iPads In The Classroom – Unlikely Bedfellows

It has been a few weeks since I last did an update about the state of the iPad experiment so I figured I had better peel something off before I lost readership. Not that 3 or 4 followers are what I could call much of a “readership” but I mustn’t dissapoint.

You might have noticed that I have been a tad preoccupied lately, with figuring out my little screen casting project but unfortunately is has come to a grinding halt so I decided to take a break and work on something else for a bit. As a result I am back to trying to figure out the best way to move documents from the iPad to a place where they can be stored and evaluated.

Now at this point I need to explain that I am one of those teachers who doesn’t usually play nice with the powers that be. In particular I am a bit of a pain in the butt with regard to the technology they would like us to use. About 4 or 5 years ago, we migrated from Novell to SharePoint in order to create a learning platform which teachers and students could use for the business of learning. I, being the techno snob that I am, decided that SharePoint was trash and launched my own learning platform using Moodle. I ran the Moodle site quite happily for 3 years but abandoned it this year because of the cost. Still being a non conformist, I continued to resist assimilation into the SharePoint continuum and opened up shop using Edmodo.

It is with Edmodo that the meat of this blog post begins. For those who haven’t read my previous posts, Edmodo is a skookum little content management system for education. What is even more amazing is that it is FREE but there is one small problem as it pertains to the iPad. Actually it isn’t a problem with Edmodo, it is a defect in the genius that is Apple. Since users cannot get access to the file system on the iPad, they can’t upload assignments. If a student who uses an iPad wants to upload a file to Edmodo. They have to sync the ipad to their computer; do the convoluted file transfer process through iTunes; open up a computer version of Edmodo; find the file they transferred and upload it to Edmodo. What should take all of 10 seconds directly from the iPad turns into a royal pain in the backside. As much as I like Edmodo, if I am going to do the iPad class again next year, we won’t be using Edmodo.

Out of desperation (insert long sigh of defeat here) I began looking at SharePoint again and to my jaw slacking surprise, it seems that SharePoint 2010 might actually be a useful product. Coincidentally, our district is migrating over to SharePoint 2010 this very school year and what is more! There is an APP for that. When I discovered this little interdigital relationship, I thought to myself… Self, could it be there is a light at the end of the fiber optic cable? Could it be possible that in this twisted cross platform relationship, that Apple would let Microsoft get into its file system? Well I would like to report that it appears that it is possible using one of two Apps on the market, SharePlus or Filamente.

SharePoint 2010, is a cloud computing platform, which allows users to interact with documents and resources wherever and whenever they want, At school, at home or at Starbucks. If a kid wants to work on an assignment at home but doesn’t have an internet connection for whatever reason, all they do is pull down the assignment from the server before they leave school; do the homework at home and as soon as they walk in the door the next day, the iPad syncs with the SharePoint network and the assignment is automatically handed in.

If set up correctly, this could be absolute magic! Imagine if all the work a kid does on a SharePoint distributed assignment, is uploaded automatically to the server. No more conveniently lost files or the ever classic “I have it on my computer at home”. As a teacher you could evaluate work at any time. The end of the day, week or just on the due date, it is all there all the time.

As much as I hate to say it, SharePoint might just be something I can use, or worse, endorse. Yikes! This is not good. My carefully groomed reputation as being a fecal agitator might just be in danger. Resistance might very well be futile.


  1. Brian Kuhn

    I stumbled upon your blog via Chris Kennedy’s latest post highlighting good work by teachers in West Van. We are going to pilot iPads in 2012 in Coquitlam and we are a long term, well since 2007 “officially”, Sharepoint using District (not on 2010 yet…). It’s encouraging to follow your journey with iPads and the complications you’ve had to overcome to make them work well with students. I like how you ended this post on a reluctantly positive note about Sharepoint 🙂 Nice – I will join your other 5 followers and look forward to future posts!

    Cheers, Brian Kuhn

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      Thanks for the comment. It is always nice to know I at least one fan, other than my wife besides she only reads out of obligation.

      As for sharepoint… Well the jury is still out but there is always hoping.

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      Jemsher, We have gone whole hog on Sharepoint at the network level and there will be no deviation from the course. At this point and I am not sure if it would be a good use of you time or even possible to set up a seamless integration of Apple File Protocol on a Windows server. SMB in an interesting thought however and there is an app out there which I was not aware of until now.

      Thanks for your input.


  2. Edouard DeVarennes

    I’m having the opposite problem. Students turn in assignments from home and I can see a snapshot of it in the edmodo app, but I can’t open some of the files (like .odt). Others open with errors- vanishing graphs has been a big problem.

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