There is an ever growing number of teachers and students using iPads for creation projects. Little by little, people are understanding that the iPad is not just a consumption device for reading emails, watching YouTube and checking FaceBook and Twitter. The iPad is a powerful creation device. But an issue arose during the year at my school: How does one share large student videos and other projects with parents? Read ahead to find out.
I have been using Copy quite heavily since I first reviewed about it six weeks ago. I wanted to share some of my personal experiences with it, especially with regards to sharing larger individual student projects (i.e., get them off the iPads and on to something where parents can view them at home.)
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A colleague and I recently organized an iPad summer camp for students. Using a class set of iPads, we had them film and create movies using various special effects apps and iMovie (A future post discussing the specific apps we used is in the works). As we were preparing earlier this year, we didn't know how we were going to have the students share their creations with their families when they were done.
Problem: Sharing the movies with parents at home
As you may have experienced, sharing large files from iPads can be a daunting experience. Smaller ones can be emailed, but larger files can be difficult to share. Our student videos were, on average, over 600MB each. Last year, we had students create movies on PCs, and burned DVD projects for each of them. This process was long, painfully slow and arduous. A parent even mentioned to me: “Nobody watches or keeps DVDs anymore, why are you still making them?”
We toyed with the possibility of sharing student work via YouTube, as its integration with iMovie makes it simple and pain-free to use. However, we then would have to worry about privacy issues with having children on YouTube. Although most parents might be okay with it, I'm sure that there would have been some against. Even setting the videos to “Unlisted” posed problems: people could still somehow access the link. Choosing the most secure option on YouTube, “Private”, required all recipients to have their own gmail account in order to view them. Plus, parents would then have some difficulties saving the videos to their own computers.
Sharing from Dropbox is simple and intuitive. I share my work files with colleagues and parents all the time through Dropbox. However, even having accumulated over 23GB in cloud storage, I have used 90% of it. Therefore, despite its great sharing features, Dropbox unfortunately would not work for us, there was not near enough space to upload our thirty videos.
Copy is a Dropbox competitor that offers a much larger starting base in terms of cloud storage. Comparing storage capacity between the two services, Dropbox starts you off with 2GB, with referals of 500MB for each person who downloads the Desktop client. Copy starts you with a whopping 20GB with referrals of 5GB for each person you invite who downloads either the desktop client OR just the iOS app. As we experienced, there is NO MAX caps for uploads (Box only has a 250MB max upload size on a free account, for example).
Many of you readers installed Copy after reading the original review, so I have a large amount of storage accumulated (Thank-you!) I thought: As long as uploading the videos wasn't going to be a problem, Copy was our solution. I tested a few videos first and shared it with my colleague. He mentioned that, you could not only download the file, but also “stream” it as it downloads, even on iPhone or iPad. Success! This app would be the means for sharing the videos to parents.
How to upload and share using Copy:
- First, install the Copy app on each iPad that the students use. (Hint, create your own referal link and register a different email for each one to receive the 5GB promo on every single one!).
- Then, log into your account on each iPad.
- Now, upload the projects (they must be from the Camera Roll!), and choose (or create) the destination folder.
- Once all files are uploaded, you should rename them (probably to the child's name) *This is an important step!
- Begin sharing! Email the parents (or students) by simply pressing the share button (top right arrow), and they will receive the download link. They can then choose to share with extended family if they wish.
New Update: Copy has very recently updated its iOS app to include background uploads. This is going to be a VERY handy feature. Before, when we were uploading all of the videos, we had to make sure screen lock was off, meaning the iPads were turned on all night (plugged in and charging) while uploading. Now, we will not have to worry about any upload problems now. Simply upload it from each iPad, and videos will automatically upload in the background, whether the device is turned on or not. Of course, make sure that the iPads are within a strong wifi signal.
Here are some screenshots with some tips of using the Copy iOS app:
Sharing through Copy gives you two options: Publicly (anyone with the url can download it) and Securely (which requires recipients to verify their emails). Remember, you are not sharing the actual file, but just a download link to the file. A very cool feature is that each file that you share will list all the email addresses of those you've shared it with, and it keeps a record of it.
We asked a few parents afterwards how the download process was. They mentioned that it was smooth, problem-free, and took about twenty minutes. Not bad for such a large file! We told parents and students to contact us if there were any downloading issues. Not a single problem has been reported.
Sharing thirty videos online in a private manner definitely seemed like a large task. It did in fact take quite a few hours to complete. We uploaded all of them at school, with the entire process completed within one full day. All thirty videos ended up using 18 gigabytes(!) This was probably the best way of sharing our students' videos that we could have done. Now that background and screen-lock uploading is available (since their July 3 update), it will be even easier for us the next time around. For an absolutely free service, I highly recommend Copy for you as a teacher if you have iPad projects to share with parents. This can include many types of files' as long as they can be saved to the Camera Roll (Sock Puppets, Puppet Pals, Skitch, iMovie, Toontastic, and Explain Everything (and other screen-casting apps) are just a few that come to mind.) Check out this post for a list of content creation apps).
Here's a tip for those who do not wish to sync their entire Copy files and folders locally onto their computers (for space-saving reasons). Perhaps you want to just save your work files that you consistently update and change. For more “static” and true “backup” files, like videos and photos, you might not find it necessary to have a local file saved.
1. Go to the Copy desktop client.
2. Choose Preferences
3. Go to “Manage my Files”
4. Unselect the folders that you do NOT want on your mac/PC. (If you already have files installed, you can also “Remove local copy”. This will not delete the files from your COPY storage.)