The app store is loaded with options that allow students to create content on their iPads. From comic strip creators to mind maps, video editing and publishing, screencasting & digital books, the options for individual student creation are expanding.
However, collaboration between students is often a critical component of any classroom activity or project and increasingly there are options available that allow for collaborative efforts across iPads.
Below are six ways to support collaboration between student iPads that cover the spectrum of creation options that range from text to digital storytelling to video creation.
A flexible and powerful screen casting option, students and teachers can collaborate on screencasts by exporting Explain Everything project files from an iPad. Students working in groups can have one group member work on a portion of the screencast and can export the .XPL file for another student to download and “open in” Explain Everything on their iPad.
Book Creator has been the standard for eBook creation on an iPad for quite some time. Now, with the recent update to the app, collaboration is possible between students or between an entire class. One student can begin working on an eBook in Book Creator and can export the file to a number of online storage platforms including Google Drive, Dropbox and Box. Another student with access to a shared folder within one of these platforms now has the option to download the original file and “open in” Book Creator. Further, multiple Book Creator files can now be merged on an iPad to create one final eBook from multiple iPads. All students can now contribute to a class eBook, upload their segment to a shared folder online and the teacher can download, “open in” Book Creator and combine the files into one collaborative class effort. The final book can then be published online as a PDF or ePub file.
Creating and editing video using iMovie on an iPad is typically a process conducted on one iPad by one student or a group of students working on one device. However, students have the ability to export iMovie projects to the camera roll and upload video from the iPad camera roll to a shared Dropbox folder. Once that video is uploaded to a shared folder, it can be favorited within the Dropbox app by clicking on the small star icon. Once the file is favorited, it can be downloaded to the camera roll. This process now allows students to collaborate asynchronously on a video project. When combined with iMovie, the video creation process can become a collaborative effort. One student who is beginning the process can create in iMovie and export their portion to the iPad camera roll. Once exported, the video file can be uploaded to Dropbox from within the Dropbox app. When the file is favorited within Dropbox, the option to save the video to the photo library will be available. The video can then be imported into iMovie on another iPad for further work and editing. This solution works well for a collaborative effort where multiple students are simply using the built in iPad camera to shoot video. The video footage from multiple devices can then be uploaded to a shared Dropbox folder, favorited and downloaded on one iPad for the final editing process in iMovie.
A free iPad app that supports collaborative reading. With a strong focus on education, Subtext allows teachers to create private groups or classes within subtext where students can read collaboratively with their peers. The reading material can include public domain texts from Google Play and Feedbooks, any document in the ePub file format as well as web based articles that can be instantly converted from inside the app or by using the “Save to Subtext” bookmarklet. Teachers can now curate reading content for their class and students can read collaboratively by leaving questions, comments and insights into the reading. Teachers also have the ability to embed comments, questions or prompts within the ePub file that students can reply to while reading. ePub files can be created through a number of free platforms.
There are also two upcoming updates to Subtext that will make this collaborative platform even more classroom friendly. Google Documents integration is coming soon. This will include one-tap acces to Google Docs, making it easier for teachers to create content from their existing lesson materials and easier for students to export excerpts or annotations to write papers or organize their study notes. Also, an assignment system is coming soon that will allow teachers to assign a page range and a series of Activities, assign a due date and monitor student submissions.