Thursday, September 11, 2014

Digital Modelling Books - Part 2

This is Part 2 of the previous blog post detailing how I create digital modelling books.

My class setup is an apple TV and TV.  When I am working with a group I link my iPad to the TV via the apple TV through airplay.  This allows whatever is on the iPad to be shown on screen.  My go to app for modelling books has been the handwriting app Penultimate, because it is part of the Evernote family and easily links back to Evernote for keeping.  Penultimate allows you to keep handwritten notebooks of information, which can then be kept in the app or shared to a number of other apps/websites e.g. Google Drive etc.

Penultimate is basic and it's one of the things that I love about it.  It does it's job and does it well without trying to be overly complicated.  It has different coloured pens, eraser, cut, paste and different options for paper types.  Everything I need with no pointless extras.  Everything has a purpose and it serves it well!  It is one of my go to apps in a lot of areas.

Throughout the teaching workshop students and myself record key ideas, information, working out etc into our notebook and at the end of the session it is shared across from Penultimate to Evernote.  Because of the way I have it set up as being a shared notebook, it means that as soon as the Penultimate notebook is synced to Evernote the students can access it via our class website straight away.  This is a huge bonus for me, as the teacher, as I don't need to go back and post content, change it etc - it's available with minimum time.

Adding Content to Shared Evernote Notebooks

Open up Penultimate and it will ask you to sign in - this is to your Evernote account.  So you can enter the same details from your Evernote account above.  If it doesn't ask for this straight away click on the cog in the top left hand corner to link Penultimate to your Evernote account.

Now you are free to start a new notebook by clicking on the plus symbol in the bottom left hand corner.  It will open a new notebook for you to work in.  You will see the main tools, such as pens, eraser, cut, undo etc, down the right hand side.  Extra tools such as adding pictures, changing the paper type, sharing options and more down the left hand side of the screen.

Once you have completed working in the Penultimate notebook click on the home button which is on the top left hand side (it looks like a house).  This will return you to the home screen.  The next step is to share this notebook to Evernote and place it in the correct Evernote maths groups notebook.

The home screen in Penultimate is where you can access all of your Penultimate notebooks. To view them all scroll across to view the different notebooks you have. 
On the home screen you will see three options directly underneath the notebook you are working on or wanting to share.  Click on the first option for 'share' which then gives you the option to 'open in...'

Scroll across to the right and you will see an option for 'Open in Evernote' - click on this.

It will process your notebook into a PDF format and then open up Evernote with the following image.  This is your new note inside Evernote.  The PDF option you see inside the note area is your Penultimate notebook that you have just created.  On this screen you need to rename your note (the first line) and then also choose the notebook you would like it placed inside (the second line).  From here you can save your note and it will be accessible once you have synced your account.

While there are several steps to get these digital notebooks up and running, once you have them set up they are quick and easy to use.  I find that we are able to have a workshop and then have modelling books available straight after a workshop.  There has been a lot of trial and error of finding a way that digital modelling books work for my students.  We have trialled Google presentations and other formats but I am finding this is the easiest option that doesn't require a huge load of work and time to make it useable for the students and myself.  Once the initial setup was complete it has been easy to continue using the modelling books.

Remember, Evernote is the equivalent of a digital book - you can create notebooks and create individual notes that go inside your notebook, just like pages of a book.  This works the same when creating a digital modelling book.  In the case of these digital modelling books Penultimate creates the pages that go inside the Evernote modelling book.

Every time I open Penultimate for a new workshop I simply start a brand new Penultimate notebook by clicking on the plus symbol on the bottom left hand corner.  We add in the notes from our session and then when the workshop is complete I repeat the steps I have outlined above in 'Adding Content to Shared Notebook'.  Always check the second line to ensure that your note is going into your correct shared Evernote notebook, as it will always default to the last Evernote notebook you added content to.  This sounds confusing - but makes sense when you are adding content to your Evernote as you will see which of your groups notebooks it is going to be placed into.

When the students click on the link from our class google site it shows up the whole notebook with all of the workshop notes inside (like in the image below).  Students can easily locate the workshop and click to see all the notes we took as part of that session - exactly as it would be for a paper modelling book.  The accessibility from a range of devices and places and for a number of people at the same time means that it far outweighs the 1 in class paper modelling book I had previously been using.

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