Recently, I read a blog entry by Sam Gliksman entitled Collecting Student Work in an iPad Classroom. That blog entry led me to Using Physical and Virtual Printers with Your iPad. It was a fascinating blog entry simply because it featured--as one of two solutions, the second being Evernote--a virtual Printer known as "Printopia" (watch this video overview) that allows you to print to a file that can be saved in many different places (e.g. Dropbox). Unfortunately,Printopia costs $20.
Think of Printopia as being able to "Print to PDF" on a computer but you can save that file to cloud storage sites. That's pretty neat. But, it got me thinking...how do you get stuff off student iPads for grading, publishing or sharing?
7 Ways to Collect Student Work in an iPad Classroom
This short blog entry tries to offer some solutions. Let me know what you think, ok?
Many apps--here's a short list--will output to WebDav, video or image format that ends up in your Camera Roll. Others will go to YouTube, cloud storage, and allow email sharing. Which solution works best?
For schools deploying iPads in carts, some options are outlined below:
- WebDav Server - This is the best option because you can show students how to put/get their content in a central location.
- Save work to the Camera Roll as an image, video, or screenshot, then put it on a WebDav server.
- Email content to the teacher's email account. The teacher can then save the attachment, or offer feedback. I don't like this option because, frankly, don't we already have enough email?
When considering HOW to get information off your iPad, you need to remember the following:
- Terms of Service for various solutions may prevent K-7 (ages 5-12) students from using online, or cloud, storage solution. This means that using cloud storage with students may be a headache or issue you'll want to avoid.
- Some apps can export your creation to a WebDav server. Applications like Office2HD (an Office Suite for $7.99), Apple's iWorks Suite (e.g. Keynote, Pages) can easily place your app creations on a WebDav server (e.g. Otixo).You can use other apps--like the free WebDav Navigator--to upload Camera Roll items (video, images) to a WebDav server.
- Some apps can export to cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox, Box.net) or video sharing sites (e.g. YouTube). Many apps can do this, unfortunately, using these cloud storage locations for student use is problematic. Teachers may also be concerned about storing student data projects in a third party site.
- You can email files--sometimes to Dropbox via a service-- if a default email account is setup on the iPad.
- iCloud isn't allowed for K-12 school districts to use.
This list below is no particular order of preference. If it was, I'd probably list all the solutions that cost money at the end of the list!
#1 - Print to File using Printopia app ($20)
If you have $20 to spend, then Sam Glikman's blog entry on how to use Printopia makes a powerful argument for using this as a way to "print to" a file that may be located on Dropbox (oops, cloud storage we can't use with under 13 year olds). Otherwise, you may have to just "screenshot" and then save the picture to your Camera Roll for transfer elsewhere.
#2 - Share Pictures and Videos in Camera Roll with Others
If you're a teacher or student wanting to access other iPad's content, one approach might be to use a solution like the ones below:
- Bump - allows you to share pictures with others by just "bumping" iPads, iPhones, as well as your computer. This free app also works with Android, too. You can watch a short video online. The suggestion for this app comes from a neat slideshow by Karen Bosch.
- iFiles ($3.99) - a must-have app (IMHO) that connects to WebDav and works quite well. You can get pictures and videos out of your camera roll, as well as open files stored in various locations (e.g. WebDav, GoogleDrive, etc.). Read more about it here.
- Apple's Keynote ($9.99) - An easy way to make videos available is by embedding them in Keynote, then sharing the Keynote via WebDav server like OwnCloud. Of course, it results in large file but at least you get student-created presentations featuring video embedding. Too bad there isn't a Keynote export to video for the iPad (it only features Keynote, PDF, PPT as export formats). This would make it a great app not requiring desktop version of Keynote (probably why they didn't do it!). Read more about this approach to embedding videos in Keynote here.
#3 - Sync to iTunes
This is one of those obvious approaches, but what you may be unaware of is that you can sync to iTunes via WiFi as reported here. The benefit is that if your sync computer (e.g. Macbook Pro) is also the teacher's computer, then you can get content off of student iPads.
#4 - Setup your Own District-hosted (or class-hosted) WebDav Server
This is one of my favorite solutions for capturing content from Office2HD and Keynote--a WebDav server using the popular OwnCloud.org (free,no-cost) software. You can read more about this online.
Check out these videos.
Several solutions allow you to pull content from Camera Roll and upload them to WebDav, such as the following:
- WebDav Navigator - A free solution that's simple to use with a webdav server like OwnCloud. Here's a video on how to use Webdav Navigator I made with ExplainEverything iPad app...terrible, I know.
- iFiles ($3.99)
You can also use the tools above to grab content from a WebDav server and open it on your iPad provided you have the right app.
#5 - Use Edmodo.com as your Collection Station
Edmodo has added an app that allows you to do quite a bit on the iPad. As shared in this blog entry:
We also have some of our teachers who are using Edmodo for turning in writing. Students can draft writing in Pages and then copy and paste the text into an Edmodo assignment that the teacher created. The teacher can assess and send notes back to the students. The grade will also be automatically be added to the Gradebook in Edmodo. This works best when the writing is text only, if there is media embedded the WebDav share will be used.If you're not taking advantage of a tool like Edmodo, then you're missing the boat on communicating with your students!
As of February 2012, the Edmodo app for the iPad now has the ability to upload images and video from the Camera Roll into the student library on Edmodo. They can turn in these as assignments to their teacher.
Others are also choosing to use eBackpack (costs money, though) and some are trying out Moodle (although I haven't found it to be that easy or fun with the iPad...anyone?).
#6 - GoogleDrive (Updated 09/15/2012)
If you've been wondering about GoogleDrive, they've made some improvements that allow word processing document editing from within GoogleDrive itself.
While Google Chrome browser finally makes editing GoogleSites/GoogleDocs possible on an iPad, it's not the best solution yet. That said, you can use apps like Office2HD to create documents on the iPad, then copy them to GoogleDrive, where you can later enable sharing using GoogleDrive, where sharing is pretty easy. A bit convoluted, I know, but do-able.
OR, you can just create the document in Office2HD but have it saved directly on GoogleDocs/Drive, then enable sharing with GoogleDrive. That's pretty nifty because then the file isn't stored on your iPad.
#7 - Evernote (free).
Evernote remains one of my favorite tools. Given recent changes in the app, you'll find it even more user-friendly. It enables you to easily edit notes, embed audio recordings, and much more.
Several folks have written about how to use Evernote to manage a class and a short list appears below:
- Using Evernote to manage a class with or without iPads - This is a great blog entry on the subject and well-worth the time to read it.
- 1:1 iPad Solutions - Evernote
- Skitch and Evernote on ipad
- How to Create Digital Student Portfolios with EverNote
That's 7 ways to collect student work in an iPad Classroom. What are your favorite ways of collecting/gathering student work?