Using whiteboard applications in the classroom – Doceri and EduCreations

The first question that needs to get an answer is, why and how would you use whiteboard applications ? Well, the iPad is making serious inroads into the classroom and that has to start with how the teacher is using the technology. I would suggest that it is a good idea that a teacher that wants to use the iPad in the classroom for teaching, as in with the students using them to use to enhance their learning, should first be using the iPad themselves. I have successfully used the iPad in the classroom for taking the class register, showing video clips and playing audio clips. These whiteboard applications allow teachers to extend and enhance the teaching of subjects in a couple of other different ways.

Out with the old and in with the new

Doceri for iPad

When I was in full-time teaching I had either a black board or white board and the writing tools to go with them and I was tied to the front of the class whenever using those tools. When a teacher is writing on a blackboard is true to say that the ability to see out of the back of your head is a good skill to have. However interesting the subject matter, in every class there is always a couple of children at the back of the class, that are not interested or just slightly distracted. What about if it was possible for you to do the same presentation, but instead of being with your back to the classroom while writing, be at the back of the classroom and be able to see everything that is going on. It seems like this would be a very useful way of working that could only enhance classroom management. Pupils will also benefit from having iPads to use in school .

Presentation applications for the iPad

I have looked at a couple of applications that are for presenting subject matter with the iPad. You have applications like Explain Everything , Screenchomp, EduCreations, Doceri, ShowMe and DoodleCast Pro, that can be used to show the students the lesson from your iPad over the air to the projector. You can use an Apple TV that will mirror whatever you have on your iPad. With these applications there are a variety of tools that are available, some of them are quite simple offerings, only including a way to add images to a single page and the ability to write or draw around and on top of these images. Some of them will allow you to add typed text and useful shapes like rectangles, circles and arrows. It would be nice if you were able to choose one single application that did everything, but more than likely you will probably find yourself using a combination of applications to use depending on what you are working on. For a particular lesson you might find that EduCreations has sufficient tools even though it is quite simple in its offering compared to something like a Doceri.

 

free applications

Not all iPad Whiteboard applications are created equal

Explaineverything

Most of these applications offer a screen recording mode. With this you are able to pre-record your lesson. You could go with putting in the images and the basic explanations and fill in the rest while you’re in front of the class. Then again, maybe you want to have a flipped lesson where the fullest amount of information is put into the recorded presentation . This is then shared out to the students prior to the class and obviously they are expected to have watched it before being present in the classroom. Then in the classroom some of the activities that would traditionally be done as homework are acted upon. As part of these activities you could include polls or tests so that you would be able to see how much information had actually penetrated into the heads of your students. It seems like it would be a good opportunity to use group activities and more student centred learning by going down this flipped lesson route.

EduCreations

Teaching with iPad – EduCreations is a simple application that allows you to record your presentations or lessons. You can add writing and drawing to the slides. There is a bar at the bottom of the screen that allows you to either add a new slide or move between slides already created. You can add photos from either the camera, photo roll, Dropbox and also the web. Interestingly when you add them from web, you add the URL for the website to the search bar and the application goes off and searches just for images on that site. You don’t get to see the whole of the webpage with all of the text. Which is good, because that’s not what you’re looking for anyway. Just select the image that you want and it will be downloaded and added to your slide, where you can resize it as necessary.

Colours and lines in Educreations

For your writing and drawing, you don’t get many tools nor colours. You only get 10 colours available and you can’t even change the thickness of the line that you’re drawing with. There are only four choices of background available, although that is not terribly important, as you can bring in any artwork you want to anyway. On account of the fact that you can’t set the layer level of images, you need to remember this when you determine the order of importing the images into EduCreations. Otherwise one image could obscure others.

Record a lesson

You do get a recording tool that allows you to pause and to save your recording. It is possible to share your recordings through Facebook, Twitter and through a web URL. I’m sure that this recording and sharing will be sufficient for the quick and simple lessons. While you are creating your presentation or lesson you may miss the eraser tool. I would have thought that an eraser would be essential for an application like this. The delete tool has only two choices of either clearing the page, including the photographs or just clearing the ink. Otherwise you will have to go to use the backspace delete tool to remove lines or writing that you no longer require.

 

free applications

The NoStylus verdict on Educreations

While I am sure that EduCreations is a tool that certainly has its uses when you want to create a quick lesson, it is quite simple in terms of what it has to offer. I would be inclined to only use this application sparingly when a less complicated explanation is all that is required.

Doceri

Of all of the applications in this genre I have found so far, this one is the most accomplished in terms of the number of tools available and the configurability of those tools. This is a fully fledged presentation application with recording facilities. The first choice you will need to make with this, is whether you want to use it just as an iPad tool, or if you want to use it to control your Mac. If you are not able to connect to your projector in the classroom with the iPad, but you’re able to do so with your Mac, then you would use the second of the options available. As you are working with this over the air to your computer, there is going to be a slight lag, but it is astonishing that it is so easy to control your desktop computer from your iPad.

Reasons for using a Computer too

You could have a presentation or an application that is not available on your iPad to be displayed to the class. You can also go into a drawing mode that will allow you to draw shapes, lines and pointers to give a lesson either on that application or the contents of that application.

You have very fine control regards the drawing, writing on and annotation of your iPad presentations. You get a timeline that you can scroll back through and edit after the fact. So that if there is a specific line that you would like to delete that you made earlier in your presentation, then you can do so. You can also add stop points and new slides. It is even possible for you to split up your presentation by adding a new page marker in the middle of what you have already done.

Backgrounds, pens and brushes

Doceri gives you a number of preinstalled backgrounds that are suitable for music, maths, art and there are even maps that are there for the geography teachers. If you want a custom background you can bring in artwork of your own and have it added to a list of custom backgrounds available. There is also a good range of drawing, writing and shape tools plus an eraser. The only tool that I found a little bit disappointing was the airbrush or spray tool. The effect that it gives is basically just a softer edge to your line and is really nothing like an airbrush effect. One of the things that I particularly liked with Doceri is that when you’re drawing you get a lovely smooth line and none of the jagged sorts of lines that I have seen in other presentation software.

The playback controls in Doceri

You can go back over everything that you have done in the timeline, be that writing or drawing on your presentation or adding images, stop points or new slides by sliding back through the timeline. So what you can do, is to have all of your images, annotations and highlights in place, go back to the start, click on record and you can add your voice over to the recording. All of the controls that you’ve already put in there with the stop points and new slides will be there ready, so you will get really fine control over your presentation while doing the recording.

Sharing your Doceri presentations

While you are creating your presentation you can click on the export button in the top bar and you’re given the option of emailing out as a PDF or opening the PDF in other applications. You can choose to have a new PDF page at each stop or at each slide and it tells you how many pages you will get depending on your choice. Or you can choose to export out the current image with posting to Facebook, Twitter or sending to your Photo Library. You can put the images onto the clipboard so they can be opened up another application that recognises images. You can do that with or without the background. I was successfully able to paste that image into Pages, the iWork application. I did try pasting it into some art applications, Procreate and Art Studio, but with no luck.

Costs of using Doceri

Doceri stylus

Any photos, PDFs and movies that are created with a Doceri will have a watermark and the same is the case when you are projecting via Airplay. To remove this watermark customisation it costs €4.49. You can also purchase a wired stylus that plugs into the headphones socket on your iPad. It looks like it could be quite useful and it gives you a writing end and an eraser end. If you don’t mind having the watermark in your presentations and other output, then you could use this application for free.

A sister desktop application

There is a Doceri desktop application, which is necessary if you want to use your iPad to control your Mac computer or Windows computer. This application costs $30 and there is a trial version available. If you think you might be using that configuration of having your Mac or Windows computer connected to the projector device, then it could be worth your while to pay for the software.

I have given this software a little bit of a test and I must say it is quite weird to see my iMac screen on my iPad and be able to control it. It even gives you a keyboard on the iPad so that you can do keyboard shortcuts. I used the keyboard shortcut of command and spacebar to bring up the Alfred application, just to test it. I was also quite impressed that Doceri desktop app also gave me a choice of which screen I wanted to look, which is obviously going to be very useful if you have a multiple monitor set up.

Drawing and annotating your Computer applications

Using the drawing mode on top of the iMac screen. I selected the drawing mode and those able to draw on the iPad and see that drawing appear on top of the iMac screen. I can also use the pinch gestures on the iPad to zoom in and still be able to use all of the drawing tools available. I also changed the background on the display. You would use this when you were making a presentation that was going to be partly showing what was happening on your computer and then going into a Doceri presentation. Good to have this versatility.

The NoStylus verdict on whiteboard applications for iPad

It is undeniable that there is a wealth of applications in this whiteboard, teaching and learning genre. Which one that you choose to use will depend upon your presentation needs. Doceri is the one that stands out from the crowd, in terms of everything that you can do with it. It is the most accomplished of them all by far. You might prefer to choose that one and do just about everything rather than having an arsenal of whiteboard applications to choose from for specific purposes. Personally, the way that I would go about it would be to have Doceri as the go to application for presenting, as it will present both from the desktop and also direct from the iPad. Certainly, it is about as fully featured as you can expect. On account of the fact that it has a monetisation plan in place, it might be more likely to stick around than the ones that are totally free. You do need to learn how to use and be proficient with Doceri, which is why it will be good to stick with the one application as your main choice.

Have a look at the article about creating iBooks Textbooks with iBooks Author .

Other Whiteboard Applications

Screenchomp

An application like Screenchomp is clearly aimed more towards the students. Maybe teachers will create information within the application, with the intention that the students use the lessons and then run with it to produce their own presentations. These presentations being either for assessment and proof of their own learning or for sharing with the rest of the class.

 

free applications

 

Explain Everything

Within Explain Everything app you get a good set of tools, with lines and various shapes including stars and arrows. There is a good colour picker that can be used with the drawing options as well as with the text and the shapes. Within the drawing options you have five pen thicknesses and the choice of a harder line or a softer line.

When you’re using it in presentation mode it is nice that you get a choice of nine pointers, that can be used instead of having to draw things on your pristine presentation. It is possible to have a number of slides and you can record your presentations. I like the way that you can grab items within your slide such as a set of images and text to move, rotate and resize. This could be very useful when creating a presentation that can be recorded, just the same as it would be useful when you are presenting live.

ShowMe

This application has good sharing tools but is quite simple in terms of what you have in order to create presentations. It only gives you a limited number of colours and there is no option to change the opacity or a line width. You can tap and hold to move images around the screen, but you’re not able to freely rotate, apart from 90° increments. I like that with Explain Everything you do get the option to move object to the front or move to the back. You are able to pause recording of what you’re working on and when you’re finished, you just click on Save ShowMe. The presentations that you have shared go to the ShowMe website and you can also send them to either Facebook or Twitter. When you have shared them out you will get an email sent to you with the URL for your presentation. You may have to wait for a couple of minutes for the video of the presentation to be converted and ready for viewing.

 

free applications

 

My New iPad WiFi model – iPad 3 for Educational use

Finally got the new iPad – My iPad 3 first impressions

Being a fan of Apple products, it is only natural that I wanted to get the new iPad soon as it became available – on the iPad 3 launch date. Unfortunately, I had to wait until the money became available to get the new Apple iPad 3. I suppose the question to be answered is, why did I need a new iPad wifi 16GB, when I already had the iPad 1? Aside from the obvious reasons of wanting to have the latest, newest and shiniest, the main reason for wanting the new iPad was the ability to send the iPad screen to my Mac via Wi-Fi. The iPad 3 resolution is pretty amazing really. I already have a growing catalogue of videos on my Wizardgold/Mac20Q YouTube channel that are how-to videos showing how to work with Mac software. Naturally I want to do iPad videos also and my attempts to do them with the over shoulder camerawork, I don’t feel have been terribly successful. With the new iPad 3 I can use the application Reflection on my Mac and airplay the video from the iPad to it. When I have the video available on my iMac and I can then record it using the application ScreenFlow.

My first impressions of the new iPad wifi model

Maybe I have become used to the extra speed with the faster processor in the new iPad and the lovely retina screen, but I’m not experiencing a huge wow factor. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the new iPad wifi only and probably all I need is to have 10 min again with the iPad 1, so that I really get the point.

With the previous iPad, I had the Apple cover for it and found it to be very useful. I haven’t bought an iPad case or a cover for this model yet. I don’t particularly like the colours of the Smart Cover and I think they seem quite expensive. The Apple smart cover for the iPad looks like it could be quite useful for when you need to stand the iPad up to use it. That can be either when you have it in landscape mode or in portrait mode. I think perhaps the Smart Cover for the iPad is less useful in terms of protecting the iPad from wear and tear. There is another version of the smart cover that does have protection for the back of the iPad and I may go into an Apple Store to have a closer look. I will check out the iPad designer cases too.

new ipad wifi

Getting up and running with the new iPad from Apple

All I did was to plug it into my iMac and tell it to restore from a backup that came from the previous iPad. For the most part, this worked very well although adjustments were required, on account of this new iPad has only 16 GB of storage space. The previous model I had, had 32 GB available and so I have had to do some judicious pruning of applications and content. While I was trying to get the content and the data sorted out, I felt it was a bit of a moving target. In the end the best way to move forward was to search for the applications with the largest footprint, to see which ones I could remove and save most space. There was some, like Garageband and iPhoto that I was not going to take off whatever happened. It was probably more due to my impatience to get using the iPad and maybe I could have set it up as a new iPad rather than going with the backup from the previous. On the other hand though, at least the way that I did it most of the settings for applications were preserved. I expect that I may have saved myself some hassle by going with the backup option. Even so, with some applications such as Tweetbot, for example, I did have to reauthorise the application to use my Twitter accounts.

Planned educational use of the iPad

As I live and work in Spain and have to try and survive financially on work that only becomes available during the summer holiday period, I have decided to look at teaching English as a foreign language. I have already worked teaching English in a Spanish school recently and I quite enjoyed it. The plan now is to do the TEFL course and look for private customers and possibly set up a small classroom to teach English. I do have a space where I could situate the classroom and generally it could be quite a useful business. The thing is, is that there are English-language schools available already in the area and I think that to have a unique selling proposition of having iPads for students to use in the class, could set me apart from the crowd.

iPads in the classroom

I have been reading a number of blogs with stories of how teachers are using the iPad in the classroom and it looks very interesting indeed. There are a number of applications available that are specific to learning English as a foreign language and there are also plenty of apps which are just plain useful for teachers. While I was teaching in the local school, I made use of the iPad Bento application and the iPad Evernote app extensively. It was also easy to show videos and to play audio clips in the classroom directly from the iPad. This would be more difficult with a large class of students but there is a way to get around this. iStudiez Pro iPad app is handy tool for teachers to use.

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The Apple TV and the iPad

What some teachers have done, is to use an iPad in conjunction with an Apple TV connected to a television. With this configuration of technology the teacher can walk around freely within the classroom and have whatever is on the iPad sent over the air to the Apple TV. The teacher can use this to show a specific application for learning English or could use a whiteboard type of application. With these whiteboard apps you can use them to show images, write or draw on and even to show animations. The days could be numbered for those big smart boards that are in most classrooms in the UK.

The effects of using the iPad in the classroom

Being able to walk around freely in the classroom is excellent for classroom management. The teacher not being tied to the front of the class and having to turn their back on the monkeys, I mean students, helps with the control of the class. You would be able to stand at the back of the class, behind those that think that they can sit at the back and hide or mess around. It is quite possible that the students generally will be more engaged with the subject matter, due to the use of new and exciting technology. It would probably be likely that there would be fewer occurrences of bored pupils that can’t be bothered. In any case, the disruptive pupil now has nowhere to hide.

Making the best use of the available technology in education

The more that a teacher can use all of the available senses to engage the students, the better. There will be the need to continue using teaching techniques that don’t require using the iPad. I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is true to say though, that the new technology extends and expands the options available. Images, video and sound can be used along with the interactive nature of using a computer that you can touch, to make things happen. With this you can integrate the kinetic element of learning where the students are learning by doing. I love the possibilities of teaching with the iPad as a tool.

Using technology to flip the class

There is even a school of thought at the moment, that would have the use of the class flipping to change the way the education operates, even more. There are few different ways of doing this and one of them could be the teacher presenting the information in a video. The student watches this video to get the explanation and the basic content outside of the class. That would be the homework. Then in the flipped classroom, the teacher can have a more interactive approach with activities based upon the previously viewed content. I like this idea and I would be keen to give it a try. The process and mechanics of flipping a class would require a number of articles to fully explore and explain, so I won’t go into full details in this one.

ipad for educational use

Enjoying using the iPad 3

With explaining some of the reasons for my wanting to get the new iPad, I digressed or went off on bit of a tangent. Even with the great iPad 3 specifications, it is still about the user experience. I have to say that I am very pleased with my new purchase and you should look out for some how-to videos on the Mac20Q YouTube channel. If you have any comments or questions with regards how the iPad 3 tablet could be used in the classroom, please feel free to leave a comment below or use the contact form. I am looking forward to hearing from you, especially if you have any positive thoughts concerning the iPad for education. I do wish I could have afforded an iPad with 3G / 4G, but the cash would only stretch to the new iPad wifi version.

 

iPad Must Have Apps That You Really Should Have on Your iPad

iPad Must Have Apps – The Essential Ones

iPad must have apps, will rather depend upon what is you want to do with your iPad. It is totally dependent upon how you wish to use your iPad, or what type of user you are. Having said that, there are one or two applications that have been made for the iPad that I think every iPad user should put on to the iPad. Of course there are some iPad applications that are must haves’ on the iPad such as Mail and Safari, as they are included as standard applications by Apple. But there always will be one or two applications that should have been included on there, but have to be added as an after market addition.

The Amazing iPad

The really important iPad must have apps

Security is really important, whichever type of computer you are using, whether that be a MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad or even a Windows computer. Keeping good, safe passwords is vital and it is just about necessary to use passwords on a large number of websites. Seeing as many computer and iPad users will use their computing devices to access banking accounts and other important information online, 1Password or a similar application, has to be included in the list of iPad must have apps.

TextExpander is a dead cert to be one the list of iPad must have Apps

TextExpander touch for the iPhone Typing Shortcut Utility Saves You TimeAlthough the iPad has the predictive text facility, which will fill in the rest of a word for you as you are typing on the on-screen keyboard, it only works on a word by word basis. To this end I will suggest that Textexpander should be included in the list of iPad must have apps. Textexpander works as a stand-alone application and also it is integrated into a number of other applications. Amongst the other types of applications it works in, you will find note taking applications in the majority, but also you will find it in many other types of application, such as getting things done, to-do lists, blogging applications and various social networking type of applications. Text expander has even been included in the Attendance app which is intended for teachers to use on the iPad.

What text expander does, is to allow you to create snippets of text which could be a single word or even a whole section of boilerplate text, that you use frequently and for that snippet to be inserted when you use a particular short code. For example if you type in the word ddate with an extra letter at the beginning of it, it will insert today’s date for you. Maybe you are answering a lot of e-mails in which the answer is quite often the same, you could save yourself a whole lot of typing by having canned answers. Textexpander is an extremely useful application and is also available for use on the Mac, it can be synchronised by using Dropbox.

Other possibles for the iPad must have apps list

Other applications which would be in the list of iPad must have apps, would probably include GoodReader, Pastebot, your favourite Twitter application and possibly Skype. Even though there is a video application already on the iPad, I will also include the VLC and AirVideo as iPad must have apps. Everything else will be down to personal taste. What are your favourites to include in this list?

The Amazing iPad
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What can the iPad do? – For you the teacher.

Teachers want to Know What can an iPad do

If you are a teacher, you are undoubtedly already using a computer, and with all of the fuss and palaver about the iPad, you’re probably wondering what the iPad can do for you. How will you be able to use the iPad in your classrooms? Is it possible to integrate the use of the iPad into your classes? How can the iPad help you do your job, in terms of organisation and being effective as a teacher? For a professional teacher, these are all questions that you may wonder about, as you see technology taking a hold within the classroom for all subjects.

Unless you are a complete Luddite, and I suspect that some teachers will be, of that persuasion, then you will see some marvellous possibilities with using the iPad. Apart from being in the classroom, as a teacher you will always be in meetings, year meetings, for subject area and meetings where the full teaching staff get together. An iPad would be useful in these meetings for the taking of notes, and also for Keynote presentations, as required. What you can do is to quit using all those bits of paper that are so easy to loose and have everything on the iPad instead.

Bento
When looking at what can the iPad do, teachers have to deal with an awful lot of data about their classes of students, the iPad can be put into service, to deal with this. You have Bento for the iPad, which is a marvellous database and just right for class database information. Then perhaps you might just decide to use Numbers to record the attendance of students, or perhaps the marks achieved by students in your tests. The beauty of using something like Bento, is that you can create your own forms and organise the data that you want to enter and keep up-to-date with. On the other hand you do have applications such as Teacher Pal, Attendance, Teacher Tool, Educate and GradePad, which are set up specifically to do some of these tasks that you do in terms of organising everything.
The Amazing iPad

What can an iPad do with GradePad

Gradepad
If you decide to use the GradePad application, you can grade the performance of the student, directly from your iPad, and it is not expensive at the price of $2.99. With grade pad you can do various things such as manage your groups, create a new GradePad, look at your assessments and track performance. There are facilities within the application to be able to share the data that you have collected. Sharing of the data is useful not just for sending your data to other teachers, but also to share with other applications that you might need to use within your school.

Explain Everything for the iPad


free applications

iMage Tools

There are a number of applications available to record attendance of classes. Maybe you need to use a specific one for your school, if all of the other teachers are using the same data format and maybe application. The attendance applications vary in price and functionality, for example there is one called Attendance which costs $5.99 and it is intended to allow teachers to track records of the classes and has fancy features such as photo recognition. With the Attendance application you have an unlimited number of courses and you can also move a student from one class to another easily. There are other applications which include the ability to track attendance as part of other things that they do. I imagine that it would be very useful to have an application that does a number of things, such as keeping track of the grades, scores in tests as well as keeping an eye on the attendance record.
Teacher Tool
Among the applications for teachers that are free, you might look at the application, Educate and the Teacher Tool. I always recommend that it is a good idea to try out the free applications first, before spending out your hard earned cash, as the free ones might be all that you need. With Teacher Tool, it has a good synchronisation features with your Mac, allowing you to save an up-to-date copy as a backup of all your data, that you have entered.

What can the iPad do, application specific to subject area

There are a large number of applications that are specific to subject areas, chemistry, physics, geography and languages. So when looking at what can the iPad do, it is closely tied in with, what can the iPad applications do. For chemistry obviously, you have the periodic table of elements, there are free versions as well as versions that are better specified, in terms of functionality that cost a bit more. For biology you have applications such as biology glossary at $1.99 and the spiders study guide. There are a huge number of applications which look at space, planets and various aspects of astronomy. Among these applications you have Star Map and Sky Voyager which are more expensive at $11.99 and $14.99, to the free applications such as Go Sky Watch Planetarium: Free Solar Walk.

What can the iPad do for mathematics teachers

What can the iPad do Mathmagics
As you would expect with computers, you would have plenty of maths applications, including apps such as Algebra Solver for $.99 maths plus also for $.99 and trigonometry calculator which costs $2.99. One maths application I like is called Mathsmagic, and it teaches you how to do so mental arithmetic, really easily that will, aside from getting your brain working, will also have you amazing anybody with your brainpower. You will find that there are mathematics applications, which are suitable for the whole range of student levels. This is a super use of the iPad when looking at what can the iPad do.

iPad applications for the English teacher

There are applications available to help with the study of Shakespeare, for example, a large number of applications that are for reading books as well as applications that are tools such as dictionaries and thesaurus. As part of English classes, students will also have to do writing and there are a huge number of applications aimed towards the writer. As well as the office type applications for iPad, which can be used for this purpose, there are applications which are more suited for storytelling, such as Story Kit which is free and story pages at $2.99. For my own writing with the iPad, I like to use nebulous notes or SimpleNote along with using Scrivener on my Mac. I am looking forward to the day when there is Scrivener for iPad.
The Amazing iPad Another great app for teachers is Explain Everything. It is amazing what iPad can do to enhance the classroom strategy. An iPad for teachers of all sorts of subjects is the way that things are going in education, much better than having cheap netbooks in the classrooms. It is not surprising that loads of teachers around the world want to know what can the iPad 2 do for the learning and teaching systems. iPads for teachers is an area of growth in schools and many more will know what can the iPad do.

iPad Textbooks The Future of Educational Publishing

It is inevitable with the growth of the ebook market and the huge strides with the technology of tablet PC’s that textbooks made with dead trees in paper based books will start becoming available in ebook form instead. No longer will students in schools have to carry around with them a huge backpack full of heavy books damaging their still growing spines. Students will be able to carry all of there books in one simple thin computer and the iPad with iPad textbooks, or etextbooks for iPad, is just perfect for that. We will see a lot more of  iPads in education.

Periodic table
The Amazing iPad

Not only are the books are going to be a much lighter for students to carry in the form of Electronic text books within the iPad there will also be a benefit in that the books can go further in terms of displaying the information with audio, video and 3-D representations. It will take a big turn around in thinking by the publishing companies, but some are starting to move in this direction and producing the sort of textbooks for iPad that will enhance the learning experience. iPads in schools is the future, for sure.

Another thing to consider with the growth of the e-book for use as textbooks for iPad will be the ability of teachers to promote the new form of learning. Teachers are notoriously fuddy-duddy and do like to have a real book in their hands, so it may take some time to have the technology take over completely. Lessons will need to be organised differently so that the information is imparted into the minds of the students in a way that suits the new format and also so that students do not take advantage of things like copy and paste and the ease with which they can’t skim the media without taking in the information and learning it properly.

Inkling

Textbooks for iPad are starting to become available and the iPad educational app Inkling is a platform for these textbooks which are interactive and built especially for the iPad. Inkling turns the old paper textbooks into interactive learning experiences that are engaging for students and will still be compatible with ordinary text books for classroom purposes.

One particularly good thing with these type of text books is that you have the ability to buy just a chapter or two or if you wish you can buy the complete book. If the chapter of the book is useful then you might want to delve into the rest of the book. There is a complete my book function which will give you the the chapters of that book not yet purchased. Teachers will often use just a chapter or two of a book in a school lesson and it is a shame to have to buy the complete book and duplicate information found in other books you have. Teachers will iPads in school for lesson plans too.

Using iPad Textbooks

In the old paper-based books it was generally frowned upon for writing inside the book to make notes or add to the information, but with electronic iPad textbooks it is possible to have bookmarks and add your own notes so that you can go back to it later and remember more clearly, details about the subject you are learning. With an e-book for iPad a lot depends upon the user interface and with Inkling you do have an intuitive way to read the book and work your way through it so that it is easier to study. Also you can have interactive quizzes which will help you work out how much you have understood of the material within the book.

It is easy to jump to a specific page in iPad Textbooks, very useful for the teacher to say where the students need to start in the class for the day. Also there is a very good search engine included within the iPad textbook app which will predict the words you’re searching for as you type, so that you get to the place in the book so much more quickly.

Inkling textbooks 1

Geographic Considerations for Textbooks for iPad

iPad TextbooksWith iPad textbooks there will be pushes from certain geographic areas such as with Virginia in the United States, where they have a free application for students to assess and improve their understanding of the social studies content that they have been following in class. Students can check to see if they’ve learned enough to satisfy the Virginia standards of learning.

 

In this application students can go over the content, study flash cards and do the multiple choice questions on the content from each chapter. At the end of this study they get a score card which shows how they did with the standard tests. Students are also able to check their latest score with the scores from previous tests, so they know if they are making an improvement with the studies or getting worse.

This sort of specific testing or learning facility is highly geographically based and needs to be suited to the country and to the various areas within a country even. It is not impossible though for education authorities to be able to pay for the programming needed to make these applications to be suitable for their local students.

Medical Textbooks for the iPad

 

LeukemiaA number of medical facilities have already started to create interactive iPad textbooks on specific areas of medicine such as leukaemia, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Also within the books you will find links to external multimedia where it is not appropriate to add those illustrations within the textbook itself.

The iPad As A Learning Tool For Small Children

There are a large number of iPad textbooks in the iTunes App Store that are available for educational purposes, some of which are more to be chosen by parents of small children, so that their kids are learning while they are playing and are not so much actual text books that you would find within a school. You will find textbooks for iPad on subjects such as mathematics, the NASA space program, animals, various puzzles, photography and apps that are great for learning languages. These textbooks vary in terms of the content within and also for the level of student. The app for the periodic table is a showcase application which take something I found extremely boring in school and makes it really interesting.

 

iPad Textbooks in Schools

Certainly publishers of iPad textbooks for schools cannot afford to ignore the technology. Already a number of schools are requiring students to have an iPad to be able to participate within lessons. Some schools are providing the iPad and can lock it down so that students are not sitting playing games during lessons and are actually learning something. Text books for iPad are the future of educational publishing. There are now many schools using iPads in one form or another.
The Amazing iPad

Creating art on the iPad Using ArtStudio and a Stylus

ArtStudio  draw paint and edit photo for iPhone iPod touch and iPad on the iTunes App StoreUsing the iPad for drawing is great iPad use for both kids and also for artists, the only difference will be in the finished quality of the work. Using the iPad for drawing like this is also an educational use of the iPad also. Once the old fashioned artist types get their head around using digital media they actually start to love the creative process. It is tough to lose the tactile qualities and feedback you get from using a pencil, art pen or brushes. When you get into using the best stylus, a Boxwave Stylus instead of using your fingers and also see how good it is to be able to change the pencil to a brush so quickly and easily in an app like Art Studio iPad, you will be hooked.

In ArtStudio there is something for everyone, it offers lessons for new users and it also have the breadth of tools that lets you be extremely creative. There are layers that let you leave on part of the drawing in place while you work on another part. You could do a basic outline drawing that you can work over the top of. There is a set of icons at the bottom that you can move out of the way if you want, so you have the full screen to work on. In that row of icons there is the tool chooser, colour palette, layers, shapes, effects, the equivalent of a file menu for import, new image etc and a settings icon. When you touch any of these icon you have the thing pop up that you have chosen. Touch it again to move it out of the way.

Img2210There are so many tools to choose from to list in this article, you have to scroll down to see them all, even in portrait mode. When you are using a brush tool you will also see a couple of sliders at the top to adjust the width and the opacity. You can have two colours loaded up and hit the swap button to change from one to the other easily. There is also a pen dropper tool for choosing a tool from the canvas.

Sometimes I might not be totally happy with a line, circle or fill that I have just put on the drawing and I can use a undo button if it is not possible to use the eraser tool to change it back. There are so many tools and effects that I keep finding new ones to use. Like the custom brushes that you can easily create.
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The marks that you make are very fluid and painterly and you can of course do things like squeeze a tube of paint to have a colour that you can then move around and manipulate with the smudge and smoothing tools. I have also just found the selection tools so that I can select an area and confine the marks I make to that area. In that there is a lasso, a magic wand, rectangles and circle shapes to use for selecting. There there is a three finger tap which brings up a quick menu for brush settings, zoom and clear layer.

If you want to use ArtStudio iPad to do some photo editing that can be done too by importing from the camera roll or off the clipboard. All in all the application is an excellent canvas for artists whether you are using your finger to control it or a BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus. I like to use both and it depends on the tool being used from the tool box in the app. Drawing on the iPad will be one of the best iPad uses for styluses or styli.

 

Using Scrivener On The Mac And iPad Writing Apps

There probably will not be a Scrivener for iPad. Keith the developer has enough to do with keeping the app for the desktop the best it can be. What he has done though is, worked out ways for us to be able to do the important task of writing on the iPad, so that it will sync back to the Scrivener application. The writing and the grabbing of ideas out of the head to stuff them into the computer is what it is all about, isn’t it. We don’t need to have fancy word processing applications that are just about desktop publishers, in terms of features. We just need a space to put in the text easily and do a little bit of arranging so that we can do the real work back at base. So what are the best writing apps for iPad until there is a Scrivener iPad application for writers that want something for their specific iPad business use?

Which Are the Best Writing Apps For iPad

Here is a list of some writers applications that you can use to help with the writing process on the iPad. The app recommended by Scrivener is SimpleNote and I have to say I like it. It is simple, but does have the feature of a word count that is very handy. I also like NebulousNotes because I can write in Markdown easier and still get it into Scrivener easy by using the sync with folder technique. Syncing with folder works the best when you sync with your dropbox folder. The I mention Edito, which is more markdown orientated and MindNodePro which is a mind mapping application that will output into OPML which is your outlining format. ThinkBook also gets a mention as being a super outliner even if it is a little quirky in operation. There is Pages for writing but it is totally over the top in terms features for a writer using Scrivener. It is more for the one off beautiful page or flyer rather than novel or article writing. Which do you think is the best writing app for iPad?

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Hard to imagine that there would be so many note taking applications available for your iPad. There is more than just taking notes when you’re thinking about using a note-taking application. You can also do notes for audio, video, you have photos, bookmarks and diagrams, and you can even do illustrations. You have to consider the look and feel of how the application actually does the job with the writer organisation and tagging for example. You have some simple note taking applications that just give you the basics and input of text. Notes takers like Simplenote, Notes or PlainText just give you the basics. More or less just the writing of a title and writing the rest of it in the plainest of text.

Also you will find writers applications like Notarize or even more so NebulousNotes in which you can put a whole lot more than just text. You can have all your notes alongside your text. When you use Evernote it might be that you won’t need anything else because you can do clipping of text, include audio and pictures and you have the excellent synchronisation, so that you can have your writing everywhere you have Evernote installed.

Byword

Byword is a favourite of mine for longer pieces of writing on the iPad. What is so good is the iCloud synchronisation. I know that I will have whatever I have written ready to put into Scrivener when I get back home to the iMac.

If you are using Scrivener on your Mac or even on Windows, is good to have an application that you can synchronise with Scrivener. SimpleNote is one of those applications although if you synchronise a folder you can you use something like NebulousNnotes which has a better keyboard for writers. For writing on the iPad I’d like to have the application which supports the use of TextExpander. TextExpander will expand snippets of text for you so that you can do less typing. It does save a huge amount of time. Simple note has a couple of nice little tricks. One of them is where you click on a icon of a clock and you have access to backups of your notes. It is easy to publish one of your notes to a web page and then you can send your link to wherever you wish. What would be good is if we had a Scrivener for iPad.

With *SimpleNote you can use tags that lets you share notes with others. If you hit the ‘i’ info button, you’ll get more information about your writing, including a word count and the number of characters. That can be very useful when you’re working towards a target for a minimum number of words for example.

The Fabulous NebulousNotes

For some time now, my favourite writing application for the iPad has been NebulousNotes. it does just about all I want to do for me, when I’m writing. It is easy to use and it has access to Dropbox. I’m able to use textexpander and it also has an extra row off keys The extra row of keys allows you to have programmable of text or characters which is very good if you’re writing markdown, which I do quite often now. Nebulous also has four different themes for changing they look of the app when you are using it.

Notarize the note taker

Notarize is not so much a writers application more of and app for taking notes in meetings or lectures. You can do highlighting, use an eraser as well as use all your notes. You can share documents as PDFs. And you can export the audio through the document folder and get it into iTunes. It also allows you to write hand written notes and because of this they have a 15% discount deal with the stylus Pogo sketch which allows you to do writing better on your iPad.

Weirdo Edito

Edito for iPad is an editor that is optimised for if you want to write your text in Markdown format. it doesn’t do some of the other features that you find in other writers applications for the iPad but is a very useful application all the same. It also has the extra row of keys and this gives you access to the characters you need to write Markdown, like the star or asterix symbol, square and round brackets. Edito gives us a good way to write simple webpages. There are CSS files that show you your document formatted in a few different ways. Edito lets you export your text – either as plain text markdown text or as converted to HTML. It is still one of the useful iPad writing apps for writers.

ThinkBook is a Oddity

ThinkBook is a new application for the iPad. It does have a strange interface and it does come with other features you wouldn’t expect, such as a to-do list and questions that you can check and answer. It certainly will completely baffle you when you start to use it. I think though it is probably worth taking the time to learn exactly what ThinkBook does. It does connect with your Dropbox account, which has to be the best way to [move or copy files to iPad].

Thinkbook is very good if you want to use it as a outliner you can move things around within the outline of the notes and reorganise text really very easily. You can actually use ThinkBook as a get things done type of application as you can combine checkboxes questions, and you can also have dashboards, projects, pages and notes. ThinkBook as an outliner is a different way of working and could be just thing that you are looking for.

Non Linear Thinking And Writing

MindNodePro is a application which allows you to get your ideas out of your head and into your computer in the disorganised way that suits most brains. It is a mind mapping application which is a really good way to get your ideas formed in such a way as you can organise your writing and develop further. A very good writers tool.

While MindNode Pro is a very good tool, the one I have settled on since writing this post initially is iThoughts. I talk about this in my book The Good and Geeky Writers Workflow. At the bottom of this post you will see an invitation to subscribe to the Good and Geeky Books newsletter to get 20% discount off Scrivener. Join the party and I’ll give you the book for free too.

Pages The Word Processor From Apple

in fact Pages is much more than a word processor. Its more of a desktop publishing application, you have a number of templates that allow you to create report cards, posters, flyers and newsletters. You can easily add pictures into your documents and it does some text wrapping to flow text around those images. There is a media browser for adding your photos and videos and Pages is more of a finishing off tool than a writers tool. Depending on the type of writing that you do Pages could be just what you’re looking for if you’re requiring really good beautiful pages and if you want to have pictures and videos in there. You can copy documents to your MobileMe iDisk or to a WebdDAV service, you can also use iTunes file sharing.

Recommendations for using Writing tools on the iPad – Writing Apps For iPad

After you have got set up with Scrivener for writers on your desktop machine and you have a DropBox account. In your first projects set up one that is to sync with a DropBox folder and set up one that is set for syncing with SimpleNote and see which you like the best. Test using ThinkBook and MindNodePro for doing outlining on the iPad and getting those documents into Scrivener. You will soon have a good writers workflow using iPad writing apps that will allow your creativity to flow out of your head and into some finished works. I doubt if Scrivener for iPad as an application will be necessary.

 

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No We Dont Need Office for iPad

iPad and Microsoft Office

What is the best iPad Office app or which is the best iPad office Suite are questions that get asked too often and come from people stuck in an old way of thinking. Do you really think there will be a Microsoft Word iPad version.

One of the things that bugs me more times than I care to say is when you get someone coming into the iOS world or the Mac world comes in thinking that they still have to have the comfort blanket of Microsoft office. I know I should be more easy going about it, seeing as it comes down to ignorance that is encouraged by the guys from Redmond. They want people to think that the only way it is possible to work with text or numbers or presentations is by using the behemoth expensive lump of software that is MS Office. Even my nephew seemed to think that he would need Office when he got his iPad.
The Amazing iPad

Blind Leading the Blind

So these unfortunate souls think of it in terms of what the requirements are where they work or study. They get told that they have to hand over documents that are in Word format for example, by people that you would not call tech savvy, by any means. But when it comes right down to it, it is just text with a bit of formatting applied to make it look nice. That can also be done in so many other applications and often for free. On the Mac you have Bean a free word processor that makes files that can be read by Word users without any problem at all. If you don’t tell them which word processor you used they would not necessarily be any the wiser. You can save out in .doc format or .rftd and a number of other formats.

 

Pages for iPad1

Same deal when we are using iOS

Why are people asking about Microsoft office for iPad. I don’t know if it is likely to become available as an app for the iPad, but truly it is really not needed. For a start off you have Pages on the iPad which will let you create documents that will look great and there are also other office type applications that will do the work that you need to be done, no problem at all.

Numbers iCon

There is Numbers which is an OK spreadsheet, certainly good enough to do the spreadsheet things you will be doing on the iPad. Then we have KeyNote which is the best presentation software bar none. Smart Office

Other Office Options for the iPad

  • Documents to Go Premium Office Suite – You can edit, create and view files from Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
  • Virtual PC with Open Office Suite.
  • QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad. – Do all that you want to with any of the MS Office files.
  • Office HD – Work with DOC and DOCX, XLS and PPT.
  • NeoOffice Mobile You have to have an account with NeoOffice Mobile and you can only view, not edit the documents – But at least it is free.
  • Smart Office – Edit and view major office documents. You can view some bitmap and vector formats too.

A Better Way of Attacking the Situation

First of all start thinking a bit differently from the old iPad and Microsoft Office way of thinking. Quit hankering after the old ways of doing it and throw yourself into a new stripped down universe that doesn’t require the bloat of the MS Office. There is something beautiful with just working with text plain and simple and concentrating on the message not the medium.

 

So use text and stop worrying about fancy formatting. It is the content within the text that is important and not what it looks like. Or think about just using basic formatting and perhaps even consider the use of Markdown or Multimarkdown. With the Markdowns you can have a document that is easy to read and easy to turn into a good looking web page. You can find out more about Markdown on Daring Fireball.

I am certain it is true that many people waste a lot of time messing with formatting rather than getting on with the next piece of work. Get it out there so it can be read and consumed for readability you just need some simple headings, short paragraphs and maybe a little bit of bold or italics to say what you have to say.

Applications for working with Text on the iPad

  • NebulousNotes – My favourite right now for working with text and using markdown. There is Edito for working with Markdown also. I use this with Scrivener by syncing Dropbox folders. TextExpander works in this one too.
  • PlainText – Simple to use and it works.
  • SimpleNote A good solid text editor. Syncs with Scrivener
  • EverNote Not just for keeping the web clippings you can also create good looking docs here too.
  • ThinkBook – A bit of a weird one but I like the idea behind it, good for outlining a doc.
  • Blogsy – Much of what we do is destined for a web page and possibly a blog, here is a good tool to use for blogging. There are also apps dedicated to WordPress or Tumblr.

Spreadsheet for the professionals

I will bow down to Excel as being a whole lot better than numbers for the people that make spreadsheets do the really fancy things that they can do. For the rest of us mere mortals though Numbers is just fine, especially on the iPad.

Keynote iconPresentations

Presentations deserve to have KeyNote the Apple application. I have used presentations created on the Mac in Keynote and also some done on the iPad and they look absolutely brilliant. Much better that the tired looking presentations you get out of PowerPoint. So it is recommended to use KeyNote for the professional presentations. Will work out much better than any Microsoft Office for iPad could work out.

The Amazing iPad

I can’t recommend Scrivener on the Mac highly enough for writers of all sorts. You can write novels, articles, plays, screen plays and it is great for massaging text into whatever you need it to be. I use it every day for my writing and I would not dream of writing anything using Word. On the iPad you can sync with text files in a folder or use Simple note or Index cards app to use Scrivener on the iPad

No we don’t need MS Office on iPad or need to know which is the best iPad Office app or even where you can get free office for iPad. This is because on the iPad Office documents are easy to open and edit without the need for a Microsoft office app for iPad 2. All you have to do is to load up the Office documents on iPad by whatever means. DropBox is a good way and you can also do it with Good Reader. In fact the Apple Office iPad app Pages will let your work with MS Office documents.

Open Office For iPad

There are other options for office documents on iPad rather than Microsoft Office for iPad, such as Quick Office for iPad and Open Office for iPad. But as far as I am concerned the important thing is the meat and potatoes of the document – The Text – The Numbers – The Pictures – The Content of the Slide shows. The format it is in these days is more or less irrelevant. Stop worrying about the format of the file and just grab the content to work with it. So who needs an iPad Microsoft Office app?

Numbers is a pretty amazing app.

Numbers

The BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus

Boxwave iPad Stylus Review

Whatever Steve has against the use of a stylus with the iPad and the fact that having one is fraught with the possibility of losing it pretty quickly, there are times when a BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus will be just the thing you need to get the best out of a particular application. Mainly I would be talking about the drawing applications when having a pointy stylus is most certainly going to give better results than using the finger.

Some artists may relish the thought of using ArtStudio or one of the other drawing and painting applications to create the art work with the fingers. The notion of going back to the childhood innocence of drawing with the fingers. It kind of depends on the sort of art you like to create. Some drawings will need something more accurate and that will be the Boxwave capacitive iPad stylus. I have heard that it is more durable that the pogo sketch styli.

You can get the BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus in Jet Black, Metallic Silver, Crimson Red, or Lunar Blue colours and it is pen like in style, so it is easy to hold and work with. Another reason why a boxwave capacitive iPad stylus is such a good idea is when the day is one of those freezing cold day and taking off the gloves is not going to be a great idea. Then of course let’s not forget the ladies who like to have long finger nails, using a stylus will work better there also.

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Possibly the Boxwave capacitive iPad stylus could do with a cover for the tip so that the foam will survive being in a carrier of some sort. It does come with a bit of string on the end of the pen shaped device and you can use that to attach it to the iPad so that you don’t lose it. I would recommend that myself as it will be swinging all over the place and probably will lead to scratches of your screen. Much better to keep the Boxwave Apple iPad capacitive stylus in a case. In some iPad cases there are places that are designed to hold a Boxwave Stylus or a stylus from another manufacturer.

Whatever the size of your hands you should find no problem with using the BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus as it is a good size to suit a vide variety of people. It will work well when you have a protective covering on your iPad to save your screen from scratches. You can use with applications like Penultimate and Noterize for note taking as well as with apps like PS Express and Idea Sketch. The price is OK and well worth a look – Box Wave or the Targus stylus is worth a look, then go and do some drawing.

So is this the best stylus for iPad? Are you going to be an iPad 2 stylus user? Looks like there will be some users of the iPad that will be hunting for stylus pens do to that stylus iPad thing.

A day out with the iPad – Using Edito the Markdown Editor

Today I was a tourist professional, well that was my nominated title anyway. My wife is a teacher of teenagers in a vocational school. They learn how to be tour guides, tour operators, hotel receptionists and any other work in that line. Today was a trip with the youngsters to Roses in Catalonia and they had to give us tourist professionals a guided tour. So that we could recommend it to the businesses we were supposed to be representing. So that was the whole day and not much time to write my daily blog post for the #blog2011 blogathon.

So did I take the iPad with me? Of Course I Did !

Did I have time to do anything with it ? Not flaming’ likely. Well not much anyway. I was able to get the ipad out while the group were looking around a bird sanctuary, that I had been to before quite recently. I found a text that I had written for an article in TextMate using Markdown and then had converted to html text. I got that inDropbox. Strangely it didn’t have a Open In button so that I could read it without having to look at the code in amongst the text. I also tried opening in a couple of iPad text editors and again it had the code in there.

Then I remembered Edito a specialist text editor. This one allows you to write markdown and then had a button to tap that shows what it looks like with the formation applied. Seeing as it also deals with html code seeing as it is perfectly possible that you might put html code in the same document. Hey Presto ! I was able to see what I wanted to pretty clearly. There is a limit to the number of ways you can see the text depending on the style sheets that are available in the app. It was good enough though and I was able to read it while filming myself for a podcast. Looks like the iPad is good enough for business use. Due to some top iPad business apps.

I will add the movie to YouTube as soon as I have edited it and post it here as well.

Have you created any videos for Youtube lately?

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