Using the iPad to give feedback on students’ writing

Using the right set of apps the iPad can be a powerful device to get work done – despite all of its obvious limitations. ExplainEverything is my app of choice to give students feedback on their writing. Basically, it creates screen capture videos featuring the student’s text, my voice and a highlighting tool I can control with my fingertip. The principle is quite similar to what Russel Stannard of Teachertrainingvideos.com is demonstrating here for the PC (unfortunately, the programmes he uses don’t work on a mobile device such as the iPad).

So, when a student sends me his text via email, I use Adobe’s CreatePDF to convert the student’s document into a PDF file (it pretty much works with all standard document formats). Then, I open the PDF in ExplainEverything where I can record a screen capure video of my comments on the text. When I am done I upload the finished video to the public folder of my free Dropbox account and send the student the URL link of the video via email. He or she can watch the video in their browser or download it to their computer. Watching the videos also works on mobile devices.

The three apps CreatePDF, ExplainEverything and Dropbox work seamlessly with each other and being able to create these feedback videos on a mobile device facillitates their integration into my daily workflow.

NB: I hope the links to the app store work for everybody as they lead to the German store, which is the only one I can access from Germany. So, I hope Apple will redirect you to your local store. If it doesn’t work for you, you will have to use the search engine of your choice.
I should also point out that CreatePDF and ExplainEverything are both apps you’ll have to pay an appropriate amount of money for.

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