This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers
What is AirDrop:
One of the most exciting new features available with iOS7 is the ability to AirDrop files from one iPad to another, or even from one iPad to many – instantly. While sharing options such as email, Google Drive, Chirp, and Bump already exist, AirDrop makes the process easier and faster because the sharing can take place with or without a Wi-Fi connection and from any app that supports the exporting of files with the traditional iPad action or sharing button (arrow pointing up from a small box on ios7).
Unfortunately, though, the major limitation of this feature is that it is only supported on the 4th generation iPad and iPad mini. However, using AirDrop is fairly simple. Swipe up from the bottom of your iPad with one finger to reveal the menu and turn on the feature. The option exists to limit what other iPads using AirDrop can see your device by selecting contacts or everyone. When a file is dropped from one iPad to another, the recipient also has the option to accept or reject the file. If the file is accepted, any potential application that can be used to accept it will be listed for the recipient to choose. AirDrop sharing is based on the proximity of devices as they need to be able to find each other via Bluetooth. In the video below, I walk through using AirDrop with a number of apps.
Why use AirDrop in the Classroom:
While it is already possible to share nearly any file through Google Drive, there are likely instances where sharing instantly without uploading files adding collaborators onto shared folders can speed up the collaboration process. Additionally, AirDrop allows for collaboration in schools with inconsistent Wi-Fi because files can be shared via AirDrop without an Internet connection.
Consider a few scenarios where AirDrop could be used to facilitate collaboration, group projects or timely teacher feedback.
Group Video Creation: All group members can shoot or create various scenes in a group project with either the built in video camera or with any application that can export video to the camera roll (Explain Everything, Tellagami, iMovie, etc…). The videos can be instantly shared via AirDrop to one iPad in the group to complete the final editing and publishing process.
Group eBook Creation: Two popular eBook creation apps (Book Creator & Creative Book Builder) both allow for sharing via AirDrop. Students working on small group projects could each work on small segments of a book and then AirDrop their portion to one iPad so that separate files can then be merged into one book.
Outdoors / Field Trips: Because AirDrop works without a Wi-Fi connection, students working outdoors for class or on a field trip no longer have to wait to get back online before either turning in work to their teacher or collaborating with classmates. Images captured can be shared instantly to create a group book. Writing created offline with Pages or Notability can be turned in to the teacher for instant assessment. Notes taken in the field can be shared amongst peers in a group while documenting observations.
Screencasting: Explain Everything is a powerful screencasting app that can also be used with AirDrop. Students that have created screencasts can share them as XPL files directly to a teacher iPad. The teacher could then view, annotate, and share back to the student to provide timely feedback. Teachers that have created support materials as video tutorials with Explain Everything can conduct the same process to distribute content to student iPads quickly and easily via AirDrop. And, as mentioned before, students can share Explain Everything files amongst themselves for peer review and collaboration.
What applications can AirDrop?
ANY app that can export to the camera roll, including:
These classrooms favorites can also AirDrop:
In the past, a major obstacle of using iPads in the classroom was the difficulties surrounding workflow. While this iOS7 update isn’t supported in older iPad models, the future potential for AirDrop to aid in workflow and collaborative projects could prove to be quite helpful in the classroom.