I mentioned neu.Annotate+ ($1.99) briefly in my post about Dropbox, but I wanted to give it a little more attention all by itself. It is one of the most frequently used apps in my fifth grade classroom and probably throughout our entire middle school.
Our school uses eChalk for our teachers' class pages, email accounts, and school website. One of the features of eChalk (and I'm sure many other school websites) is that teachers can upload documents to their personal page and parents or students can then access the documents from a web browser. Even if your school's website does not have this feature, you can offer the same option by just providing links to the documents in your Dropbox folder.
Anyway, what we have done at our school is create an automatic link to this list of class pages on every child's iPad. This means they can click it on their homescreen, navigate to their class, see the list of documents, and then (if they are PDF's) directly load the document into an app such as neu.Annotate+.
Students can then mark up worksheets with different colored inks, highlight text, insert pictures, type in text, and a bunch of other features. They can keep the various worksheets organized by tagging them for particular classes or units,
Here are some of the ways I've used the app in my classroom:
- Give students PDF scans of Everyday Edit paragraphs filled with grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. They read the paragraph in neu.Annotate and then mark the errors.
- Give the students worksheets in literally every possible subject. They can zoom in really close and write answers with their fingers or stylus or they can use the text type feature to write in their answers. This method sure saves me a lot of paper and time in the copy room…
- I personally load copies of old tests and quizzes, mirror my screen through the projector, and then go through the answers with the kids. I can mark my answers either in the app or on the marker board that the image is being projected onto.
- PDF copies of websites, articles, essays, or other material that I don't want to print 25+ copies of. Students can read the material on their iPad and even highlight and leave notes to themselves.
Some benefits and features of the app:
- Load documents from the Dropbox app directly into neu.Annotate (yes, this is a standard iOS feature, but it is worth mentioning).
- Save copies of the annotated documents directly to your Dropbox.
- Give students the ability to download extra copies of worksheets without having to beg you to print or run off copies every time they need a new sheet.
- Works with any AirPrint setup your school might have, so kids can print their own physical copies of worksheets if they don't like writing on the iPad screen.
- Students seem to lose a lot fewer worksheets this way…
- Saves on paper and ink and time.
- Under Settings, you can scroll down to neu.Annotate+ and set it to back up to iCloud in case anything happens to your iPad (which is inevitable with 350+ iPads in the school):
There are certainly tons of other annotation apps on the iPad and I'm sure that many of them have more robust feature sets than neu.Annotate+. In fact, I'll probably cover some of them in later posts. But when it comes to a cheap, straightforward, easy to use, and convenient annotation app, you can't go wrong with this one.