Monday, January 16, 2012

I plan to use the iPad to support my Interpersonal Media course.  It is an introductory course in our department that is organized around the question:  Do basic interpersonal communication processes change when we do them through electronically mediated channels instead of face-to-face?  Our classrooms are one place where interpersonal communication takes place, so by experimenting with different media for classroom communication, students experience first-hand some of the issues we study in class.

An iPad will give me more personal experience of integrating digital tools into my own everyday life.  I suspect I'll become more familiar with social media if I have the iPad with me as I go through my day. I also hope it will make it easier to utilize digital tools in class, including Skyping in experts, annotating PDFs, and doing more lurking and commenting in the Moodle forums I ask students to use.  I am replacing reading response papers with student blogs (and I'll be keeping my own blog related to the class) so instead of carrying around a stack of response papers to grade when I have a spare moment, I'll access their responses on the iPad.  The convenience and portability of the iPad will make it easier for me to do all of this--up to now, finding the time has been a barrier to a lot of ideas I've had for using technology in the classroom.

Today, I started looking into annotating PDFs.  I assign some original scholarly articles in the class and I'm curious if I can improve student comprehension and discussion by inserting into the PDFs sticky notes with questions or comments (e.g., asking them to stop and reflect on a question, think of an example, play devil's advocate, or notice a connection to another reading or idea).  I'd also like to highlight some key passages they will be expected to discuss or that might appear on an in-class quiz.  So I'm investigating how to annotate PDFs and then save them in a format that students can read using plain old Adobe Reader.  I have been reading some online reviews and comparisons of GoodReader, PDF Expert, and iAnnotate.  So far, it sounds to me like PDF Expert is the most versatile and flexible. A big issue is that the files I annotate must be readable by students who are likely to use the free version of Adobe Reader.  One of the blog comments I read today suggested PDF Expert will let me export an annotated PDF in a "flattened" format so that other versions of Adobe can read it. 

I plan to purchase PDF Expert with the iTune cards we were given.  I'll post a review as soon as I have a chance to experiment with it!


1 comment:

  1. I've now tried PDF expert and Goodreaderand Goodreaderand is the easier to use of the two. It does also appear to create a file that can be read by free Adobe with the pop up notes and highlighting retained. Now I'm encountering some difficulty in posting to Moodle in such a way that students can open up the file inAdobe rather than in a Moodle screen that strips out the annotations.


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