When students are collaborating and working on group projects or presentations, there is often the need to collect assets so they all wind up on one machine or in one online folder. In the “old” days, when students had a shared folder on a file server, they would each drop the files into this shared folder and the person in charge of the compilation of the information or the final product would grab the items from there. When using iPads, there are many options that are available, in addition to just emailing the files to one student, for the sharing of files.
Mover+ (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mover+/id320907954?mt=8) is a free app that allows files to be moved from iPad to iPad by simply opening the app, putting an item on the “table” and flicking it to side of the table with the other person’s device name. In addition, there is an application for the Mac called Mover Connect, which allows the items to be flicked to and from the Mac desktop, too.
Bump (https://itunes.apple.com/app/bump/id305479724?mt=8) allows photos and files to be shared between iPads and iPhones by simply tapping the devices together. And, when going to the http://bu.mp site with your computer’s Web browser, you can share items from a device to the desktop by bumping the space bar on the computer.
Chirp (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chirp/id529469280?mt=8) allows you to share files via sound. Just open Chirp on each device, add an item, and hit the “chirp” button. The image is copied to the other person’s device using sound.
DropCopy Lite (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropcopy-lite-wireless-file/id358310121?mt=8) allows files to be moved easily between devices that both house the app and are the same wireless network. The first 25 files views are free, but then you have to upgrade to the full version for $4.99 if you want to keep using the app. In addition, there is a version that runs on the Mac that allows easy transfer from device to desktop and vice versa. (http://10base-t.com/downloads/DropCopy_latest.zip)
Instashare (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id576220851?mt=8) just released their iPad version of the app. Instashare allows you to share items via WiFi or Bluetooth, and you can share any type or size of file. You see the other devices you can share with, and you simply drag the file from your device to the image of the other device. There is also a Mac app that allows you to share files with the desktop.
Sharing files when not in the same room
Although intended to be used when in the same location, you can record a Chirp (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chirp/id529469280?mt=8) embed it as an audio file on a Web page, and someone with Chirp can get the file!
Xsync (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xsync-file-sharing-dropbox/id464201801?mt=8) is and iPhone app intended to allow sharing of files when you might have two different types of devices in the same room. But it can also be used to share files long-distance, too. You first open an audio file, a photo, a video, a contact, or a calendar on your iOS device or in Dropbox when within Xsync. Xsync actually sends the item to their server and presents you with a QR code for the item. You can distribute the QR code as an attachment, via SMS, or put it on a Web page, and anyone with a QR code scanner can scan the QR code and receive the file!
DropItToMe (http://www.dropitto.me) is not an app, but a plug-in to Dropbox. When DropItToMe is installed, it creates a folder in the Dropbox account that will allow others to upload files to that folder. All you have to do is distribute the DropItToMe URL to others and they can upload their files to that folder.
Sharing files between the iPad and the desktop
There are plenty of apps available that allow you to wirelessly connect your iPad to a desktop and move files back and forth. They all pretty much work the same way— the two devices need to be on the same wireless or Bluetooth network, you start the iPad app, one of the choices is a sync between your iOS device and a computer, you get an IP address to type into your desktops browser, and you can access the files that are on the iPad and upload files from the desktop to the iPad. Once items are on the iPad, you can save them for use in an appropriate app on the iPad and even zip them up. Most of these apps also have converters built in so you can watch videos, look and Keynote and PowerPoint presentations, and Web archives directly in the file sharing app.
Two of these apps I like use are Air Disk Pro (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/airdisk-pro-wireless-flash/id505904421?mt=8) and Phone Drive (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phone-drive/id431033044?mt=8), both which cost $1.99. Phone Drive’s new update includes the ability to wirelessly sync files with Dropbox and iCloud, too.
There are also a number of no-cost versions of file sharing apps, but they usually have some advertising built-in. A couple of these include Air Disk Free (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-disk-free-wireless-http/id444063740?mt=8) and Air Drive (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-drive-your-file-manager/id419311671?mt=8).
Creating an ad-hoc network
There are times when desktops and iPads cannot see each other when on a wireless network like in hotels, airport, and some schools. There is a way to create an ad-hoc (private) network between the desktop and the devices. This should allow you to pass files back and forth between the desktop and the iOS devices, and may even allow the iOS devices to move files back and forth between two iOS devices.
- Simply go up to the WiFi symbol on the taskbar on the desktop or laptop.
- Pick “Create Network” and you get the “Create a computer-to-computer” network box.
- Give the network a name, pick either channel 1, 2, or 11, and secure it with a password if you want to.
- On the iPad, go to Settings:Wi-Fi and pick the ad-hoc network from the list to connect to it.
Sharing files has never been easier, whether you are sitting next to someone or halfway around the world! Install at least one app for sharing files locally, one for sharing across the miles, one for sharing between the iPad and the computer, and practice setting up an ad-hoc network for when you might need it!