Monday, March 21, 2011

Dropbox for iPad

In today's iPad session during Reading the students used a number of really simple & effective apps to create character webs (more on this in another post). It all went fantastically but when we came to the end of the lesson there was the small problem of 'what now?' with the students work. My original plan of using the 'whiteboard' app to bluetooth them across to the master iPad didn't pan out like I wanted it to (more work on that one needed). So it was back to the drawing board slightly!

There was an app that I had placed on the iPads but not tried, which was 'Dropbox for iPad'. If you haven't used Dropbox before it's a really simple but handy service that allows you to drop a file into a folder on your computer. Then it will sync up to your Dropbox account via the internet and enable you or a person you share it to, to have access to the file by downloading or viewing. This works for images, videos and documents.

Towards the end of the lesson as students started to finish I realised the next step was missing. Another thought was for the students to log in to the class blog and upload them via there - but we were running out of time.

So... I've set up a class Dropbox account - very easy to do and between set up and setting up individual folders I would say it took around 5-10 minutes to create them. The layout of the web Dropbox is incredibly plain and simple which makes it easy to navigate and learn to use.

Web based Dropbox layout:

The fantastic thing is that once images were uploaded from the iPad into the Dropbox account it was an instant refresh on my computer and there were my files.

Here is a snapshot from the Dropbox iPad app:
It shows all the students files and uploading into a file is as quick as clicking 1 button, finding the image and then it automatically uploads to your folder.

Once inside a folder you can view the image/file within the Dropbox app also:

So this will be the next step in our next session - being able to go back and save the content we created and upload it to our Dropbox account so that we can use it elsewhere. The only negative I've found so far is that it remembers your password - which is fantastic if you are a single user iPad. But each time the students will need to go through a couple of steps to log out of their Dropbox account - not too hard but not a simple click either!

More to come once I've trialled this in class further!


learnforlife said...

Good thinking! I have had many horror sessions like that (with not such a great ending!) I had never thought to create a class drop box, thank you for sharing yet another one of your wonderful ideas!

Jo Fothergill said...

I have a class dropbox account. But what I've done is create a shared folder in MY dropbox that's been shared with my class. Then I get my students (just a few at the moment) to save their stuff into their folder inside the shared folder. I can then access their work for marking etc from my computer (and from where ever) without any hassles. If they're working on the iPad then anything that needs to be saved into the DB is saved into the shared folder.

Pete Hall said...

That's such a great way to use dropbox! I've used shared docs with a shortened address for templates and newsletters too but you're right about the sign in issues with folder sharing.
Our website provider has a limit of 1mb for any files loaded ..( something I don't really understand ) so we use drop box to store linked online documents that the website won't hold.
On the admin side of things, we've put some key documents on an encrypted disk image, that is then synced across several accounts. Good for an 'if someone gets hit by a bus' policy.
Look forward to see more about how you wrangle it in class!

Craig McDonald said...

I've just started using Dropbox in the last week, so great to hear these ideas. It's a great alternative to iChatting out a file 27 times - just put it in Dropbox and the students can pick it up. I've created a folder called 'Inbox' where they submit work to be checked, and an 'Outbox' where they can pick it up and save to their own folder.

I'm thinking about setting up a Buddy Check folder where they can drop it off first, and early finishers can peer edit so that when it comes to the Inbox it's not completely raw. We'll see how that goes.

I've had a few issues with syncing, but otherwise it's a welcome addition to the toolbox!

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