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: Create a dynamic student roster with Pages.
The Steps: Class rosters tend to be fairly vanilla documents that display students’ names and other identifying information. They tend to consist of black text on white paper, and despite being used frequently, generally don’t look very nice. With a Pages-equipped iPad, teachers can transform these mundane documents into striking, interactive tools for tracking students and recording pertinent information.
Before picking up the iPad, collect all the names and relevant information for the students in your class. Your roster can be as comprehensive as you like; it may simply be a list of names, or it can be a robust source of information that includes phone numbers, attendance records, parent contact information and more.
With the information collected, use the iPad’s camera to take a snapshot of each student. (Be careful to first consult your school’s policy on student photographs.) This can be done during the first week of classes.
Launch Pages, and you’ll see a series of template choices. Select “Blank” by tapping 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:
[Teacher’s Name]’s Class Roster - 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 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 options. 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 date. Now tap the plus (+) icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This will launch the insertion menu. Tap the “Tables” tab and select the table you like best. For the purposes of this How To, we suggest going with the one that features the right amount of fields for the information you wish to display. If you simply want to record a roster of names with an “Absent” and “Present” area, a smaller table will do. For larger data sets, a larger table will be needed.
You will notice that dots appear at the corners of the table. By tapping and dragging a dot, you can adjust the size and shape of the table. Use this method to create an appropriate-size table for the content it will contain.
For the top and left headings, 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 you would like to house the heading you’ve just cut.
Tap once more to call up the keyboard, and then type the name of the first student on your roster. Your heading will now be inside the proper cell. Repeat this process until all of the names are in their proper cells. Use this same process to place all of the pertinent information in the desired cells.
If you would like student photographs to accompany entries on the roster (and your school allows it), tap the + in the upper right-hand corner of the app and choose Media. You will see that Pages offers 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 in your roster. 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 roster is now created.
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 on which to print your roster. 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 roster will arrive in your inbox as a Word file that can be opened with Word and printed to your hard-lined printer.
You may also choose to go completely digital and forego printing hard copies.