Papershow for Teachers introduced at Macworld 2011

Mike Schramm
M. Schramm|01.29.11

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Papershow for Teachers introduced at Macworld 2011

Papershow made a big splash last year at Macworld during its introduction, and since then has apparently sold fairly well in business circles (the product is now being sold in Staples as well). This year, Papershow is introducing a new edition styled for education applications, called Papershow for Teachers, that features not only a few upgrades to the functionality, but a few targeted extras meant specifically for the classroom.

Just like the previous edition, Papershow for Teachers has a special pen (with a camera built into it) and a Bluetooth-enabled USB drive that hooks right into your Mac with all the necessary software pre-installed on it. The pen's camera can only be used with special paper (a pad is included with the package, and you can, of course, buy more) that has a series of dots on it to tell the app where and when you're drawing on the screen. So very easily, anything written on the special paper gets translated up to the screen.

That's the basic functionality, but a printed toolbar on the paper adds a lot more. By "pressing buttons" on the printed toolbar, the pen can change colors, change shapes, or even do things like pull up graphics or draw shapes on screen. The new teacher edition includes an extended toolbar with even more functions -- teachers can now pull up a virtual calculator on screen, and even do things like draw an angle and then ask the software to calculate exactly what it is. Any images created with the app can be exported out to email or PDF, so teachers can share notes with their students right away.
Papershow told us that after business, teaching was the next biggest audience for its product, hence the educational release. They're also looking at military applications, and even other professions like lawyers or salespeople have shown a lot of interest in using the software for all kinds of applications. Teaching also appealed to the company because of the practical methods of using the software -- because the controller is a pad of paper, students of all age levels, from elementary school to college, are able to pick it up and use it right away. And in the classroom, students don't need to go up to the blackboard on their own or turn their backs on the teacher -- the teacher can simply pass the pad to them and they can write on the board from a seat.

Next for Papershow is probably an update of the technology -- they've only broken ground with what an interface like this can do, and there are a lot of other features, from handwriting applications to more functional interactions, that Papershow can pull off. Papershow for Teachers is available now for US$249, and the original package is $199 online as well.
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