Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Work smarter, not harder

“Work smarter, not harder.” — Scrooge McDuck (via Carl Barks, Disney illustrator)
Having iPads in the classroom, whether there are a few shared by the students, a cart that gets rolled in every now and then, or having a 1:1 initiative, does pose some interesting problems. How do you assign work and distribute files to the students? How do they turn in work to you? How do you assess their work and leave comments and get it back to them? How is all of this archived for future access?
All of these processes are collectively known as “classroom workflow”. Many educators with iPad initiatives are sharing their ideas, thoughts, and ways to do this effectively. There are also some no-cost Web tool alternatives that support this process, too.
One new feature of iOS6, the newest operating system for the iPad, allows images from the iPad to be uploaded through a submission box in a Web page. This helps if students have their documents as screenshots in the Camera Album, but it does not solve all the problems.
Sam Gliksman: iPad in Education for Dummies
Sam Gliksman, the author of iPads in Education for Dummies, posts some information about classroom workflow. He suggests using Dropbox to both share information with students via your public Dropbox folder and, if your students have email accounts, they can create a Dropbox account and share a folder with you so you can upload items to their Dropbox.
One other option that I have used is using DROPitTOme. This online tool allows you to set-up a unique upload address and a DROPitTOme folder appears in your Dropbox list, as seen below. You then can give this passworded folder address to students and they can upload directly to your Dropbox with no chance of seeing anyone else’s work.
Sam also recommends the use of Evernote for iPad classroom workflow. With the fact it can run on almost any device, from computers to smartphones, it is perfect, especially for BYOT environments. Students can submit files from their iPad via a special email address to your Evernote account even without an Evernote account, too. With an Evernote account, students can share a collaborative folder in your account.

Jonathan Wylie

Jonathan Wylie, an instructional technology consultant for Grant Wood AEA (Iowa) is a source of all types of great information! (If you are on Twitter, be sure to give him a follow at @jonathanwylie.) In a Slideshare presentation found here, Jonathan provides some ideas of how teachers can manage a digital workflow in the classroom.  He includes Dropbox and Evernote, but extends it also to include how to print with the iPad, and the use of Google Drive, learning management systems, and other tips and trips. The presentation is embedded below.

Greg Kulowiec

Greg Kulowiec is a consultant for EdTech Teacher, a Boston-based educational technology consulting firm. A former social studies teacher, Greg presented at the New England 1:1 iPad summit. He concentrated on the sharing and submission of work to and from the iPad. In his presentation, he covered Evernote, Box, and Dropbox, as well as Google Forms, Web Dav options, Posterous, audio and video submissions, and use of social media to share work and information. The slideshare presentation can be found here and is embedded below.

David Berg

David Berg is a community college psychology professor who presented a paper at a conference entitled “Using the iPad in Your Academic Workflow“. Although specifically written for teachers of psychology, Dr. Berg includes an overview of why to use the iPad to support teaching and learning as well as specific apps that are useful to him. He includes the distribution and submission of files, but also provides a list of iPad apps for project and task management, writing, communication and collaboration tools and apps, as well as information management, and demonstration apps.  Dr. Berg includes some interesting new apps that you might want to check out!

Don Orth

At the other end of the spectrum, Don Orth, the Director of Technology at Hillbrook School (CA), has been working with a 1:1 program for a number of years. In his blog post “Digital Workflow in Middle School with 1:1 iPads“, Don starts the conversation about the disadvantages of paper in the classroom, and goes on to discuss his school’s solution to the classroom workflow problem. He includes an overview of iTunesU for K-12 schools, which recently became available, as a viable option for sharing material. Don also talks about a commercial solution, eBackpack, which provides the ability to mark up student work and return it. (Another commercial option to look at is Showbie.)

There are also many apps for the iPad, some tied to online sites, that help with the classroom workflow. These include
I have a page devoted to the workflow in the mobile device classroom that I will add to as I discover new apps, suggestions, ideas, tips and tricks. You can access that page at