Monday, October 31, 2011
Dropbox and Shared Classroom Tablets
I've been very lucky to get a class set of iPad2s for my classroom to pilot this year. I have many fun and exciting lessons to try out on the tablets, but my first concern was having students access documents quickly and easily.
I've been a Dropbox user for a few years now and love it. I was never able to access my school documents from home. With Dropbox, I have access to all of my documents from anywhere. With my iPad, I can access, edit and send them without hassle. This is what I want for my students.
I spent a day in the lab having students set up accounts using their school email addresses. I walked them through Dropbox and what it can be used for and how we will be using it for class. Many of the students were interested in the process and even asked if they could use Dropbox for other classes. The thought of not having to constantly email things back and forth was a huge plus to my students. They no longer had to worry about presentations being too large to email. I could see that some of my students are really going to enjoy using Dropbox.
I created a shared file for American Literature and shared it with every student. I will now be able to drop files I want students to access easily from my desktop. When students use the Dropbox app on the iPads, they will be able to log in and access the files. They can edit the files using DocsToGo and drop them into their personalized folders.
If we do group work, students can create group folders and easily share work at their desk and then share the final project with me. With the Apple TV setup in my room, students will be able to open their project and present using the projector without having to leave their desk.
It's taken me a little while to figure out which apps will work best with Dropbox on shared devices. Students will have to remember to log in and log out of the devices, but I'm not too worried about students accessing other students' files. Kids can just log others out without a problem.
The more I play with Dropbox and the other apps that connect to it, the more I like what I see. Although iPads were not designed for collaboration, they are great tools at facilitating collaboration. I cannot wait to share the work my students will be sharing with each other.
I'll keep you posted on the pilot as it develops.