Sunday, November 4, 2012

Teacher Record Keeping, Part 1

In my 8 weeks with my iPad I'm finding it an indispensable tool for my personal and classroom life. Really, its kinda like this magical little multi-purpose batman-style utility belt, but cooler. When the iPad first came out a couple years ago, I just didn't see the point. Tablet? Touch-screen? so it's kinda like a big iPod touch that you can't put in your pocket, but you can watch movies (that you buy from Apple) on it? Whatever.

Now I'm discovering it's far more than a toy. To tell the truth, I have yet to play a single game on my iPad, or watch a single movie beyond short YouTube clips for my class. Side note: today I was poking around the Reading and Writing Project list of social studies text sets, and noticed in the Ancient Rome category they had a short clip from Gladiator - one of my favorite movies (Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe/Historical Fiction). I watched it. Wouldn't show it to 6th graders, probably, but effective. YouTube is very handy in small doses.

I've found several good record keeping applications for the iPad. One, of course, is the ability to simply use the iPad for taking notes and organizing them. Evernote has been a great app for taking notes in staff meetings, data team meetings, right in the classroom, at conferences, etc. It's super easy to use, to organize, and to find what I've written. It's a "must-have" for me now.

Another super-useful record keeping app has been Good Reader. I've talked this up with a lot of people. I didn't realize I needed a PDF reader app until I started using it. Good Reader is powerful - it organizes your PDF files, and allows you to annotate them. It opens files in an eBook format, allowing for finger scrolling and easy-on-the-eyes reading. I open a lot of PDF's, save a lot of articles I read as PDF's and Good Reader makes that task much easier.

A final record keeping app I've been using a lot is the Pocket app. Pocket is a deceptively simple but super-handy tool. If you're like me, you're constantly finding online articles you want to read "later." With Pocket, you simply "clip" the article, which is saved in the app on your iPad, so you can read it at your convenience, even if you don't have a wireless hookup. A great feature is that Pocket cleans up all that extraneous clutter online articles frequently have, but keeps the illustrations that are part of the article, making for a very clean reading experience. With Pocket, it's possible to create a "save to pocket" bookmark, but it takes a little work. Follow the steps they give and you'll have a very handy article clipper for your iPad.

I just saw that they have released a Mac version of Pocket since I originally downloaded it, so it may be easier to set up now - I haven't tried it yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment