etherpad1something like http://etherpad/wimPlesQuirMyblIbBlablOb)*&^%$#@#$% – you know, one of those randomly generated pages with ‘unique’ addresses.

Well, after a while of waiting for the school email server to stop buggering around and the kids not being able to copy the mix of upper case, lower case and special character properly I gave up – until I thought I’d try something (now I’m sure this is well-documented but when it worked I was stokedfor the Aussies – and made-upfor the English)

The genius of Etherpad is that it lets you create your own, simple page names – I just typed in my school initials at the end of the URL and it created a page for me with that link – all the kids copied it – and we were ready to rock!

How it works

In their own words…


My tester group did a new version of the class ‘Carousel Story’ – one kid wrote the first sentence… another the next… another the third… and so on… it was flawless.

                • Each ‘author’ is designated a colour so you can keep track of who writes what
                • Everything is updated in real-time on each screen
                • You can correct each others work
                • There is a chat function on the same screen so you can communicate without altering the document
                • You can import text and edit
                • You can save file in many formats .DOC .PDF HTML .TXT etc.

 In class

There are many uses like the ones I listed above but the most impressive part for me was something we did today.

My guys all needed a computer each for a piece of work we were doing so they were all spread across the school in different classrooms, different buildings.

They all logged on to Etherpad and I could keep an eye on their work, give them instructions, answer questions, guide and teach – and here’s the kicker – without leaving my desk!


 How did today finish? With a group of girls arranging to go on Etherpad tonight to write a story… don’t worry, I’ll be monitoring… great stuff, Mr F


2 Responses to “Etherpad”

  1. Etherpad is pretty cool, isn’t it? We’ve only used it a couple of times but both times with other schools & it worked a treat. I like your idea of using it to keep in contact with kids around the school though.

    I didn’t know about simplifying the url. Will have to try that next time.

    • alexfinlayson said

      Pam, I was stoked when I realised how simple the URL could be – really opened it up for us
      All the best

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