iPhone & Dropbox as a portable visualiser

I haven’t posted on technology ideas for ages, but I had a great idea half way through my Maths lesson this morning which I thought was worth sharing.

We were doing an addition investigation on mini whiteboards and I discovered that one pair was using some exemplary problem solving methods. I wanted to share their work with the whole class, but I had left my visualiser unplugged. I have been using Evernote on my iPhone a lot recently to photograph memos and documents, and it occurred to me I could use this instead.

The Dropbox application for iPhone has at some point added a camera feature, which you can use to take a photo or video and automatically upload it to your Dropbox account, in turn automatically downloading it to any computer you have set Dropbox up on. Therefore, if you open the Dropbox app on your iPhone or iPod touch (not sure if android version has this function), you have a portable document camera that can photograph work in any part of the classroom (or even outside…) and near instantly display it on a projector or interactive white board.

This allowed me to share examples of good work on the board without interrupting and having children traipse up to the front, and I can think of some interesting further uses that could be developed, especially for relaying photos from outside of the classroom back to a different group.

As a caveat, please do think carefully about what you photograph using your personal device and check acceptable use policies. Don’t get yourself into trouble for taking pictures of children on your phone.

If you don’t have Dropbox and want to try it out, use my click here to use my affiliate link and we will both get some extra free storage space.





11 responses to “iPhone & Dropbox as a portable visualiser”

  1. Fiona Grant Avatar
    Fiona Grant

    Thanks Oliver, have been using dropbox quite a bit lately on my laptop, downloaded the app but have not used on my phone yet…will definitely think a little more about the possibilities.


  2. Claire Avatar

    Nice idea! My school does have a policy against taking photos of children on personal cameras, but you could argue that images of work are a different matter I suppose.

  3. Svanstraten Avatar

    Fab idea. Thanks for sharing the innovative ideas Oliver!



  4.  Avatar

    Thanks for the comments. Use this this morning to capture work in our parent’s workshop and parents were blown away. http://bit.ly/dbXLgT

  5. Dogsbody Avatar

    I can confirm that the Android Dropbox app has this functionality too 🙂

  6. Colette Walsh Avatar
    Colette Walsh

    Genius- i shall be sharing this in staff meeting on Tuesday!
    Many thanks- love my drop box

    1. oliverquinlan Avatar

      I’ve recently found myself using this more and more as a scanner as well. This morning created hand outs of groups of poems to analyse different forms. Snapped the poems straight from the book with this, put together in Pages and was done in minutes!

    2. oliverquinlan Avatar

      It’s a great app!

  7. andyuk71 Avatar

    I love this idea though Dropbox is blocked by our Local Authority – I have it installed on my school laptop but can’t access it via classroom desktop: Was Dropbox something you had to get permission to gain access to Oliver?

    1. oliverquinlan Avatar

      In Birmingham it was not blocked, but whenever something was I used to proactively get in touch with our central IT people and they were very good at helping me to access what I needed to when I gave them good reasons for doing so. I would get in touch with whoever controls the filter and ask.

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