Workflow – A SkyDrive Pro solution?Posted: April 23, 2013
I worked on the Glow project in Edinburgh for two years and although the concept was great – having a national intranet to facilitate sharing and learning – the reality was often not the same due to several factors. They were in no particular order:-
- password complexity – too difficult – especially for younger pupils
- infrastructure – access was too slow and not robust enough
- difficulty – too hard for inexperienced users, especially to set up
- workflow – no easy way to distribute and retrieve work from pupils
Looking to the future, 365 should take care of password complexity due to Single Sign On, the infrastructure will be far more robust and the environment will a lot more user friendly. I would like to focus on how 365 can best be used to facilitate workflow. I have spent lots of time looking at different VLE and collaborative tools that can be used by teaching staff. There are a variety of tools out there such as edmodo and schoology. Although these are good tools to use, staff have to be very careful about where they are storing data but data classification is for another post…
I am confident that there will be a variety of options of how the staff – pupil workflow will work when operating within the BT provided solution of Windows 7 desktops and laptops and any Windows 8 devices used by schools on the LT Open wireless network. The ability to use shared calendars to distribute work and then creating folders to drop work into team site areas is just one potential solution that I will demonstrate in future posts.
The real challenge lies in ensuring that workflow is manageable from all mobile devices. Office 365 has web apps which means that you can access and edit the Office 13 apps in any browser without the requirement of an Office 2013 installation. This is great and works quite nicely on the iPad but what if you are working on files outwith the Office environment?
Office 365 comes with a sharepoint based file storage called ‘Skydrive Pro’ which sounds confusingly similar to the free file storage facility offered by Microsoft called ‘Skydrive’. The ‘pro’ part is important and the differences are well explained here. A skydrive pro app is due for Summer 13 and this should offer similar functionality to the current ‘free’ skydrive. For example this screenshot shows a file from Pages on the ipad converted and stored as a word file directly from the iPad.
Assuming that SkyDrive and the Pro app are able to manage the same basic processes then this will go a long way towards resolving the ‘workflow’ issue on the iPad.
I have focused on the iPad as as this is the primary mobile device being used in Edinburgh schools. On Android – the ability to see the file structure means that file transfer can work in roughly the similar way to a laptop and there are not the issues of accessing files that can prove a challenge in iOS.