I am finding that I have trouble getting 2-3 iPads to automatically sync when I plug them into the Bretford Powersync 30 iPad cart. I have not figured out why yet, but I just have to plug them in separately, so its not that bad of an inconvenience. I probably should call Bretford up about this.
This week I spent alot of time trying to get the School District mail setup on all the iPads with a generic "no-return" email. However, to date all I have is some frustration, wasted time, and no ability to have students email from their desk.
One of the problems that I am having is getting student created work off of the iPads for me to assess. I have been involved with a great discussion on this over twitter with some tweeps and this has given me some ideas.
So far I have used the following techniques to get student work:
- students enter their work directly into a Moodle forum, this works well and is easy for me to access and mark. The only problem is everyone in the class can see each others posts...might be okay for some things, but some copying can occur.
- students create their work in the Pages app and then copy/paste it into a hand-in folder (called: assignments-online text) in Moodle. I used this for the first time this week and it worked great. Students posted a historical letter they wrote, it was private and I could easily mark, assess, and write return comments for them. I plan to continue to use this method.
- I had students setup Evernote accounts this week for them to enter notes into and be able to access them on the iPads at school and at home on their own computeres. But, the sharing features really only work on the paid version, so this won't work for sharing files. If I want to share some files with students, I can put them up in Moodle in less than a minute. I love Evernote, but for class its only good for student to keep notes organized.
- I have attempted to get students to put a Pages file into dropbox, but you can't do that... Too bad because this would have been a convenient way to have a "hand-in" shared folder.
- I have also resorted to walking around and physically viewing and assessing student work right off the iPad. Not very efficient and it interrupts their other work.
Here are the ways that I would like to be able to receive student work on iPads:
- via email, it should be easy to setup, but no I am having infrastructure issues with IP ports blocking connections. I might resort to setting up a generic hotmail account to test and see if students can just email me content.
- Google docs....but its relatively incompatible on the iPads. Why can't Apple and Google just get along.
- I would like to be able to have students be able to print from their iPads. I am not sure how to go about this and what it might cost though. I do know that we can get a WiFi printer or we can setup dedicated print-servers. But again not sure how to go about this?
- Blog. Waiting for word on the setup of Wordpress accounts for every student at my school. We will be piloting this for the district. I am wanting students to reflect on what they are learning here and comment on other classmates work. We have the Wordpress app on the iPads and will be able to post content easily once setup.
- Wiki. MediaWiki is already setup and I will shortly begin having students develop our own school-wide wiki. This will be all student created content. I just have to teach them some of the coding before we start.
- Video. I am hoping there will be no problem posting to Youtube from iMovie on the iPad at school. I have a project starting with my Grade 11's this week. So my fingers are crossed here also.
I am looking forward to the October 4th Apple event where they should release new products and especially iOS5. I will be upgrading to this new version right away and hoping that some of the difficulties mentioned will evaporate away.