"Less is More" solution for writing workshops, flipping the classroom and file sharing in low-tech classrooms.
Unlike many expressly educational apps, WPS brings "grown-up" digital productivity to students in learning environments where computer and internet access are limited or absent, a situation characteristic of the majority of classrooms across the globe. Through streamlined WPS apps, students can be introduced to file formats, operations and functions applicable in more sophisticated computing environments. Unburdened by feature bloat, WPS Office loads quickly, rarely crashes and provides automatic file back-up. Not bad for a free app. If future versions can support PPT audio/video, WPS will be a powerful tool for flipping the classroom.
How I Use It
I have used WPS Office for teaching internationally where budgets, bandwidth and books are lacking or meager. Like Twitter and Facebook, WPS's power comes from its simplicity and adaptability across devices and digital environments. In a rural South African 7th grade classroom, students participated in a 3-period literacy workshop using WPS offline on mobile phones. The workshop began with a presentation of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "A Song in the Front Yard" which introduced the topic of childhood rebellion. Students read the poem, viewed videos of drama students performing the poem , and then accessed and complete a wps doc formatted as a close exercise as a comprehension check. For homework, students used their cameras to capture photographs that illustrated key scenes in the poem. On Day Two, working in groups, students shared their photos (saved as jpgs) and chose the best to create illustrated WPS PPT versions of the poem, which groups submitted offline via Bluetooth file exchange to a projector-connected teacher laptop. The workshop culminated in the writing of personal narratives of disobedience and its consequences. Working in pairs, students used the "track change" feature to edit a peer's essay. Final versions of essays were submitted offline to a class Dropbox folder, which synched at a wifi hotspot in a cafe near the school.