Marking on the iPad: Markup beta review

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I have been trying the beta version of Markup, a Kickstarter project by the creators of Showme that has been fully funded and has now been submitted to the App store.

Essentially, you set up an email address with Markup, your students email a pdf of their work to that address. You open the pdf, annotate using your finger or stylus, from a small palette of colours, then mail the pdf back to the student.

It works perfectly as described…but even though I backed this app on Kickstarter, it is not -in its current form at least – the answer to iPad workflow, as I can already achieve the same goal, but with many more functions like voice recording, typed text etc with other apps like Explain Everything. The workspace is not searchable and there is no way to organise student work into folders so the interface will quickly become unmanageable. Also, whilst you are making annotations you can undo or erase them but if you close the document and reopen it, your earlier annotations are no longer editable.

What I dream of is a seamless solution where student saves a pdf to a shared workspace, I open it and annotate over the work..but just as a layer on top…the student then opens the work and makes changes to their original. No email, no multiple versions.

Currently the closest I can see is using the annotation feature in Edmodo, or students using Google Docs. Of course, Edmodo features GoogleDocs integration so I think that is worth further investigation. Hapara offers a great teacher dashboard solution for GoogleDocs, at a cost, but of course you cannot make or edit a Google Presentation on the iPad…hmmm.

None of this is uniquely an iOS issue, the same would be true on an Android or Windows device in terms of the digital submission/correction/resubmission flow. Whoever comes up with the solution to this is going to make a mint! The key will be having a way to organise and view student work without needing multiple folders. Obviously, the Holy Grail would be having this system work with school information systems and feed into assessments, grades and even reporting..a one-stop shop.

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