The Dropbox Trick to create great Speaking and Listening opportunities

Dropbox has become possibly the most valuable app since using iPads in the classroom. Linking them all up to one account and enabling automatic uploads has meant it has been a life saver as far as saving children's work to one location on my laptop without using any wire.

As a teaching tool it is great to take a picture of a child's work, upload it to Dropbox and have it appear on my laptop within seconds so I can display it on the IWB. As a teacher is a great way to store files and means wherever I am on whatever device I can access my files. But there is another nifty trick Dropbox offers which provides great potential to using videos in the class to help children with speaking and listening and aiding the writing process. 

The trick is that Dropbox allows you to download videos straight to your camera roll, meaning they can then be imported into iMovie for endless amount of different tasks.

How to do it?

First, you need a video and I have heard a rumour that there are websites where you can download videos from YouTube and other sites, I don't know if this is true or not???? ;) however if you acquire a video you need to make sure it is in the correct format of .mp4 or .mov. To do this you should download Format Factory onto your PC/laptop, this allows you to change the format of videos, pictures and music files. Once changed into the correct format, save this video into your dropbox folder on your PC.

Then open the Dropbox app on your iPad/iPhone, locate the file and press the favourite button:

Then wait for it to be downloaded and save it to photo library:

You should then have the video saved in your camera roll. It is that simple and every iPad linked to that dropbox account can have the same video! Now what to do with it!

Using iMovie children can import the video, mute it and record their own narration, conversation, instructions and much more. It enables children to use speaking and listening to aid the writing process. I have come to realise through teaching in EYFS and KS1 that unless children can verbalise a story they cannot write it. This process allows children to first experiment with ideas orally which can then transfer to their writing. It may also be a great way for children to complete a piece of writing - using a video as a stimulus for writing and recording the children read their story alongside the video can be a really effective and at times an emotional way of showcasing the children's work. 

Some examples:

  • During our Angry Birds topic, Year 3 wrote playscripts about the opening video for the game, the children then recorded themselves performing it alongside the video:
  • During our football project, Year 5 children recorded themselves commentating over highlights of a match to then help them write their match reports.
  • Children can look at creating sound effects to replace the original audio - here is Year 4's efforts at recreating the sound effects for a scene from Indiana Jones:
  • If you can somehow download one of the amazing videos from the brilliant Literacy Shed website, this may really help with different activities suggested on the website such as tracking a characters thoughts, empathising with a character, describing or explaining the story or video, recreating a conversation between two characters (which can then help teaching children how to punctuate speech,) or a teacher could show a video and ask the children to be creative by reworking a conversation but taking it in a complete different direction. Children can also test their quick thinking skills by completely improvising a scene.
  • Other videos which are really great to use are music videos, as they normally tell a story with only music, children can narrate over the video to tell the story or record conversations between characters, one of my favourite songs at the minute has a great video to use in this way:
  • For Non Fiction texts, instructions, explanations, information, biographies, children again can record themselves sharing their writing over a video of that particular topic.
I will of course update this post with any other examples I use and please comment if you have any other suggestions. 


  1. Thanks for the info! My question is can you save a video created on your iPad to your DropBox?


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