Monday, April 29, 2013

Collaboration Using Dropbox

A couple of weeks ago, I had an idea to start an after school club for our intermediate grade students.  We currently have 30+ iPads deployed at our school of just under 400 students.  Most of those iPads are in use during the day in centers in our primary classrooms.  We are currently building an iPad classroom to house all of those iPads and to ensure access for all students to the devices, but until that time, our intermediate students seemed to be missing out on a great opportunity.

Over the course of the year, most of our students have been working on longer writing projects.  They have been writing and editing stories that they have spent months working on.  Why not provide those students with an opportunity to publish their stories using the iPads?  From this idea came our school iPad Authors Club.  Twice a week, our students gather with their finished stories to publish their work using the Book Creator app.  It was in the device management aspect of this work that an idea occurred to me involving Dropbox.

Since the students were not consistently using the same device from one session to the next, we needed a central location for students to be able to save their work and access their work the next time they came to class.  Enter Dropbox.  From a school account, all of our teachers have their own folders to which they can save their own work (or their students' work.)  I created a folder for the students in the club.  They are prompted to save their work to the Dropbox, and access the Dropbox at the start of class to resume their work right where they left off.  Device management issue solved!

It was here that the idea occurred to me that this solution could potentially be extended to our classrooms that are utilizing a limited number of iPads.  If students are working on a project in a small group, access to the Dropbox would enable the students to work collaboratively from anywhere they have access to the Dropbox.  Face-to-face classroom time could be used to plan specific tasks/functions for each group member, who would then be able to complete the task anytime and anywhere they have access to the shared Dropbox folder.

Maximizing instructional time and increasing collaboration-it's a win-win using Dropbox!

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