There are now many options for iPad users who need to; save their work off their tablet, share it with others, mark work and hand it back, without having to use email or an expensive and complicated VLE.
This is becoming a crucial workflow for teachers and students engaged in an iPad deployment, regardless of the numbers of iPads or size of school.
1- All schools and Universities buy the 16GB model, because of its price point, consequently the user runs out of space quickly. So extra storage for work is needed, this now has to be a cloud based solution.
2- Email doesn’t work for a secondary/high school teacher when you have nine classes of thirty! 250+ students emailing work and then expecting a reply via email is not a sustainable workflow.
3- Some brave and forward thinking schools are encouraging paperless classrooms and communication.
So what are the solutions and apps out there that can help a school with the above?
Your USB stick in the cloud. A relevant and meaningful cloud based server system will allow both teachers and students to save important work off their device for referencing another time. Also making content accessible on other devices such as desktop computers, laptops and smart phones, regardless of makes. This can be any kind of file.
GoogleDrive is Free cloud based service and offers unlimited storage to schools. Be sure to sign up with a school email address. The Google Drive App works on desktops, laptops and smart phones, regardless of their make and operating system.
One Drive by Microsoft is becoming more common in schools that have signed up to Microsoft 365. Very similar to Googledrive. Not as flexible as GoogleDrive
Showbie. This app really does encourage and promote the paperless classroom. It’s not free and is a subscription service, priced per pupil, per year. You can use the free version, but you won’t have access to all the features. This app has been a game changer in the way schools perceive how iPads can be used. The features are all useful and very simple to use. The storage system uses Amazon servers to save all the work to. So again work is saved off the device and in the cloud.
Teachers create an account, then a classroom and for each classroom, assignments, which can accommodate any file type. Students then hand back their work and teachers have a choice of options for feedback. All within the one app.
Foldr – An app that mirrors your existing server system in your school, using Active Directory. This is a great system, again it’s priced by subscription, per student, per year. It allows teachers and students to access work in the shared areas and save work to student folders. Give students feedback with voice notes. Use QR codes to send files and links out to students, quickly. Foldr is another app that encourages the paperless classroom. Its gaining popularity and being taken up by lots of schools.
iTunes U – This has been recently updated by Apple. It’s free and to get the most from the service you should sign up as a school. As a user the courses you create don’t have to go public for the world to see.Students subscribe to your course within the free iTunes U app easily via an enrolment code. Courses can contain all file types, links and resources. Students can download the assignments, work from them or complete them, then hand them back, teachers can then grade their work. There’s a lot to iTunes that also encourages a simple but effective paperless classroom workflow. Again all with a single app. The app for completing a course only works on an iOS device. But teachers can create their courses on a PC within a browser accessing iTunes U Course Manager.
Understanding what’s available and how apps and services work is key to making a decision on which of the above you choose to use. Some schools use a mix of the above. I know one school where teachers are using GoogleDrive, iTunes U and Showbie, all together.
Essentially once teachers and students start to get into the habit of creating a variety of content that will be needed for evidence or revision, it needs to be saved off the iPad and easily accessible.