One of the first blog posts I wrote was about the power of the scanner option on my school’s photocopier. If you somehow collected all of the devices I have used over the years you would see that I have owned at least 6 different scanners since I started college in the 90’s. I have long been obsessed with bridging the paper and digital world. The mission of My Paperless Classroom is primarily to discover the best uses of technology to support learning, and to save me from my own organizational shortcomings.
Last year I scanned in my typewritten journals from college, an then recycled them, all nine binders worth. Despite my love for scanners, I have not made much use of my iPad to capture documents. I can take pictures of documents and load them into Evernote, but I end up with the document plus part of the table, or the text is not square in the picture, or the document is keystoned because I was not holding the iPad flat. It is a copy I can refer to, but not really reuse.
When I got the Scansnap iX100 to review I was skeptical. It is a small, lightweight, battery powered scanner. Could this really work? My first test was to associate it with my desktop at school. I had to plug it in to the computer for the initial setup, but once the drivers were installed and the scanner found the wifi network, I was ready to get moving.
When I taught high school English I enjoyed having my own classroom and my students always came to me for class. I had maybe 3 meetings a week, I was a sedentary teacher. I rarely sat behind a desk, but I also rarely left the room. This year I have 17 class periods per week and 18 or more meetings. Most of these happen outside my recently created makerspace. So when it came time to head to my meeting, I grabbed my iPad, my Livescribe notebook and my scanner. When the first grade teacher showed me a handout they were using, I opened the scanner and hit the button. Once I got back to my desktop, it was there waiting for me, and that was in the next building over.
A mobile scanner that sends work back to my desk is really neat, but I don’t know if it is a game-changer, but then I connected the scanner to my devices. I installed the ScanSnap Connect app on my Nexus 7 tablet as well as each of the iPads I use at work. Now I can scan wirelessly into my iPad. This is not about saving work, this is about doing work. I scan in a document and then open it in Explain Everything and I am ready to make a quick video to share information with a student, a colleague, or my supervisor. The draft someone handed me can be sent to skitch for annotation, or the color drawing a second grader made for me can be opened in iBooks for a high quality presentation when I airplay it to the projector.
My scanner is so mobile it even works as it’s own wifi hotspot if I am away from my own networks, so wireless scanning is possible even off line. My tablets can directly connect to the iX100’s own wifi.
When I started teaching I kept breaking the rear axle on my bike because of all the paper I hauled. I remember one dangerous afternoon as a grad student when I dumped my bike in the middle of a busy intersection in San Diego. Cars dodged me and honked as I scrambled to collect hundreds of freshmen composition assignments as they swirled through traffic and away from me. Considering that scenario, the iX100 could be a lifesaver, lightweight, portable and full color 300dpi. I am looking forward to fewer assignments lost and hopefully never chasing student work through traffic again.
ScanSnap Squad, Education