Review of iPad App: MarkUp
One of the hottest trends in educational technology is the iPad. St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, where my teaching career began in 1999, eliminated textbooks and went to using the iPad for a textbook and notebook. The school is paperless. Students pay for the iPad instead of having a book fee, and the school was very deliberate in deciding which apps and textbooks to use to keep the cost at a minimum for its students.
Since, other Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are jumping on the bandwagon. Schools at all levels are using iPads. I visited Randolph Elementary on Randolph Air Force Base in the fall of 2012. A handful of iPads were in each classroom for student use. Educators at all levels, no matter what age, are being pushed into using more technology each academic year.
Trying to figure out how to really use the iPad in the classroom effectively can be a challenge though. Many schools, like Borgia, have gone paperless. To grade, the students submit assignments in an app like Ebackpack or DropBox. But how doese the teacher grade those papers?
One great application that I found for grading papers is the app MarkUp. The app wasn’t expensive, only $1.99 in the App Store. Teachers can import papers into MarkUp in a variety of formats including Word, Pages, or PDF. To play with this app, I used a paper my niece, a college freshman, had me edit for her this past spring. I opened the paper in MarkUp via Pages. MarkUp then converts the image into a PDF file.
Teachers can choose to write comments in black, gray, red, blue, or gold. It’s easy to switch back and forth between the colors, and I liked that I could go through the paper and mark grammar and punctuation, for example, in one color, use another color for areas to improve, and another color to mark great points. One thing that did take some getting used to was that I needed to remember to use two fingers two advance to a new page in the document; using one finger will leave a mark on the page. One trick I found useful was to have a piece of paper over the iPad and to move the paper down as I read and commented. This ensured that I didn’t accidentally make any marks with my hand during the commenting process. I don’t have the prettiest handwriting, but I felt like with practice I could make my writing with the stylus more legible.
I bought a stylus for $10 and that makes writing comments much easier. It’s easy to erase or step back. Once you finish grading, it saves the file as a PDF
file and you can e-mail it to yourself or the student. I’m looking forward to using this when I teach in person again. It’s definitely a must-have app for teachers who use the iPad. It allows you to use technology, save paper, and have that same experience of grading and commenting by hand. Let me know your thoughts if you choose to use it! Check out my other reviews, as well!
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