MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Week One: 5th and 6th graders word processing with iPads

We are piloting using shared iPads for word processing in two of our language arts classes this year, and my sincere hope is that it’s going to get better. Admittedly, one week is not exactly an indicator of anything (which is why pilot programs last more that, well, a week), but the rollout has already had its issues.

This rollout was done in conjunction with our adoption of Google Apps for Education. Part of the reason for instituting GAFE is that we had eight year old laptops that are coming close to well past their useful life, an I was hoping to avoid buying more laptops. We’re pretty much a Mac shop (for lots of reasons), and even the least expensive Mac Air is more money than I’d like to pop right now. And we’ve had tremendous success in many of our classes with iPads, so I was interested in seeing if iPads would meet the needs of our LA teachers.

If we were going 1:1 with take home in these classes, I wouldn’t have worried about what’s going to happen to the students’ documents, but we’re not (and I’m not sure I see that next year, either). So, in order for iPads to be used by multiple students, their documents have to have somewhere to go. Enter GAFE.

Well, that sounds fine, except that I had had little experience with relying on the Docs as a word processor. I’ve used Google Docs on a laptop, and wasn’t unhappy with it, but there’s quite a bit of difference between the Docs app and the web-based version. And I’m pretty sure Google doesn’t really care about making it more user-friendly, since they’re really interested in our purchasing Chromebooks…

Is there spell check for Google docs?But this is what I’ve got. I’ve got two LA classes with beautiful iPads (and standalone keyboards) and no spellcheck. That’s the text you want to get in the middle of a meeting… 

Well….um….no. Not exactly. There’s autocorrect, but that’s not the same thing. And if you’ve ever taught 5th and 6th grade, you know that “be sure to use spell check” comes out of your mouth a lot.

A lot.

Gulp. 

So for my play time today, I’ve been playing with Docs, Pages and Textilus on my iPad and Google docs on my laptop to come up with a suitable workaround that will be palatable to my LA colleagues and doable by my 5th and 6th graders.

Here are my findings:

The only place students should have to log into Google is in the Docs app…not Drive or Safari. This is important because these are shared devices, so where you log in you must log out.

Tip #1 – accessing a spellchecker while using Google Docs app:

If you do this, you get autocorrect, but you also get little red dots beneath words that don’t appear in the dictionary:

  1. Create a new document and tap on the three little dots on the right (under the battery indicator)
  2. Tap on Share and export, and select “Save as Word (.docx)
  3. Docs will save your document as a new Word document with the .docx file extension. The original one is still there (with no file extension), so your kids will have to know which one to open. 
  4. If you click on the little red dots now, you should see a checkmark next to Spellcheck.

Tip #2 — creating content using the Pages app and then saving to Google Docs

Pages on the iPad is lovely. The problem is that Pages documents are saved on the device itself, and aren’t available to the student outside of school. And, since multiple students could be using any one iPad at one time, the documents aren’t secure. A workaround is:

Make sure the student has logged into Docs

  1. Create a document in Pages, and then tap on the rectangle with the up arrow on it. This icon generally indicates a way to share or move an item.
  2. Choose “Open in Another App.” 
  3. Tap on Word, and then Pages will convert the document. 
  4. When the conversion completes, tap on “Choose App” at the bottom of the next box. 
  5. Choose “Open in Docs,” and you should get a box asking if it’s okay to Upload Item to My Drive?
  6. Tap on Upload. The document will be available in the student’s Google Drive

Google – please add a real spell check to the Docs app, or next year it’s Macbook Airs for us. 

Advertisements

August 30, 2014 - Posted by | G Suite (GAFE), iPads | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] This year we’re piloting using iPads in language arts in 5th grade. Week one brought the question of “where’s spellcheck in the Docs app?” […]

    Pingback by Why go 1:1? « MuseForJews | September 2, 2014 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: