7 Ways to Collect Student Work in an #iPad Classroom (Updated 09/15/2012)

Source: http://gwegner.edublogs.org/2012/07/06/tablet-fervour-fever/

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?

For the rest of us who may not have $20 to spend on an app as handy as Printopia, I'm compelled to compile a list of ways to gather student work off iPads. This is the resulting blog entry (albeit rough-hewn)! If you have some ideas about how to accomplish this, please share in the comments or your own blog with a linkback.

7 Ways to Collect Student Work in an iPad Classroom

Next week, I'll be facilitating a short one-hour workshop on a topic that is deceptively simple on a computer, but can be complex on an iPad--how to get student work off an iPad in a place where the teacher can get to it in ONE place.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. You can email files--sometimes to Dropbox via a service-- if a default email account is setup on the iPad.
  5. 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!


Update: You may also find this blog entry with video tutorials worth your time.

Update #2: Slideshow on the subject...based on this shorter blog entry, 4 Simple Approaches

#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.


Read more about it here


#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:

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.

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.
If you're not taking advantage of a tool like Edmodo, then you're missing the boat on communicating with your students!

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:
That's 7 ways to collect student work in an iPad Classroom. What are your favorite ways of collecting/gathering student work?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure



Anonymous said…
Thx for taking the time to share this! I am a huge fan of Edmodo- both for communication purposes and turning in / collecting student assignments! Keep posting!!!
Anonymous said…
Nice list, Miguel. I also like Dropbox and the utility dropittome. Blogged about it here. https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/dropbox-as-a-hand-in-folder/ Of course, all of these are predicated on the notion that students know about file management and where to find things.

I must admit to smirking a bit with your comment about email. That's a daily grind for us all!
Martin said…
Thanks for Sharing! Check out this new solution for WebDav in Schools - is Free. http://www.showbie.com
Ed DeHoratius said…
I will have to agree with dougpete here. Dropbox for me is essential for both distributing and collecting student work. I'm not sure why such Cloud services would be problematic. The Dropbox shared folders work great for a class (and in an iPad in landscape view you can just tap and view, tap and view so there's no opening of documents; I only do this for small assignments, like classwork or homework, on which I'm not going to comment too much / my comments can be emailed). And I've not even used things like Dropittome, though I'm excited to experiment with it and others. I too have blogged about Dropbox and other collection methods: the most relevant is probably here, but just search Dropbox on the home page: http://whsipadpilot.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/collecting-student-assignments-electronically/. Thanks for the post. Ed
Showbie might be a good option, although the free version has limitations: (
Mr. Folmer said…
Great discussion of options here. I have experimented and had great success with the combination of using the CloudOn app, Google Drive (which my students have through thier Google Apps account) and Edmodo. I posted about this here: http://www.folmerica.net/2012/05/google-drive-cloudon-and-edmodo-winning.html
Unknown said…
Thanks for sharing!
Posterous is another way for students to share their work. I created individual sites for each student, and they can send their work directly to the site. The sites are password protected.
Here is my current event page...
Ms. Rountree said…
I'm trying out three ring -- a free app. You can use this app to organize student work in classes. Take a picture, record video or audio, or upload documents.
Maroc said…
Thanks for this 7 ways :) its an useful article

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