Sunday, March 11, 2012

Settling in to Goodreader and Dropbox

Blog once a month? No problem!  Well, here it is another month gone by so I guess I'm due for a post. 

My biggest difficulty with the iPad has been document management.  I like the idea of a folder with files in it that I can open using different programs.  The idea that files live in apps (or that files and apps are all in the cloud anyway) is something I am having to get my head around.  I have some files in iBooks, some in PDF Expert, some in Goodreader.  I think the answer is to pick an app and a cloud, so I'm committing to Goodreader and Dropbox and gradually getting everything moved into those.

Goodreader has proven better than PDF Expert in terms of accessing files, annotating them, and then moving them to someone or someplace else.  I used the instructions Lydia provided in her blog post about grading exams and have successfully graded a take-home exam posted to Moodle.  There is an export function in Moodle that I used to put all of the individual student exams into a file.  Moved that to Dropbox.  Then accessed Dropbox in Goodreader to pull down the folder with all of those files.  I used my finger to write short comments and mark errors, just as I would a red pen (I'm looking into a stylus because my finger writing looks pretty awful).  I used the highlighter to identify passages in the exam for comments in sticky notes that pop up out of the text.  I was then able to email the exams to students.  I also posted them back in Moodle in the same assignment where they submitted the exam so that we both have a record of the comments (for meetings in my office, for their e-portfolio at the end of the semester).  They will have to be sure to open in Adobe or Preview if they want to see the sticky notes.  So far, no one has reported problems.

I now have Pocketcloud and the VPN client that will allow me to access it but I haven't yet successfully accessed my office laptop from the iPad.  My hope is that this will be a quick way to record attendance at the beginning of class and participation at the end.  I have always kept my gradebook in Excel and rather than getting a separate gradebook app, I thought I would just access that Excel spreadsheet on my office computer remotely from the classroom.  I may be brave enough to start accessing lecture notes that way, too, so that I don't need to print out my outline/lesson plan to take to class.

That's all for February.  Here's hoping the fun continues in March.

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