Monday, April 30, 2012

Three Ring

There are a number of blogs that I subscribe to that have a focus on iPad use in the classroom.  I'm really interested at looking at in depth ways that iPads/iPods can be used to support the classroom curriculum in developing, supporting and sharing learning processes.  I just have to look at myself and how quickly I will google, translate, photograph or record classroom processes each day since I've gotten an iPhone.

Today when looking through my RSS feed I came across a really interesting and timely post (for me) from Apps in Education around Student ePortfolio options for the iPad.  Several of these e.g. Evernote and Coolibah I already have for a range of uses, but one that struck me for its simple but powerful set up was 'Three Rings' - a free app.

Basically, all you need to do is to set up an account with Three Rings.  From here you can add your students' names quickly via typing them or by adding them through an xls spreadsheet.  I went through this process on the laptop via the Three Ring website, as it was much easier to copy and paste my students across!  Next, you can set up separate classes and subject tags to make it more specific and accessible to Primary and Secondary teachers.  Once you have completed the easy 3 steps of setting these up you are ready to go!

Once you download the app and login you are presented with a simple screen that allows you to choose tags, students and classes before you add a piece of work to your stream.  Once you have selected these options you can choose to take a picture, video, voice recording or select something from your photo roll.  If you are operating from the website you are able to also upload files such as PDFs into your stream.  I'm also hoping that this will include movies etc that students have created in other apps e.g. Sock Puppets or music from Garageband etc.  Once you've finished photographing or recording you click the 'use!' button and it uploads to your account. 

In App - easily tag a student then choose the content to add

The app/website allows you to record a piece of learning, tag it to an individual student, class or subject then be able to view the process via the three ring website once you have logged in.  You are able to click on a student's name or subject and it will give you an individual page just for that student's work.  It works similar to a blog where the latest post is positioned at the top of the page.

The Three Ring website stream

Students can also add a note next to the item they are uploading to talk about why they have selected it, the process they went through etc

The biggest thing that challenges me at the moment about it is that it seems to be very teacher driven as the teacher owns and operates the account.  I'm going to give it a trial with my students and see what they think of it.  I can see potential in the app/website.  
What I think I will do is leave our class iPod set up with the account details and teach a few tomorrow how they can share their best work and the work that they want to share.  I'm sure from that few they will quickly teach each other how to add their work and view it.  It also seems like it would be quite easy to have a class wide password that would allow the students to access and add work via the class laptops/website.

On further reading it seems like there is a good group of educators behind the app looking at making strong improvements to the app.  They seem to be listening to feedback that has been presented to them so far - which is always great from developers.  They liken their app to a digital filing cabinet which will allow for conversation between students, teachers and parents.  Can definitely see the potential for this through it's ease of use.

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