Tag Archives: google apps

Annotate a TechnoKids PDF on an iPad

tablet

With distance learning during COVID being our reality, making sure your students can complete tasks is not without its challenges. For the foreseeable future remote learning is essential. Which device a student has available to them at home may be out of your control. If your students are using TechnoKids and iPads, they will still need to be able to annotate the workbook assignments and submit them. TechnoKids’ resources can be used with an iPad. See iPads and TechnoKids Projects to read more about which TechnoKids titles to pick for use on an iPad.

Not all PDF editors are the same. When selecting one, an important consideration is that it must open and annotate a secured TechnoKids PDF document. Typically, we recommend using either XODO and Kami to type answers into a TechnoKids worksheet. These apps are a viable option for both desktop and Chromebooks users. However, XODO does not work well with TechnoKids and iPads. Read my review below to learn more.

XODO PDF Reader & Annotator

XODO is a fantastic application. I was hoping that I could get it to work with an iPad. However, I encountered lots of frustration.

First, I thought I could add Google Chrome to my iPad and add the extension for XODO just like desktop or Chromebook users can do. However, extensions are not available for the iPad. This was a disappointing discovery.

Next, I checked out the App store and installed the PDF Reader & Annotator by Xodo. I found that I could open and markup a TechnoKids PDF file, but the file needed to be available either On My iPad, from iCloud Drive, or OneDrive. Google Drive did not seem to be an option. If your students are working with Google Classroom, or sharing assignments through Google Drive, you will find XODO limiting.

Not willing to give up completely, I visited xodo.com and signed in (free registration). I then opted to retrieve a document from my Google Drive. This resulted in a Network failure error. I was unable to resolve this.

In my opinion, XODO was not a viable option for annotating TechnoKids PDF documents on the iPad. If you’re fine with moving files all around the device and not working directly with Google Drive, then the App may still work. Maybe as an adult this is doable, but for the average K-8 student, it is not an easy-to-use option.

Kami Your Digital Classroom Hero – Recommended

Kami is a PDF editor TechnoKids has been recommending for many years. It has annotation tools that make it simple to type answers into worksheets. For desktop or Chromebook users, Kami has an extension for the Chrome browser that works well. Unfortunately, extensions are not available on the iPad.

I could not find Kami in the App store. So, I opened my browser and visited kamiapp.com and signed in (free registration). From there I was able to tap OPEN FROM GOOGLE DRIVE. I did need to sign into my Google account again and give Kami permission to read my files. I could then easily get to my Google Drive files and open the desired TechnoKids PDF assignment.

open from Google Drive
Choose a file to open directly from Kami

Using the Markup highlighter, I could emphasize important text that I might need to refer to again later. I could fill in the blanks or make my own notes using the Text Box tool. I could even use the Drawing tool to write on the page using my stylus. I was able to move these things around the page or remove them with the Eraser.

Show markup Kami
Showing markup on PDF assignment

Saving and Sharing with TechnoKids and iPads

When I was finished, I was able to save the changes back to Google Drive directly from Kami. Keep in mind, that in order to continue working on the file you would need to reopen from Kami. When ready to submit your work, you have 2 options:

  • You can upload the document to your Kami account and then share with a link.
  • If you use the Google Drive App, you can display your files and share without having to open the file first.
Save annotated file
Save annotations back to Google Drive.

The person receiving the file then has 2 options as well, they can view the annotations simply when previewing the file, or they can choose to open it in Kami as well to add their own comments.

Can annotations be seen in Google Drive?

When I went back to open my assignment directly from Google Drive, the document opens in preview mode. It showed all the annotations that I had made. However, in order to continue working on the document it still needs to be opened through the Kami website.

Is Kami Free?

Yes and no. I was using the free version and was able to highlight, comment, add text, draw, add shapes, and erase anything I had done. I could save the changes I had made and even share the file. Some features, like inserting images, adding a signature, equations, accessing the dictionary, or text to speech come with the paid version. According to their website, the Teacher Plan is a yearly fee that supports 150 students and includes these additional features. School/district pricing is also available.

TechnoKids and iPads – Our Recommendation

In my opinion, Kami is a suitable option for annotating a TechnoKids PDF worksheet on an iPad. Students can type in their answers and submit the file to their teacher. It is a PDF editor that works with any device. Kami, TechnoKids and iPads are a powerful combination to make distance learning succeed.

iPads and TechnoKids Projects

With so many different devices being used to teach technology skills, we are often asked whether iPads and TechnoKids resources are a good fit. The simple answer is Yes! But… there are cautions and qualifications. Here are a few common questions.

ipads and technokids

Which TechnoKids projects can I use on an iPad?

TechnoKids has over 25 projects that iPad users can complete. To determine which options are best for your students, view the TechnoKids Project Matrix. Any TechnoKids project which has a version for Google Docs can be done on an iPad. In addition, some Office Online, Internet, and Programming projects can also be completed but with slight modifications.

Should I use the iPad Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps?

TechnoKids has many projects for Google applications. If students have a Gmail account, they can access all Google apps online from Google Drive. TechnoKids has lessons that use Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drawings, Sites, and more.

For the iPad, Google has created specific apps for Docs, Slides, and Sheets. While these apps are easy to use, they are limited in their features. They won’t work for TechnoKids projects. For example, in the Slides iPad app, a user can create a slide show, apply a theme, set slide layout, present, and share work – but not much else. The limitation in features, means that TechnoKids instructions will not match.

In most cases the Google iPad apps are a bare bones, disappointing alternative to the full app. The iPad Google apps are best used to work offline, make edits to a file, or to view a completed document. In our opinion, they are too ‘light’ to create an appealing, powerful project from scratch.

But there is a solution….students you can still use the full version of Google apps on an iPad. Keep reading!

How do I access Google apps on my iPad?

The best way to access Google apps on an iPad is through a browser. Open Chrome (recommended and must be installed) or Safari and go to Google Drive. From that starting point, all TechnoKids instructions will match what you see on your screen.

This method is highly recommended for accessing Google apps on iPad. Students get complete versions of Docs, Sheets, and Slides with all tools. As well, they can also create projects with Forms, Sites, Drawings, and more! And, all Google apps are free.

Can I use Microsoft Office versions of TechnoKids projects on my iPad?

Yes, students can use the Office Online version of a TechnoKids project. As is the case with Google projects, you will be working online through a browser such as Safari or Chrome. Like Google, you must have a Microsoft account, but it’s free too.

Please note, if students must work offline, Microsoft does offer apps for the iPad similar to Google’s. These include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The apps can be used with a Microsoft account, but I would caution teachers to first check the instructions in the TechnoKids project that is being used. Note the similarities and differences as some tools may be unavailable in the iPad app. Using an iPad app for Microsoft Office is likely only a workable alternative for TechnoKids Primary or Junior projects which have fewer features than the more advanced titles.

Which TechnoKids programming projects can be done on an iPad?

TechnoKids has many programming projects that can be completed on an iPad. Some require slight modifications in instructions.

technowhiz

TechnoWhiz uses Scratch Jr. This free app is perfect for use on an iPad with its touch screen and drag and drop features. Teaching young students to code? Scratch Jr is definitely an ideal starting point.

technotales

TechnoTales also uses Scratch Jr. and is an ideal follow up to TechnoWhiz. Students design an animated fairy tale as they use visual programming blocks to learn coding basics.

ipads and technokids

TechnoCode uses Scratch. This is a great next step after Scratch Jr to spark an interest in computer science. Instead of an app, Scratch 3 is used online. Just sign up for a free account and you will be programming games, puzzles, mazes, animations, stories, and more.

technoturtle

TechnoTurtle, which is a beginner’s Python programming project, uses the Turtle library. To use it on an iPad, use the website Trinket and your Google account. You can input the code and see the result beside it on the screen.

technopython

TechnoPython, a new project that teaches Python programming to middle and high school students. It can be done on an iPad. You will need to download Python for an iPad. To learn more visit Python.org.

TechnoHTML teaches students to become web designers using HTML and CSS. You will need an HTML editor for the iPad. Visit the app store to see what is available and free. I would recommend trying out one or more of the free apps to see which works best for you.

How are TechnoKids PDF Workbooks annotated on an iPad?

When using an iPad, students will need a PDF app or account with an online PDF service. This will allow them to type answers, highlight text, and make notes in TechnoKids assignment sheets. If you are looking for a free option, TechnoKids recommends KAMI, which is a free online service that works with Google Drive. See our next post Annotate a TechnoKids PDF on an iPad to get specific directions.

What are the drawbacks to using an iPad and TechnoKids?

  1. Any project that requires writing more than a few sentences is inconvenient on an iPad without an external keyboard. TechnoKids intermediate projects such as TechnoNewsletter and TechnoBiography have students write extensively, so an iPad would be a deterrent to producing one’s best work.
  2. A smaller screen does not allow students to have TechnoKids pdf workbooks open on a split screen while they are completing a project in another app. Instead, they must toggle back and forth between screens. That may be a source of frustration for younger students. A solution would be to print the workbook.
  3. Internet access is almost a necessity. As mentioned above, most apps work best and have the most features when used through a browser.

What are the benefits to using an iPad and TechnoKids?

  1. School districts have embraced the portability, ease of use, and affordability of iPads as compared to desktop computers. Parents have also valued iPads as educational tools as well as sources of entertainment for their children. As a result, iPads are commonplace, and many students are very familiar with using them. They know the touch screen gestures to open, close, move, drag, tap, and more. What they do not know is often intuitive and easy to figure out.
  2. Collaboration, a valued strategy, is easy with both Google Docs and Office Online. Students can readily work together, edit each other’s files, and share finished documents.  
  3. iPads and TechnoKids projects, in either Google Docs or Office Online versions, can readily be used for both physical and virtual classrooms. Whether it’s the ideal device is a debate that will continue. But in a time when educators must contend with online learning using a variety of devices, an iPad will definitely work well!
ipads and technokids

Boost Online Search Strategies: A Fun Activity

In the previous post, we listed a set of tips to develop online search strategies. Try this skill building activity with middle school students to apply those tips and raise awareness of ways to find trustworthy information fast.

technoearth icon

This activity is from TechnoKids technology project TechnoEarth. In this project, students learn how to use Google Sites to design an interactive infographic about an environmental issue. The search activity below is a Skill Review from Session 1, in which students learn about environmental stewardship and infographics. Then they pick a topic of their choice and use a template to research the cause, harmful effects, stakeholders, location, and solution.


Explore Online Search Strategies

1. Try many keywords

search strategies

Some topics use different terms to mean the same thing. For example, both algal bloom and algae bloom refer to lots of algae in water. Compare the search results for algal bloom and algae bloom. Look at the list of sites, questions, images, or videos on the page.

  • Are the results the same for algal bloom and algae bloom?
  • If no, which keyword do you think is the best? Why?

2. Be specific

boost search strategies

Pretend your research topic is poaching of rhinos.

  • What is a solution to the problem?
  • To narrow the search results, what phrase did you use?

3. Pick from the dropdown menu

search drop down

The dropdown menu in the search box suggests keywords. Let’s say you are researching smog. List two suggested phrases you think would be helpful.

4. Refer to People also ask

search people ask

Many people ask questions about environmental issues. Search for plastic pollution. List a question from the People also ask section that you find interesting.

5. Check the URL

search strategies

The website address can give a clue about who made the web page. Find a government website about overfishing. The URL might end .gov or .gc.ca.

  • What is the URL?

6. Skim and Scan

skim and scan

Save time! Find a website about harmful effects of acid rain. Scan the search results for words that match the facts you need.

  • Which search result do you think will be the best? List the title.
  • Scan the description. Which keywords are in bold text?

technoearth
Design an infographic using Google Sites. Improve research skills and search strategies.

Create an Infographic Using Google Sites

Middle school students can design an infographic using Google Sites. Google Sites, is a free app to anyone with a Google account. It is primarily a web design tool. However, it has many features that make it the ideal way for students In Grades 6-9 to create an infographic that is interactive, compelling, and lots of fun to build!

In a recent blog, we listed reasons for teachers to assign an infographic as an innovative method for students to demonstrate their learning. An infographic’s characteristics – simple graphics and brief text – as well as its interactive nature make it an ideal means of communication. As an alternative to report writing, students must use higher order thinking skills such as analysis and synthesis to summarize and condense information to the most essential facts to create an infographic.

google sites

The next decision is “What app should we use?” Here are some reasons to use Google Sites as an unlikely but ideal program to easily create an interactive infographic with elementary and middle school students.

Google Sites: A Great Fit for Making an Infographic

Divide Information Visually with Layouts

In Google Sites, the banner for the page title and various layout options are perfect for designing an infographic. The image blocks visually divide the separate parts of the infographic, which may be headings and text, clipart, number facts, links, and pictures. Sections draw the reader’s eye through the various parts of the document. The nature of simple web page building using image and text blocks makes creating an infographic with this tool so suitable.

infographic
Create an infographic using Google Sites that chunks the information into sections using Layout options.

Add Professionalism Using Themes

Google Sites helps students produce a professional looking infographic using themes. When a theme is chosen, the web document is limited to a coordinating palette of colors and fonts. This not only results in a high quality design but the publication appears well organized and integrated too. Scanning through the infographic is easier when the parts have a similar appearance.

Search for Images

Working within Google Sites, students can find and display the simple images that are typical of infographics. These cartoon-like pictures are used to convey data or facts quickly. Using the Insert Images tool, students search with keywords. By restricting the results to just Clip art or Line drawings, they can eliminate photographs and just find basic, universally recognized images ideal for an infographic.

icons
Search for simple images that convey a message.

Create Collapsible Text

One more reason to use Google Sites is that it provides collapsible text. This element can be added to create a box of text that can be expanded or collapsed by the viewer. Using this feature, you can give the option of looking at the contents or not, and thereby saving space on the document. In TechnoEarth, a collapsible text box is used to list sources of information for the infographic. If the reader would like to check facts or find out more about the topic, they can click to enlarge and see the contents. Often collapsible boxes are used for FAQs, allowing a viewer to scan through the questions and only read the answers of the ones in which they are interested.

collapsible text
An infographic will often list sources of information. Use collapsible text to show or hide the reference list.

Add an Image Carousel

Infographics do not typically use photographs, but instead have cartoon-like images. However, there is a limitation to using just icons to advocate about an environmental issue. This is because photos that show the cause or harmful effects can make a powerful statement. The good news is that Google Sites lets you do both using an image carousel.

To make an infographic engaging and interactive, the image carousel feature can be added. It shows a collection of picture files, by scrolling from one to another. To keep the publication true to an infographic, the first image should be an icon of a camera. However, after that the images can be photographs. In the TechnoEarth project students include on their interactive infographic, photographs showing the effects of an environmental issue.

Create image carousel of photographs.
Create image carousel of photographs.

Insert a Google Slide Deck

Another great feature of Google Sites is the ability to insert a document made in other Google Apps such as Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and more. To keep the viewer engaged, students can add a rotating slide deck created in Google Slides to an infographic. Using the many features of Slides, the deck can have distinctive layouts, unique formatting, word art, graphic organizers, and more. The slides display brief facts and eye-catching images. They are set to play automatically, adding interest and variety for the reader.

Use Google Slides to illustrate facts about the environmental topic.

Design a Unique Drawing

Another file type that can be inserted into Google Sites is an image created in Google Drawings. As an alternative to searching for ready-made clip art, students can create their own one-of-a-kind artwork to add to their infographic. Instructions in TechnoEarth explain how to use the tools in Google Drawings to produce simple, but powerful icons. These graphics grab the viewer’s attention and communicate a concise message.

Google Drawings
Use Google Drawings to create original icons. Insert them onto the infographic.

Highlight Locations with a Map

Google Sites allows users to insert interactive maps constructed using Google Maps. Most infographics pinpoint the location where an issue or topic is happening. The drawback is that viewers only see a static image. However, with Google My Maps viewers can actively explore. By clicking on custom map markers, they discover interesting facts and photos about each spot.

Google My Maps
When the viewer clicks on an icon, facts and photos of the location display.

Learn How to Design an Infographic Using Google Sites

technoearth icon

Want to get started on an infographic using Google Sites? TechnoKids has a project for you! In TechnoEarth, middle school students become environmental stewards as they design an interactive infographic. They use Google Sites, as well as Docs, Slides, Drawings, and more. They follow instructions to select an important, real-world issue. The infographic outlines the cause, harmful effects, and solutions. Stakeholders are identified. A thematic map shows where the problem is located. The final web based infographic will inform and inspire.