Last week I installed box.com, Dropbox, and CloudOn onto each of the iPads. Students were asked to open up the essay for the week, a review from the 1850's of a book on slavery in America. They were to look it over and then explain a rhetorical strategy employed by the author. To open the document they had to go to my box.com public folder and open the document. The document opened in Safari and was sent from Safari to CloudOn. Students could read the essay in a Word document. They could copy the passage they wanted to write about, and then open a word document from the CloudOn site and paste the passage they copied into a new Word document. From there they could write their analyses. I then asked the students to go home, open up their Dropbox accounts, print the document from their desktop computer at home, and bring the printed document to the next class, which was today. Over half the students submitted their printed copy of the work they did last week in class. I could have had them write their responses in the discussion area of my web site or turn them in through Paperplane Notes, but I wanted them to see how they could get documents from the iPad to their home computers. I wanted them to see how work done on an iPad could be printed up at some point and how they could get their work onto their computer desktop (or other platforms) because I thought these would be useful things to know how to do.
Today I again did not pass out the handouts until the end of class and asked students to access them from their iPads by going to my box.com public folder. Many students would rather work with paper and pencil and do not enjoy the technology as much as others. They do not like having to get the documents onto the iPad and would rather have the papers handed out. But I am hoping over time as they become more comfortable with the technology some of this resistance will start to dissipate. I know from people I have worked with in the past that the resistance was often replaced by advocacy as they became comfortable with the technology and they saw what the technology could do for them and even save them time and make a task easier. Hopefully there will be a similar outcome to this. We continue to sail our little boat through these uncharted waters. The maps say "There be dragons" but so far they have all been friendly.
The students are learning not just how to get work done on th iPad platform, but to work across platforms. They are finding ways to work across the apps on their iPads and to use their Dropbox accounts to work and collaborate on projects on their computers at home, on the computers in the computer labs, as well as their iPads, iPhones, and iPods. As the man on the video says, "There are no mistakes on the bandstand."