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Somewhat geeky tech question: building scan to blog station

March 16, 2011

Ok, this is a random tech question I’m putting here for some feedback and for me to come back to in the future.

I want to create a scan to blog station. As in, student completes assignment on paper and thinks, “I want to share this with the world.” So they go to this station, press scan, scan the document and type in an email, and it’s routed to a custom blog just for them, which also has everything they’ve done previously.

Here’s how I think I could do it.

  1. Fujitsu Scansnap: these things are amazing. I have the smallest version and even it zips through double sided full color page scans in no time.
  2. gmail + advanced filtering: If every student had a gmail account, then they could just enter “johndoe+blog@gmail.com” as the send email address, and then set up a filter on the +blog term in their gmail account to send it to posterous (forward to post@posterous.com), and I think we’d be all set.
  3. Posterous: This is the ultimate email to blog service. Send it an email with a pdf and it puts that pdf in a blog post (I think-need to try this).

So what do you think? Would this work? Are there easier/faster ways to do the same thing?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2011 3:11 pm

    Why not have the students create assignments electronically in the first place?

    • March 16, 2011 3:21 pm

      This is a good question, but I still find there are a lot of things, particularly physics problem solving that are just best done with pencil and paper. I’ve tried windows tablets, and some digitizer tablets with mac, and I just don’t like it. I’m always hopeful that this will change, but If I’m going to give a student a goal-less problem and ask them to go to town with it, the best way to do that is with a pencil and a sheet of graph paper.

  2. March 16, 2011 5:04 pm

    Cool idea. Does your copier scan and email PDFs? Ours does, and it’s awesome. You can set up an email recipient as the blog, and there you go!

    • March 16, 2011 6:05 pm

      Yes, our copiers scan to email, but it doesn’t do color, and it may be limited to only scan to addresses in the local domin. Plus, I’d like to set something up in my classroom, so I could literally say “go share that with the world” and whatever it is, it could be shared in a few seconds. Cell phone cameras get us much of the way there, but this seems like a next step.

  3. March 17, 2011 8:38 pm

    Why step #2? Why not condense to steps 1 and 3? I just send straight to my posterous email…not to another account with a rule. I am curious what you are thinking with step #2…I know you have a reason.

    • March 17, 2011 8:40 pm

      Good question. Scan snap sends email from whatever account I’ve set it up with. I’d probably create an account just for the station. I don’t want students having to log in to this station, even if logging in is just an email account. So if they were just to send their scan to post@posterus.com, all of the scans (for every student) would be routed to one blog, which isn’t what I’d want. I want each student to have his/her own blog. Your process works great since it’s only your email account, but I’d like something that works for a bunch of different students using the station, with minimal hassle.

  4. March 23, 2011 1:21 pm

    Personally, I don’t like blogs with a lot of PDFs. And scanned PDFs of text are extremely irritating: huge files that take forever to download to produce crappy images at the end. This scan-to-PDF meme is mainly followed by clueless administrators at my university (who print out pages, scan them, and email them to 100s of people, rather than just sending the paragraph of text).

    The abuse of scan-to-pdf technology by administrators may have soured me on this approach, but I think it would be far more valuable to teach your students how to produce documents that people would want to read, rather than just giving them a refrigerator to post their stuff on.

    • March 23, 2011 10:37 pm

      Thanks. I’ll keep this in mind. My thought is more to have them scan a single page of work. I really just want to have an easy way to digitize student work from the class. Now we take photos with smartphones, and that works pretty well.

  5. March 26, 2011 7:44 am

    It looks like one other useful piece of software would be scandrop which does automatic scanning to dropbox, evernote and google docs.

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