Saturday, January 28, 2012

iPad X Macbeth

I visited the classroom of an English teacher in my building the other day (@katrinakennett) and saw an interesting integration of an iPad in class.  While some schools may already be 1:1 or have class sets / carts of iPads, this classroom is operating with one teacher iPad, a situation that many teachers find themselves in.

This class is reading Macbeth, no easy task for high school students.  Where the iPad comes into play is during in-class reading.  Where traditionally a class may take turns reading through the paper text and have discussion to clarify, explain and expand on the text, the iPad allows the students & teacher to make notations within the text that the entire class can see when the iPad is projected.

iPad projected with Good Notes
& Macbeth
To create this setup in your classroom, the following are needed:
- iPad
- iPad to VGA / HDMI adaptor (to connect to the projector)
- GoodNotes iPad app (allows for notations)
- PDF version of the class reading

The students and teacher are reading from the same PDF version of Macbeth.  On the iPad, open the PDF version within the GoodNotes application, project the iPad and begin creating notations.

What is especially helpful about creating notations on the iPad (with or without a stylus) is that all types of notations can be created.
- Highlight text
- Write within the document
- Create drawings / images within the document

iPad with Good Notes
and Macbeth
As the class is reading through Macbeth, the teacher or students can use the iPad to create any of the above mentioned notations.  The true benefit of this setup lies in the ability of every student in the class to see the notations as they are being created.  In this way, the teacher can effectively model how they go through the process of actively reading a text.  Students can see what types of ideas are highlighted, underlined, circles, drawn on and connected.

iPad projection and
student notes
My suggestion would be to scaffold this process, whereas the teacher spends a day or two modeling effective active reading and notations.  Once students are aware of the classroom expectations, specific notations symbols, and are comfortable with the process, the students can take over the iPad and be responsible for displaying their active reading process.

Note: A few people have asked how to open a PDF document in GoodNotes on the iPad.
- Open the PDF document on the iPad (via email or link)
- Tap the document
- Tap on "Open in" in the top right hand corner
- Select the app you would like to use to view the PDF document

This is what the final document looks like after creating notations on the iPad using GoodNotes:


  1. Great idea Greg. A question - I have downloaded the goodnotes app, but cannot work out how to import a pdf.

  2. Mrs. Peel,

    The iPad works in a reverse process as compared to a computer. Whereas on a computer you would open the program first and then open the file within the program, the opposite is true on the iPad. Open the PDF document first on your iPad (either via email, a link to a PDF document), then in the top right hand corner you should see a small box that says "open in". Click on that box and you will be able to choose from any application on your iPad that has the ability to open PDF document, GoodNotes should appear as a choice. The PDF will then open in GoodNotes. I hope this helps.


  3. This can also be done using iannotate on the ipad or Smart Notebook software on the computer hooked to the smart board. Notes can also then be emailed or posted for students to review. Thanks for sharing this. I've used this method with my grade 8 students and it has been very successful.