What happens if several students are using mobile app at once on same account?

I’m thinking about doing a very brief BioBlitz with a small class of 6th graders on their school grounds. If we create one iNat account, can they all log onto it and post to it at once?

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I’m guessing that the students will have a device that is logged into the shared account?

I actually don’t know the technical answer to how many different devices can be simultaneously logged into the same account but from an educational standpoint, I would suggest that you use Seek for your BioBlitz depending on what your educational objectives are. Seek is more kid friendly and can do a lot of what teachers are looking for except to create a data set to analyze as a class.

If you want to create a class project, I suggest having students take photos and share them to a class folder first. As a class you can review the photos for data and photographic quality before uploading to iNat. This will hopefully eliminate out of focus photos or photos of the landscaping.


Thank you. The objective is to populate an iNaturalist project inventorying plants on the school grounds, for further analysis, so Seek is not really appropriate. I am hoping to set up a single account that each student with a cell phone can use at the same time.
Since it would be a single account and the instructors have access, we can delete any entries that are totally inappropriate (gag photos, landscapes). Sub-optimal photos of legitimate subjects are part of the learning experience. This is only a small project and won’t flood iNat with garbage observations. Hope that clarifies.


There will be a flurry of pictures of students, plus some concrete. :upside_down_face:


Haha I know. Adults do that too. But this is a pretty controlled situation. Anyone know the answer?

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There is none. An occupational hazard, unless you resort to cattle prods.

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Multiple devices can all be logged into the same account. I’d explicitly say in the profile what’s going on and when the observations will be reviewed for quality so that other iNat users can see they don’t need to leave a lot of comments or ids before that time.


I’m just asking out of curiosity, but do teachers have to get parental permission to have students install an app on their phones? Sorry if I’m hijacking the thread.

I’ve done class projects like this with middle schoolers logging into a class account and have had minimal problems. As long as the account is monitored by a teacher/adult, it should work out fine.


Thanks, @cthawley!

Excellent question about downloading phone apps. We’ll get that worked out.

Thanks for the suggestions, @carrieseltzer. We’ll do that.

Given that your students are 6th graders, I wonder if it would make more sense to set them all up with the Seek app configured to share observations with a single iNat account for the class? @tiwane describes how this works in this recent thread.

The advantage would be that the students would be using an app designed specifically for use by kids and which has stronger privacy protections.


Thanks for the link about Seek, @rupertclayton. I am checking into that setup.


I’d be interested to know how this works out. One outcome that is cool from our past projects is that some students continue to use the app after our projects finish. Many of our students are 13+ so this isn’t an issue, but it might be cool to have Seek available for continued use by students without a teacher needing to moderate a project.

@cthawley, I tried out Seek, but I’m going to stick with a single iNaturalist account for this project. It may just be my clumsiness with Seek, but I had very frustrating results with it. I couldn’t get the Seek camera to focus at all (iPhone 12) and it seldom got better than family level ID. When I tried to use it with stored photos on my phone that got perfect IDs from iNaturalist, it was less accurate than iNat, and it would only allow one ID to be pushed to iNaturalist, then I’d have to close the app and re-open it to do another one. Finally, if I tried to identify something it already had in storage, it forced me to choose to replace my old one or scrap the new one, so it looks as though it won’t store multiple observations of the same species. I know some people like Seek a lot so I will reserve final judgment, but it doesn’t seem to be what we want here. I will report back on how we do though!


This is a useful suggestion. As you note, if you’re after a data set and, more importantly, one you can use for comparisons through time or space, Seek isn’t as useful. But, it would be nice to have some sort of filtering mechanism. My institution requires all sophomores in our program to participate in a Bioblitz, upload their photos to the project and then use the data in class or in a final project. I would say that half the photos are frivolous or useless or dozens of the same individual spotted lanternfly…

One thing I thought of doing is a photo contest, which might lead many students to take their photography more seriously. I didn’t think of this until after the Bioblitz, but I might make it a central feature of future class engagements with iNat.


Any idea if any students continue to use iNat at all?


They don’t. My seminar was themed around biodiversity, and I had them use iNat at several sites, subsequently. Some also used it on their own. However, only one of them uploaded anything following our last field trip in mid-October. Could be a weather and workload thing. Or simple lack of interest. Except for a couple of them, these students are not biology majors.

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