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 EducationWorld How To series offers simple instructions that help educators use app technology to simplify life in the classroom. See more How To articles.
The App: Pages
The Goal: To create a detailed seating chart with Pages.
The Steps: Before picking up the iPad, collect all the names of the students in your class. If desired, use the iPad’s camera to take a snapshot of each student. This can be done during the first week of school. (Be careful to consult your school’s policy on student photographs first.)
Launch Pages, and you will see a series of templates from which to choose. Select “Blank” by tapping on it once.
You will now have a completely blank canvas on which to work. Tapping anywhere on the document will bring up the cursor and keyboard. Type in the title of the chart:
Seating Chart 2013-14
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.” Choose “Select” by tapping it once, and you will see that a portion of the line will be 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, you may select a font, as well as bolding, italics, underlining and justification. Choose a font and size appropriate for the title and then select the “centered” justification.
Create some space below the title by tapping the return key a few times with the cursor located just at the end of the underscore line. Tap the + sign in the upper, left-hand corner of the screen to open the “insert” tool. You will have four choices; Media, Tables, Charts and Shapes. Tap Tables to view the available types of charts. You may swipe left or right to browse the various charts in both 2D and 3D. Select the graphical style you like best, then tap it and it will appear on the document with a series of controls highlighted.
In the upper right-hand and lower left-hand corner of the table, you will find a pair of arrows. Tap one set to bring up the cell generator. Since the default table is 4-cells by 4-cells, you will need to add or subtract cells to accurately reflect the desk configuration in the classroom. Add and remove cells in either direction until the proper number are in place both vertically and horizontally.
Similarly, placing a finder on any of the dots on the perimeter of the graph allows the user to stretch or shrink it. For the purposes of this exercise, you will want make the graph as large as possible, while maintaining enough space to fit the information you want to include for each student.
Now that the chart is properly configured, double-tap in first cell. This will bring up the virtual keyboard and allow you to enter the first name. You can choose any font and point size you like, provided it is legible. Repeat the process for the remaining names and cells.
If you would like to include student photographs to accompany their entries on the seating chart, tap the + in the upper, right-hand corner of the app and choose Media. You will see that Pages offers you access to all of the media files on your iPad. Because the headshots were taken with the device, they are all ready to be used by its apps.
If this is the first time you’re attempting to insert a media file, you will be asked to grant Pages permission to access your files. Simply tap “Yes.” Scroll through the photo gallery until you locate the image of the first student on your seating chart. Tap it, and it will appear on the document with the manipulation controls engaged. Tap and drag it into position near the appropriate name.
You may need to adjust the size of the image so that it both fits on the line and is large enough to be effective. With the manipulation controls still engaged, tap and hold any of the four corners of the image. Dragging in any direction will change the image’s size in that direction. Make the necessary adjustments before moving on to the next image.
You can change the appearance of your images by tapping them once to highlight them. Next, tap the paintbrush icon in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen to activate the Style menu. From here, you can add borders and effects to each image.
Your seating chart is now created.
Unlike the Office tools, with Pages you do not have to “Save” or “Save As.” Simple closing the app keeps the document saved until you 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 a given network. If you are not connected to a WiFi network or do not have a wireless printer, you can email the document to yourself. Tapping the email button will bring up a small menu that prompts you to choose the file format in which you’d like send the document. Choose Word, and then tap send. The seating chart will arrive in your inbox as a Word file that may be opened with Word and printed to your hard-lined printer.