Greg Kulowiec iPad CartFor the past several weeks, Greg has been working to set up two iPad carts in his school (we posted iPad Cart & App Selection last week). Now that everything is up and running, he has embarked on a completely paperless research process with colleague @katrinakennett and her 10th grade English class. This will be a three week process, throughout which, Greg is going to blog his observations. Here is the beginning from Greg:

“Before we start the process, we had a conversation about the goals of this research process and why iPads would be a good fit.  I think it is critical to have this conversation when not only integrating iPads, but using any type of technology in the classroom.  The two critical questions we considered were:

  1. What are the goals and objectives of the paperless research process?
  2. How can iPads enhance the process and allow for opportunities that would not be possible without these devices?

Keeping these two questions in mind, we outlined both the goals for the paperless research paper and how the iPads would fit into the process.

Goals:

  1. Students will crowd-source their research to a collective research group.
  2. Students will incorporate varied media types into their research: web based text, traditional text, audio and video.
  3. Students will work collaboratively with their teacher and classmates on their research and writing process.
  4. Students will become proficient researching and writing in a digital environment.
  5. Students will become proficient in an iOS environment.
  6. Students will incorporate web based content in their final research paper.

Why iPads?

  1. Web based research & social bookmarking.
  2. Access to digital content (text, audio, video)
  3. PDF Annotation and note taking capability.
  4. Sharing their research process to create an open research environment between the teacher and student
  5. Ability to post research content to cloud storage accounts directly from the iPad.
  6. Ability to publish content online directly from the iPad.

Now that the goals and justification are established, it is time to outline and begin the technical setup to make sure the research process can be completed on the iPad.

Technical Setup:

  1. Install the required apps on the iPad.
    • Pages (9.99) – Word processing app to write the rough and final draft.
    • Dropbox (free) – Cloud storage for sharing research and writing.
    • Notability (.99) – Allows students to annotate PDF documents, type notes and annotate paper based research text research.
    • iTunesU (free)
  2. Teacher creates a Diigo group.
  3. Students create Diigo accounts and students are invited to the class Diigo group.
  4. Students create Dropbox accounts.
  5. Students create a “Research Folder” and share the folder with the teacher.
  6. Teacher creates a “Research Documents Folder” and shares it with the students.  This folder will contain PDF documents, guidelines and templates that the students will need access to throughout the process.  PDF documents are ideal for this folder because they can be opened in Notability, annotated directly on the iPad and then exported back to the student “Research Folder”
  7. Install the Joliprint web to PDF converter on the iPad.  This allows web based content to be converted directly to a PDF document on the iPad.  The PDF can then be opened on Notability for annotation.
  8. Install the dotEPUB web to ePub converter on the iPad.  This allows web based content to be converted to an eBook directly on the iPad.  The eBook can then be opened in iBooks for annotation.
  9. Install the Diigo Safari Highlighter.  This allows students to socially highlight and bookmark their research to the class Diigo Group or to their own Diigo page.
  10. Teacher sets up a collaborative blog through Posterous that will allow every student to post their final research paper online. Students will use Pages to write their paper and will export the paper as a PDF and then email the PDF to the collaborative blog. With the technical setup in place, we can begin the paperless research process.

Additional Notes:

  • The process will take place over a three week period and we will use at least two days prior to introducing the iPads to have the students create Diigo accounts, Dropbox accounts and go over the particulars of the assignment.
  • We are working in a shared iPad environment which means our students will have to login and logout of their Diigo and Dropbox accounts every days.  In the beginning we anticipate that this will be a minor obstacle to overcome and within a few days it will simply become part of the process.
  • Each day students will export their content to their Dropbox account.  We anticipate that most students will work in Notability to annotate, take notes and organize their work.  Each note set can then be exported as a PDF.
  • When students begin working on their rough and final draft in Pages, we will have them export their work each day to their Dropbox account as well.  This step is to ensure that no work is lost because of the potential for work to be deleted in this shared iPad environment.