For decades, teachers have used a variety of software options to create classroom materials. For many educators, that has meant using a suite of programs for desktop computers. Now that mobile apps have evolved to the point where they can offer similar functionality at a fraction of the price, educators may want to explore alternate technology for accomplishing classroom tasks.
The App: Pages
The Goal: Have students create a 4-cell by 4-cell table using Pages.
The Steps: Before picking up the iPad, students should collect the information that will be placed in the table.
The purpose of the table is to display comparative information as it applies to several items or concepts. For example, a table may compare the features of ancient pyramids from around the world. In this example, the table’s horizontal heading row (see the darker-shaded Top Entry 1, 2, etc. in the image below) would contain the names of types of pyramids (Egyptian, Mayan, etc.), while the left-hand vertical row labels (see the lighter-shaded Side Entry 1, 2, etc. in the image below) would list various pyramid features such as surface, topography and purpose. The features of each type of pyramid could then be added to the appropriate cell.
With the information in hand, students can begin by launching Pages. They will encounter a series of templates from which to choose. Select “Blank” by tapping on it once.
They will now have a completely blank canvas. Tapping anywhere on the document will bring up the cursor and keyboard. Type the title of the table (e.g., Pyramid Types and Features).
Now, go back and tap on the line you’ve just typed and hold your finder there for a second. A toolbar will appear and offer the choices of “Select,” “Select All,” “Paste” and “Insert.” When students choose “Select” by tapping it once, they will see a portion of the line highlighted. Tap and drag the corners of the highlighted area so that the entire title is highlighted.
With the title highlighted, tap the paintbrush icon located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. A large menu will appear that offers a number of stylistic options. From here, students may select a font, as well as bolding, italics, underlining and justification options. Choose a font and size appropriate for the title and then select the centered justification.
With the title sized and placed, tap the end of the line so that the cursor appears just after the last letter in the title. Tap “Return” on the keyboard several times to create some space between the title and the name and date fields that will come next. Type “Name” and enter a series of underscores to create an ample line on which students can write their names. Repeat the highlighting technique used for the title, so that the word “Name” and the entire underscore line are highlighted. Tap the paintbrush icon again to bring up the style menu. Choose a font size that is smaller than the title’s, and then select the left justification.
Once the name field is in place, tap the end of underscore line and enter a few spaces. Now students can type “Date” and a series of underscores to create a line on which to write the date. The font and size of the date line should be the same as that of the name line. If they are not, simply repeat the style actions. With the date line in the same font and size as the name line, place the cursor just in front of the “D” in “Date” and tap the spacebar so that the date line ends at the right margin of the document. Students are now ready to create the table.
Create some space below the name and date lines by tapping the return key a few times with the cursor located just at the end of the date line. Now, tap the plus (+) icon in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen. This will launch the insertion menu. Students can tap the “Tables” tab and select the table they like best. For the purposes of this How To, we have selected the version found on the first page of the menu, on the upper, left-hand side.
Notice that dots appear at the corners of the table. By tapping and dragging a dot, students can adjust the size and shape of the table. Use this method to create an appropriate-sized table for the content it will contain.
To create the horizontal heading row and vertical row labels, tap beneath the table on the document and type the heading names. Tap and hold over each of the headings to bring up the toolbar. Tap “Select” and then highlight the whole heading. Tap “Cut.” Then tap the heading cell on the table that will house the heading that’s just been cut. Tap once more to call up the “Paste” option, and then tap “Paste.” The heading will now be inside the proper cell. Repeat this process until all of the headings are in their proper cells.
The table is now created. Once its cells are filled with the desired information, students do not have to “Save” or “Save As.” Simply closing the app keeps the document saved until they are ready to print.
iPads have the ability to print wirelessly to printers that are connected to a WiFi network. Tapping the print button will bring up a list of printers on which to print the table. If the classroom is not connected to a WiFi network or does not have a wireless printer, students can email the document. Tapping the email button will bring up a small menu that offers a choice of the file format in which to send the document. Choose Word, and then tap “Send.” The quiz will arrive as a Word file that may be opened with Word and printed to a hard-lined printer.