How to Create Your Own Free iPad Templates for Keynote

The recent update to Keynote, brought the ability to import presentations complete with master slides and preset styles. So, this got me thinking. How could I take advantage of this new feature? Well, here is a simple, but straightforward way to do just that and create some free iPad templates for Keynote to supplement the 12 themes that Apple gives you as a default on the iOS version. If you already have the desktop versions of Keynote, or PowerPoint, this method will cost you nothing at all!

Start by opening Keynote, or PowerPoint, on your Mac/PC and choose a template for your presentation. It does not need to be any longer than one slide. Next, you need to add that presentation to your iPad. (Mountain Lion users can save it to iCloud, but you can also email it to your iPad or save it to Dropbox and Open in… Keynote).

Repeat for as many templates as you would like to bring over to the iPad, and organize them by creating a folder for these new templates, like in the image below. You can group presentations together on the iPad version of Keynote simply by dragging one on top of another to create a new folder. I went a step further and renamed each presentation to the name of the original template, but this is optional.

Free Keynote Templates for the iPad

Now, these aren’t new templates in the strictest sense of the word, because once you start editing one of these, it will automatically save your new content, so here is what you need to do. DUPLICATE the file before you start working on it and work on a copy of the original template you brought over. You do this by tapping Edit in the top right hand corner, tapping the presentation you want to duplicate, and then tapping the duplicate button, (see below).

Duplicate Templates in Keynote

Rename your newly duplicated presentation by tapping the name under the thumbnail and then open it when you are done. Before the latest Keynote update, the user would go to add a page to a PowerPoint file, and be greeted with eight blank slide layouts that rarely matched the theme. However, when you go to add a new slide to your presentation now, all the original master slide layouts are an available, (see below).

Adding new slides in Keynote iPad

Simply repeat ad nauseum, and when you get tired of the presentation templates you have, go find some more! The new Keynote for iOS is great at bringing over those master slide layouts, although I have noticed it works a lot better with Keynote than it does with PowerPoint. It will still give you some nice new slide layouts for PowerPoint, but not nearly as many as you get with an imported Keynote file.

Are there apps available in the App Store that do very much the same thing? Yes, but none for free, and the one I have opens a default presentation with over 40 slides. I need to delete the ones I don’t want, and duplicate the ones I do. This takes away some of that hassle and gives you a bunch of free iPad templates for Keynote that you didn’t have before! 🙂

An iPad Workflow for the Classroom Using Google Drive & Pages, Keynote or Numbers

DriveThe Google Drive iPad app is not yet all that we might want it to be, but it is definitely moving in the right direction. A recent update included the ability to create and edit spreadsheets, but it also added something equally useful – the ability to upload files from other apps to Google Drive via the “Open in” function. This creates some useful workflow options for teachers who want to assign, receive and grade student work on the iPad.

Here’s how it could work.

1. Using the Drive app, the student creates a folder for assignments and shares it with the teacher (some kind of default naming strategy would be good here: see The Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app).

2. The teacher takes all the student folders that are shared with them, and puts them in one class folder (e.g. Math 1st hour) to help stay organized.

3. The student completes the assignment in Pages, Keynote or Numbers and goes to Share and Print > Open in Another App > PDF, and then choose the Google Drive app.

4. The Drive app opens and the student puts the completed assignment in the folder that they shared with the teacher in step 1.

5. When the assignment is due, the teacher uses the Drive app to find  their class folder, and then the student folder to find the assignment they want to grade. They open the assignment, and then open it in Notability.

6. In Notability the teacher makes annotations and grades the assignment, then sends it back to Google Drive, and puts it in the student’s folder complete with annotations, comments and so forth.

7. The student accesses the shared folder to see their grade.

Easy, right? 🙂 It’s really not as complex as it might sound. The teacher could even go one step further and have an Assignments folder in Google Drive that they share with their students. They could upload digital copies of the assignments to this folder, and make it read only (so students cannot add to or delete). Then they could just tell the students that the latest assignment was in the folder.

How could teacher quickly collect all the Google accounts of the students in their class? Make a Google form with “Name” and “Google Account email address”, and get students to fill it in on the first day of class. The results all go to a spreadsheet, so the teacher can copy and paste the email addresses into the folder permissions on Google, and/or create a contact group for that class. Better still, use the gClass Folders script on a desktop machine to create all the folders for you!

For more info on a Google Drive iPad Workflow, see The Paperless iPad Classroom with the Google Drive app which goes into the concept in more detail and offers more options.

The New Google+ Snapseed App for iOS and Android

When Google bought Snapseed back in September, many feared for its future. This was, after all, one of the best photo editing apps on the App Store. It won countless awards for its simplicity and powerful editing features. Would Google butcher it, strip it for parts, and just integrate it into Google+? Apparently not.

Today, Google relaunched the app with a few minor updates, and one major update – it is now free! This is great news for educators and those that use iOS devices in the classroom, because we finally have a full featured photo editor for our favorite price of free. Yes, there is Adobe’s Photoshop Express (free with in-app purchases) and a few others, but there are really no free apps that come close to the quality of the new Snapseed.

Snapseed

Snapseed allows you to edit JPEG, TIFF or RAW images. You can use pictures already on the device, or import images from the camera connector kit. There is a maximum image size of up to 20.25Mb on new iOS devices before resampling. All your basic adjustments like cropping, straightening, brightness and saturation adjustments are included, but so are a host of other interesting options like image filters, tilt and shift, center focus, and frames. It even has a selective adjustment tool that lets you change the brightness, contrast and saturation in just one part of your image.

Using Frames in Snapseed

I have both iPhoto and Snapseed, but I have to admit that I intuitively go to Snapseed by default. I like iPhoto, and maybe prefer it for some things, but Snapseed is a really great app, and to have it for free now, is something that will be great for schools. You can find a full list of features and support here, or download the app in the App Store and/or Google Play Store.

New iOS Updates for Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Zite, Gmail & YouTube!

PagesThere were some fairly major updates to some popular iOS apps today, so I thought I would take a few minutes to give you the lowdown on what’s new for Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Zite, YouTube and Gmail, if you have not already updated them to the latest versions.

The iWork updates include some nice tweaks and greater compatibility. For instance, tracking changes will no doubt be useful for a lot of students and teachers using Pages to edit documents,especially when working between devices. Keynote has a couple of new transitions and the ability to preserve the master slides and preset styles during import and export. Numbers now allows you to hide and unhide rows/columns and work with filters.

Gmail, however, has arguably seen the biggest update. The much maligned official Google email app may well have finally benefitted from Google’s earlier acquisition of the Sparrow Mail app for Mac. It has a completely new interface, the ability to switch between up to 5 Gmail accounts, a much better search capability, and the ability to reply to calendar invites from within the email you are reading. Gmail 2.0 is a HUGE improvement, and so far I really like it. Google’s other big news today was an update for their YouTube app, which now has iPad support.

Zite is not just one of my favorite PLN apps for the iPad, it is one of my favorite apps in any category. Today it got a big update to Zite 2.0. A new logo, a new user interface, and an expansion to 40,000 categories you can subscribe to – up from 2,500. iPad users can use gestures to rate their favorite stories, and even find related topics suggested at the bottom of an article. An update for Zite has been a long time coming, but this looks like it has been worth the wait.

Full details on all the updates, as well as links to the apps concerned, are listed below:

1. Pages

In this release Pages for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft Word and Pages for Mac.

• Use Change Tracking to track changes to body text in a document
• Accept and reject individual changes as you review a document
• Import Pages and Microsoft Word documents with change tracking and continue to track changes to body text
• Preserve tracked changes in documents exported in Microsoft Word or Pages format
• Preserve calculations in tables when importing from and exporting to Pages for Mac
• Add reflections to shapes
• Lock and unlock objects

2. Keynote

In this release Keynote for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote for Mac.

• Import and export all Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote for Mac slide sizes
• Import and export presentation themes, complete with master slides and preset styles
• Play back all Keynote action builds including Move, Rotate, Scale, and Opacity
• Add new slide transitions including Shimmer and Sparkle
• Preserve calculations in tables when importing from and exporting to Keynote for Mac
• Add reflections to shapes
• New print layouts include options to print with presenter notes, with builds, and without backgrounds
• Lock and unlock objects

3. Numbers

In this release Numbers for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel and Numbers for Mac.

• Hide and unhide rows and columns
• Import & export Numbers for Mac spreadsheets with filters, & turn filters on and off
• Preserve rich text in tables when importing and exporting
• Add reflections to shapes
• Lock and unlock objects

4. Gmail

– Multiple account support
– App redesigned with a new, cleaner look
– Search predictions as you type
– Infinite scrolling inbox
– Respond to Google Calendar invites inline
– Interactive Google+ posts support
– New welcome experience

5. YouTube

* Optimized for iPad and iPhone 5
* Stream videos with AirPlay
* Tap logo to open your Guide of channels
* Add and remove videos from your playlists
* Clickable links in video descriptions
* Improved accessibility with VoiceOver

6. Zite

Welcome to Zite 2.0. We’ve completely reimagined Zite to be faster, smarter and more beautiful:

· New Explore page helps you find interesting topics
· Jump to topics from anywhere in Zite to find great related content
· Expanded “Your Top Stories,” including Headline News, Featured Topics and Popular Stories in Zite
· Rate stories by simply swiping them up or down (iPad only)
· Link Facebook to get automatic topic suggestions and improve your personalization
· Expansion from 2,500 to over 40,000 categories to explore

Tried and Tested iPad Cases for Schools

Looking for an iPad case that you can rely on? The choices can be overwhelming, but some are clearly more suitable than others. I’ve seen a lot in the work I do with integrating iPads, so here are a few that will stand the rigors of almost any classroom. They are in no particular order, and I am not being compensated for any of these reviews.

1. Gumdrop Droptech Series – It’s rugged, durable, and built to withstand a lot of punishment. It has two layers of protection – a polycarbonate frame that is enveloped by a tough rubber exterior. The screen protector is optional, and can be removed if needed, but many will want to keep it on. The rear of the case is textured, and easy to grip and the whole case fits well with cutouts for the camera, ports and and switches perfectly placed. The Gumdrop Droptech also fits nicely in an Bretford iPad cart, and there are versions for the iPad 2, iPad 3/4, and the iPad Mini.

The Gumdrop Droptech Series
The Gumdrop Droptech Series

2. Trident Kraken A.M.S – The Kraken has a hardened plastic shell with shock absorbing silicone in all the right places – namely the corners. The achilles heel of the iPad’s durability is undoubtedly a drop on one of its corners, so the protection this case offers is much needed. Like the Droptech, it also has a built-in screen protector, and all the ports and switches are protected too. It is comfortable to hold, and will also fit nicely in an iPad cart. Best of all, Trident have a very agressive discount policy for educational institutions, so make sure you ask about this before you buy.

Trident Kraken A.M.S
Trident Kraken A.M.S

3. Griffin Survivor – Griffin boast that this case is military tested, so you can be sure that this one is built to last. Its protection levels are second to none, with 6ft drop tests showing no damage to the device. It has a water resistant screen protector, sealed ports and rubber cladding all around the device to protect against even the most careless students. It even has a clip on stand that can be used to prop the iPad up for a more confortable typing position or for viewing videos. However, it is not perfect. Even without the clip on stand, it is a very snug fit in the Bretford iPad cart. It fits…but only just! Also, the flap that covers the camera borders on inconvenient because you have to hold it out of shot when taking pictures or videos. Many schools decide to just remove this and the power cover.

Griffin Survivor
Griffin Survivor

4. Otterbox Defender – Otterbox is a well known name among iPad cases, and one that is synonymous with protection. They are not cheap, but they are well made, and designed to offer maximum levels of protection for your device. The Defender has multiple levels of protection, a built-in screen protector, and an additional front cover that doubles as a stand for the iPad in landscape or portrait orientation. However, the Defender will not fit in an iPad cart with this additional front cover, so that would have to be stored separately in a cart environment.

Otterbox Defender
Otterbox Defender

5. M-Edge SuperShell – Weighing just 9 ounces, the SuperShell is a great choice for an elementary or special education classroom that shares a few iPads and doesn’t have a cart, (the SuperShell is too wide to fit in a standard iPad cart). The soft foam the encases your iPad offers great protection in the event it is dropped, and although it has no built-in screen protector, the raised edges endure that the screen never touches a surface if it is placed upside down. The volume buttons may be a little hard to press for younger students, but the cutouts for the camera is great, and the power port is also easily accessible.

M-Edge SuperShell
M-Edge SuperShell

6. Big Grips Frame – Last, but not least, in this lineup is the Big Grips Frame. Again, it will not fit in an iPad cart, but the protection it gives is hard to beat. The foam fits snugly around the device and protects it on all sides. The foam is resistant to oils, chemicals, stains, molds…and germs! It is lead and latex free, easy to grip, and can be bought with the optional Big Grips Stand. Tempted? Make sure you ask about the educational discount. Details of that are available on the Big Grips website.

Big Grips Frame and Stand
Big Grips Frame and Stand

So, what is your favorite iPad case for schools? Which one do you use in your classroom and why? Leave a comment below to share your comments on these iPad cases or any others that you would recommend for educators.

The Best Screencasting Apps for the iPad

Explain EverythingScreencasting apps are among my favorite types of apps for the iPad because they are just so versatile. They can be used across grade levels and across the curriculum. Their uses are really only limited by the imagination of the teacher or the student. My lastest collection of iPad apps, includes some of the best screencasting apps available for the iPad today.

Each app has their own unique selling point. Educreations, for instance, lets teachers create an online classroom to host their video tutorials. ShowMe lets teachers create and manage accounts for students without the need for email. ScreenChomp allows you to link your Dropbox account so you can import PDFs and annotate them live annotations.

However, by far my favorite of all the apps is ExplainEverything. Unlike the three I just mentioned, it is a paid app, but you get so much for your money that it is a compelling choice for all schools using iPads. You can record your video over multiple pages, re-record audio as you please, use the page sorter to rearrange or see your pages at a glance. You can have almost any pen color you can imagine, a choice of 5 pen widths, control over pen transparency and choice of two pen tips. The app has a built-in laser pointer, shape tool and text tool with more fonts that you could ever need. You can even insert a web browser and record a live website as part of your screencast.

Want to record yourself annotating a document? No problem. ExplainEverything supports Photos, PDF, PPT, XLS, RTF, Pages, Numbers and Keynote files. Your slides can be exported as an image or as a PDF to a variety of apps, email or PDF.  Video files can be sent to your Photo Roll for further editing in iMovie, YouTube, E-mail, Dropbox, Evernote, Box or WebDav accounts. You can also choose the resolution or quality of the finished movie.

So, to see ExplainEverything and the rest of my picks for screencasting apps for the iPad, head over to the iPad Apps section of this website and check out my growing collection of educational apps. Feel free to leave a comment with how you are using any of these apps, or to suggest any others that are not part of this collection.

The Awesome Read&Write Chrome Extension

The Read&Write Chrome browser extension from texthelp.com is a great accessibility extension for Google Apps schools. It includes text to speech, a talking dictionary, a picture dictionary, vocabulary tool and study skills tools that collect highlighted selections of a Google Doc. Best of all, it is free! You can get the extension here. HT to the awesome @mmcowell.

The text to speech functionality is particularly impressive, and is reminiscent of the Speak Selection or VoiceOver features found on the iPad. It has a choice of voices, and is a great feature for students who need text read aloud to them, or who would benefit from hearing their typed work read back to them for proof reading purposes. The speech to text also works on dictionary definitions of selected words.

The Picture Dictionary will pop up when you highlight a word and activate the Picture Dictionary button. Even if a student has read the dictionary definition, or had it read aloud to them, the pictures can be great for helping put things in context and give some visual clues to the meaning of a word. You can even use the images from the Picture Dictionary in your Google Doc by simply copying and pasting the image.

Study guides can be quickly and easily created with the vocabulary tool. Simply highlight a number of key words in a document, click on the vocabulary tool, and a new tab will open with a vocabulary table that includes the word, a definition of the word, and a number of associated clipart images. It works best, or causes the least confusion, with words that only have one meaning, but it is still a great feature to have.

So, if you are a Chrome user, and you have not yet taken Read&Write for a test drive, you absolutely should. It sits, unobtrusively, in your menu bar and only leaps into action when you want it to. The video below goes over its capabilities in more detail. Feel free to leave a comment on how you could use this tool to help benefit the students in your classroom.

More Digital Storytelling iPad Apps

digital storytelling apps for the ipad

I have recently added a new section to this site that is dedicated to iPad apps. I know that there are countless lists of apps out there, and more created every day, so these apps will be my own contribution to all that is good for teachers in a K-12 iPad classroom. They are some of my favorite apps, and the ones that I think give you the best bang for your buck.

Are the apps organized in the best possible way? Probably not, but I struggled with a way to this for a while. I have seen lots of good, (and bad), ways to organize apps. Spreadsheets, databases, lists, tables, standards, learning goals, and more. In the end, I opted for what made sense to me. The apps are organized in much the same way I organize apps on my iPad.

Could some apps appear in more than one category? Absolutely. In fact, the really good ones do. Teachers often ask me about a good app for Science or Math, and while there are some great apps dedicated to Science or Math, the apps I end up showing them are ones like Nearpod, Explain Everything or InfuseLearning.com, because these are apps that can be used in Science, Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and just about everything else!

So, the first group of apps I chose for this new section of the site are digital storytelling apps. I shared a presentation I gave on this topic at ITEC 2012 this year. There were many more apps that I wanted to include, but just didn’t have time for in that one hour session, so I added them all to a new page of digital storytelling apps, and I will update it with new additions whenever I come across new apps that are worthy of inclusion.

Future collections will include screencasting apps, note taking apps, assessment apps, PLN apps, and more. Stay tuned for further updates and feel free to add any app suggestions of your own as I look to build up this resource for others.

Evernote Updates Terms and Conditions for Using Evernote in Schools

Evernote announced today that they are updating their terms and conditions. The new changes will take place on December 4th, 2012, and there are some concessions made to educators among the new terms.

We’re thrilled with the number of educators and administrators around the world who have shown interest in using Evernote in their schools, so we have modified our contracts with respect to use by underage individuals who might not be old enough to enter into a contract on their own, including specific guidance for schools in the US where we want to ensure that the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are satisfied.

So, what is new for educators? Well you can read the new terms and conditions in full here, but the important part for educators is quoted below:

Can Kids Use Evernote?

Of course, but Evernote is not currently directed to children and we expect that use by children will only be done with the guidance, supervision and consent of their parents, guardians and/or authorized school officials. Further, we rely on parents and guardians to ensure minors only use the Service if they can understand their rights and responsibilities as stated in these Terms and our Privacy Policy.

In the United States, if you are the sponsor of a Sponsored Group (the “Sponsor”), including an Evernote for Schools group, that includes children under the age of 13, you (or your school) assumes the responsibility for complying with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and, to the extent applicable, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). This means that the Sponsor must notify parents/guardians of the information to be collected and obtain parental/guardian consent before collecting and sharing with the Service the personal information of children under the age of 13 in order to establish an account or use the Service. Schools may under appropriate circumstances provide such consent on behalf of parents/guardians. For more information on complying with COPPA, see the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov/COPPA.

If you are outside of the United States, please ensure that you are complying with any laws applicable to you before submitting any child’s personal information or permitting any child to submit personal information to us. If a school outside the United States wants to enable its students to use Evernote for Schools, Evernote will work with such schools on case by case basis to ensure compliance with any applicable laws regarding the collection of information from minors.

I’m not a lawyer, so I am not going to make any further interpretation of the terms as they stand, but I think it is a positive move to attempt to address the use of Evernote in schools, and any possible confusion or misinterpretations of the previous terms and conditions that were not specifically aimed at the use of Evernote in schools.

I am sure that there are already teachers out there that are already using Evernote with students under 13 because they have had parents set up the accounts in their names for students to use, or parents have signed off on generic school created accounts, but with these new guidelines, educators have a clearer vision of what is and is not acceptable in order to comply with legal requirements and Evernote’s  own terms and conditions.

So, what do you think about the new guidelines for using Evernote in Schools with those under 13? Does your school use Evernote with students who are under 13? How do you get around the legal implications of such a move, and would you be willing to share any of the documentation you send out to parents about this? Please share any feedback below.

iPad Tips for Teachers Using iBooks for Education

I’ve been spending a lot of time in iBooks recently, and have showed teachers a whole slew of features that are new, or not as well known, in Apple’s default e-reader. So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorites tips for teachers using iBooks in education.

1. Find Free Books

There are probably more free book titles in the iBooks Store than you might think, and they can be a great way to add to your classroom library without taking up any more valuable shelf space! Want to know a quick way to find them? Once you are in the iBooks Store, tap Top Charts, then tap Categories in the top left hand corner and select Children and Teens from the dropdown menu. Apple will then display a list of the most popular paid books on the left of your screen, and a list of the most popular free books on the right hand side of the screen. Try it with other categories like Reference, History, Science and Nature, and even Textbooks! Wait, free textbooks? Yes! There are a number of free academic textbooks available from the iBooks Store, including the highly regarded CK12 series.

2. Find Free Read Alouds

A number of titles in the iBooks Store come with a built-in read aloud feature that will read the text to students, and highlight words as it does so. This can be great for the struggling readers or those that need extra help with higher level texts. How do you know if your book is a read aloud book? Tap a page in the book, and look for the speaker icon on the black menu bar at the top of the page. If it is there, you can tap the speaker and choose to turn on read aloud, and even decide whether you want the pages to automatically advance, or be turned manually. A number of books also have “read aloud” in their titles, so you can search the store for “free read aloud books” to find a good selection to get started with.

3. Find Your Own Books

By now, you might have several shelves full of fine free books, but how do you quickly find the one that you want? You could take the time to manually sort them into alphabetical order, but every time you download a new book, it sits proudly at the first spot on your bookshelf, and that will quickly mess up your system. So, instead you can search for the books you need. While looking at your Library bookshelf, pull down with one finger to reveal a search bar at the top of your screen. You can search by title, author or keyword to find the book you need.

4. Find Books in Flipboard

This might be a little obscure, but Apple recently teamed up with Flipboard to let you find new titles from the iBooks Store right from inside the Flipboard app. Simply browse through Flipboard’s categories until you find Books. The sub categories are the same as that in the iBooks Store, so you can browse through a good selection of titles from inside Flipboard’s unique user interface. It seems like an unlikely alliance, but you’ll quickly find that the number of free books you find this way will be very limited. Apple is pushing only paid books through the Flipboard app. No real surprise there I guess.

5. Organize Your Books

While it might be nice to organize your books into folders, like you can with apps, it wouldn’t look right on Apple’s carefully designed bookshelves. However, you can bring some order to the chaos by creating additional book shelves and moving books of the same genre, or reading level, to sit on these new bookshelves. To do this, tap Collections in your Library, then tap New and give your bookshelf a name. Hit Done to create your new shelf. Next, tap Edit in the top right hand corner, select the books you want to put on your new bookshelf, and tap Move. Select your newly created bookshelf, and watch the books vanish to their new home. If you have a group of iPads that are shared between grade levels you could create separate bookshelves for different grade levels, teachers, or curriculum areas. Another compelling reason why iBooks is great for education.

Creating New Shelves in iBooks

6. Highlight, Add Notes and more

Although this doesn’t apply to all texts, many iBooks titles will let you highlight text and add sticky notes, just like you did in college with print versions. So, encourage your students to take advantage of this and teach them to be active readers. Simply press a finger on the text and drag it over a line or paragraph to highlight a section of text. Tap the highlighted section to change the color of your highlighter, or to add a sticky note. Tap it again and look for the share arrow so you can copy, or share your excerpt by email, Twitter, Facebook or iMessage. Useful, eh? Well, you can go one step further and tap the other white arrow and get the option to have your iPad read the selection aloud, (if you have Speak Selection turned on – more on that later).

Highlighting and adding notes to iBooks

7. Change Fonts, Themes and Scroll

Tapping the double “A” on the menu bar in the top right allows you adjust the brightness of your chosen text. You can also increase or decrease your font size by tapping on the capital As. Tap Fonts to choose from a variety of fonts for your text. Selecting Themes lets you change the background color of your page to Sepia or Black, and you can eliminate Apple’s newly patented page turning animations by activating the Scroll mode to turn your book into a web-esque reading experience that will scroll vertically through pages. These options may not appear on all book types, so experiment with the books in your library to see which ones have this and which ones don’t.

Changing fonts and themes in iBooks

8. Use Speak Selection to Read PDFs

Find the PDFs in your Library by tapping Collections and selecting PDFs. If you turn on Speak Selection (Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection) you can use this feature to read PDFs aloud. You could always do this with Voiceover, but it was never ideal because it would read the whole page without the option to pause or stop the reading voice. It also made big changes to how you navigate the iPad. So, to speak selected text on a PDF, press and hold on a word until you see the magnifying glass, then release your finger. Drag the blue bars around the selected word to highlight a section of text you want read aloud, and then tap Speak in the black pop-up menu. This could be another great option for struggling readers or even as a test taking accommodation.

What’s Your Favorite Tip?

There are undoubtedly any other great tips for using iBooks in the classroom, but these are a great first few steps for new iPad users or those who are not as familiar with iBooks as they might want to be. So, what is your favorite iBooks tip for educators? Leave a comment below.