October 6, 2014

Google the iPad Medium – from Jennifer Carey

This post first appeared on iPad Apps for School.

iPads can be powerful devices in education – they are mobile, they are personalized, and they are intuitive. At the same time, sharing content between apps or devices can be a challenge. Fortunately, iPads in conjunction with Google Apps can create a powerful medium by which to input, edit, share, and publish multimedia content.

Google Drive for Privacy and Security

There are many different types of cloud computing solutions. However, the power of Google Drive with Google Apps for Education allows educators to protect the privacy of their students and comply with Federal statutes and mandates. Additionally, its price point (zero dollars) helps those working in a world of tight budgets and limited funds.

Google as a Repository of Content

Because Google Drive exists in the cloud, you can access and add content from anywhere. Students can easily take photos, record video, and import content from a variety of sources to their Google Drive accounts. In fact, students can even collaborate with a shared Google Drive folder; using it as joint storage for group projects. Because Google Drive provides a ton of storage (5GB for single users, 30GB for GAFE), space is never a concern. Using the Google Drive App on iPad, students have access to their material anywhere. Additionally, Google auto-backups content and materials without having to hit save. In fact, with some apps, such as Notability, it’s even possible to have your iPad automatically back-up to Google Drive. The video below walks through this process.

With Drive as a back-up, if a student loses or damages their device, the content is safe in the cloud.

Google as the Go Between in App Smashing!

iPads are not a single app device. In fact, the most powerful projects are created through a medium known as “app-smashing.” When using apps, two of the necessary features for developing sophisticated projects are “export to” and “open with.” For example, a student can write a document in Google Docs, open it in an app like Explain Everything, create a video reflection on a portion of their writing, and then export the finished product (in this case a video) back to Google Drive to share with their teacher.

Image Credit: Greg Kulowiec

Even if two apps don’t talk to one another, so long as they talk to Google (and most do), you have a powerful go between to help build sophisticated, higher order thinking projects such as Electronic Books, Videos, and more.

Google for Collaborating on iPads

By incorporating Google Apps, students can readily collaborate without sharing the device itself. They can work jointly and simultaneously on a Google Doc, Google Sheet, and now Google Presentation (just like its web-based counterpart). In addition to collaborating through these Google products, students can use Drive’s cloud storage and sharing abilities to collaborate on images, screencasts, eBooks, and more while working on iPads. For example, students can create a document on Google Docs and share with a classmate for feedback and peer editing. Students who are collaborating on a video project can create a shared folder where they deposit content (images, videos, text, etc) that serves as a repository of material for their final project. Finally, apps that share project files, like Explain Everything and Book Creator, can be shared via Drive and then combined on a single iPad to make a group creation.

Google for Submitting/Publishing Content from an iPad

Users of iPads often struggle with “getting content off the iPad.” Google solves this issue. By uploading a finished project to Google Drive, students can “share” with their teacher to submit an assignment. Explain Everything and Book Creator even export directly to Drive for collaboration, publishing, and assessment. Teachers can even publish student work to the web with a link that allows anyone (whether they have a Google accounts or not) to view content and/or folders.

iPads are powerful, multi-media creation devices. Coupled with Google Drive, users can collaborate on sophisticated projects, submit work, and published sophisticated projects.

Looking to learn more about Google and iPads? Get hands-on with Tanya Avrith during her Google Apps & iPads Pre-Conference Workshop during the November 12-14 iPad Summit in Boston.