The Story of Springpad

George Stokes

George is an experienced school leader and co-founder of Springpad. As a frequent reader about all things education, he enjoys sharing ideas through various events and publications. George is driven to find innovative solutions to improve learning in schools.

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Springpad began simply because I loved the learning benefits my students experienced when creating their work digitally. However, I hated the long-winded process of trying to keep this work organised or give effective feedback to it. I wanted to resolve the grinding workload that most teachers face with traditional paper workbooks, such as the difficulty of storing any multimedia and the lack of access for parents. It seems archaic that teachers globally still print reams of paper, cut and stick it inside each of their student’s workbooks. The app improves learning through a seamless, paperless teacher-student-parent workflow.

I believe the key to the applications’ popularity lies in the fact that it has been built completely from the perspective of the user. I was a class teacher (and am now Head of Learning Technology at The Arbor School with a genuine desire to improve the efficiency of the learning process in schools. Springpad has continued to evolve, but my co-founder and I are sticking to our aim of enhancing the whole learning process, including planning, delivering lessons and providing effective feedback.

With Springpad, teachers can use their tablet to sketch or make notes like they might on an interactive whiteboard, which are then automatically sent to students’ paperless workbooks along with the tasks for the lesson. Students then work directly in their paperless workbooks and teachers provide digital feedback seamlessly using voice, annotations or a combination of both. Not only does this reduce workload for teachers, but it also encourages students to engage with meaningful feedback and dialogue about their learning.

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Parents love Springpad because they get daily access to their child’s work. The bond between schools and parents improves as parents become more involved in their children’s learning and daily accomplishments.

Through our partnerships with 16 schools worldwide, we have helped schools tackle some of the barriers to learning, such as disengaged students, unnecessarily high teacher workloads and lack of effective software solutions. In recognition of this, we were delighted to win the Global Education Supplies and Solutions (GESS) 2018 Judges Award for our contribution towards learning and educational services.

Most of the credit for this award should go to the bright and enthusiastic students. They eagerly recommended improvements - including brilliantly brutal feedback on the earlier versions of the platform, to poignant suggestions and tweaks to later versions. We would like to thank them, as well as the supportive teachers who have got behind Springpad. We now know exactly what areas we need to further improve in order to make it even more useful to students, teachers and parents moving forward.

One exciting bit of news is we are currently working on a major upgrade of the mobile application on iOs and Android, which will include added functionality that was requested from teachers. The future is exciting for Springpad- which can be found at www.springpad.app - as well as education as a whole. Through social media and better communication, networks of innovative teachers around the world are shaping the future of education themselves through blogs, books and podcasts, or by creating the tools they need themselves through projects such as Springpad.

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Nobody can be 100% sure about how education will look in 10 years time, but as Abraham Lincoln famously said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

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