I hope everyone who was on half-term last week had a relaxing break. I thought I would focus this month's blog post on an issue that faces every school using iPads: How to effectively gather the videos/documents that pupils are creating.
This is the one question I am always asked. With pupils using iPads to do everything from creating films, composing music and writing interactive ebooks, it is now no longer possible to always print off pupil work and staple it to a display board. With rumours that Apple will be announcing AirDrop for iPad next week at the WWDC conference, I thought it was a good time to round up the workflow solutions currently on offer for the iPad.
If the iPads are all connected to one Apple ID then you can use iCloud to access pupil work. This only really works with Pages, Numbers and Keynote. When pupils create a document then with iCloud turned on, it will push the document to all the other iPads connected to that Apple ID. This works to limited degree. I like the fact that you can access the documents from the web using iCloud.com but the whole thing is designed for the personal user and it restricted by storage size etc for education use.
Personally I feel that services like DropBox and Box are also designed for the personal user and I am slightly concerned about putting photos/videos of children on there because their terms and conditions are not designed for education. At school we use DropBox to send resources to pupils, like maps for geography and old photos for history. Google Drive also is popular in secondary education.
When the iPad is plugged into iTunes, you can send documents from many apps, including GarageBand, Book Creator etc to iTunes using the sharing option. This works ok if you have a charge box that plugs all the iPads into the computer simultaneously but is quite time consuming compared to some of the other wireless options.
This works by setting up a Mac as a Server by using Mountain Lion Server. You then put the server settings into each iPad and it allows pupils to save their iWork documents to a folder on the mac server. It also works with Explain everything app. I like this method but it is limited to the iWork apps so all photos/video will have to be out into apps like Pages and Keynote. There is also the Kanex MeDrive which I reviewed in a previous blog post.
Showbie and Edmodo
We began using Showbie in school in March and it works well. Teachers create an assignment name and and pupils use the Showbie app to drop documents/videos/photos etc to that assignment. Teachers can then use the app to view the file and give feedback to pupils. What I like about this is that firstly it works with the camera roll, iwork apps and apps such as Book Creator and Comic Life but it also works online too so pupils can add files from their computers at home to access at school or visa versa. Edmodo is similar but has a few more features designed for Secondary schools, such as quizzes.
More and more apps are enabling the user to upload the file to the web, such as My Story which is an ebook creator app that creates a web link for each book. QR codes can then be made with that link attached. These can be placed in newsletters and on displays so that parents can view pupil work on their smartphones.
So there you go, there are many options for sending files from iPad to another, such as InstaShare. The key is that there is no one size fits all. It very much depends on the size of the school, iPad deployment and policies. Have a good term and look out for an update to my book in late June and iPad training mornings in early July. www.ipadteachers.co.uk
Via Adam Foster, Karen Stadler