Obsidian for schools, education, community learning

Hello, Obsidian community,

I started to use Obsidian not that long ago and I will mainly use it for PKM.

Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone here has experience with using Obsidian in education. One major feature is that the notes (files) are on the local computer (or maybe it works even with a school server). This is mainly beneficial with regard to data privacy. This is certainly country-specific but in the EU, cloud services in schools are difficult to use (if possible at all).

Here are some questions that interest me:

  1. Do you use it in education / in your class / in your school?
  2. If yes, what’s the technical setup?
  3. If yes, how exactly do you use it for learning/teaching? For instance collaborative tasks.

I would love to think about and discuss various use-cases for Obsidian with that regard.
Thank you for any best practices and inspirations.

PS: not sure i “Feature requests” is the right category for this post


I believe network file systems are currently unsupported. They work to some degree but, for example, the app doesn’t know when the file you’re looking at is updated by someone. You could work around this by syncing to local storage.

Thanks … at this point, I am not expert enough for workaround setups.

One think would interest me though … why wouldn’t the app know if a file is updated?

I imagine one vault being a bunch of files on a students or an educators personal space on the school sever where only said person has access.

Do you mean a locally installed Obsidian app on a laptop can’t communicate with a file on a server? Can’t a vault be stored in such a way?

Sorry, but I am not too familiar with network / admin setups.

I don’t know the full details of this, but my understanding is it’s a problem of the app being notified by the OS.

On local storage the OS knows whenever a file is updated because the OS is responsible for all updates. So the OS can then tell Obsidian “Hey, I just updated that file you’re looking at”.

But on network storage it’s a different computer doing the update, so your OS doesn’t know there’s been an update without having to ask. Obsidian could constantly keep asking the network storage if there’s been an update — maybe they’ll add that in the future — but this is new software with more important features to add first.

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I attempted to use obsidian for a class of three high school students by sharing a vault with their school onedrive accounts. It was a mess and after a week doing troubleshooting instead of class material we gave up :frowning: Probably mostly my lack of networking knowledge. But it would be wonderful to see something like Obsidian built for easy classroom use.

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That would be Roam.

Good lead, thank you! Roam looks like a good candidate. I might try that another year. It’s beyond my price range (I work at a tiny private school with no money), but I see they have scholarships you can apply for.

Same … Roam looks more like you could use it out of the box in such a setting. The beauty of Obisidian - among other things - is the privacy (data on your local storage even if on a school server) and that it is (mostly) free.

Hmmm … interesting. But it needs those progressive expeirments

You may want to take a look at https://js.wiki/ as a free alternative. Or https://docs.google.com/

I considered those too. We are using Google Docs for now. Neither, as I understand it, have graph view or backlinks, which were important to the way I wanted to use Obsidian in class.

Thank you … I might look into js.wiki. Google docs is great for real time collaboration but otherwise offers little value