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EssayTagger is a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster.
But it is not an auto-grader.

This blog will cover EssayTagger's latest feature updates as well as musings on
education, policy, innovation, and preserving teachers' sanity.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Latest update: Support for iPad Pages documents!

Getting any file off of an iPad and out into the world can be a challenge, but Pages makes life more difficult because it uses a unique document format that is not very compatible with other programs. We've been able to overcome both obstacles. Here's how.

Apple's Pages word processor iPad app does make it easy to create some really nice-looking documents. But my praise for Pages stops there because it's such a pain to deal with Pages documents. What good is a beautiful word processor if you can't do anything with the resulting documents?!

Thanks to our just-released Google apps and Google Drive account integration, we can now get Pages documents off of students' iPads and submit them directly to EssayTagger.

Step-by-step instructions
First you'll need to enable Google integration for your course. Instructions can be found here. Your students will also need Pages (obviously) and the Google Drive app.

The Google Drive app works with Pages to export your document into a Word DOC file and then upload it to your Drive account. This conversion and upload to Drive is the key to this process.

Here's the test essay I'll be working with:

"Share" Pages document to Google Drive
When you're ready to submit your essay, click the wrench icon at the top right to bring up the document options:

Select "Share and Print":

Now select "Open in Another App":

Pages will ask you which format you want to use. Make sure you specify "Word"!!

After you click "Word" you'll see:

Click "Choose App" and select "Google Drive":

That will cause the Google Drive app to fire up. You should see something like this:

Note: On my iPad (original generation) the "Upload Item" box didn't display at first. The Drive app just seemed frozen. I closed the Drive app by pressing the thumb button on the front of the iPad. Then I tapped on the Drive app to re-open it and then I was able to see the Upload Item box.

Click "Upload" and you'll see your Pages document added to your Drive "Uploads" collection:

Submit to EssayTagger from Google Drive
Here's the coolest part. Now your students can go to the assignment's upload page on EssayTagger. They'll need to sign in with their Google apps accounts and link to Google Drive (details on this are in the second half of the instructions posted here).

When they're ready to submit their document, make sure they choose to upload from Google Drive:

When they click "select document from Google Drive" they'll see a popup window that displays all of the documents they have in Google Drive:

Click the checkmark next to the Pages document that was just uploaded to Drive and click "Select". Then complete the normal submission process: check the academic honesty statement and hit "Submit":

After the site processes the incoming document, you'll see the final confirmation screen:

That's it! The student's document has now been submitted and is ready for you to grade.

Known issues
I did a quick test with an image embedded in the text. Unfortunately the image did not make it through to the final confirmation screen. I did not do exhaustive testing to determine exactly where the incompatibility was, but do not be surprised if students' images do not accompany their Pages documents.