Using the iPad as an educational tool isn’t always the easiest part of a teacher’s day. When you have students trying to read information in one application and answering questions, or taking down notes in another application, it can be quite frustrating.
Thank goodness for the Side By Side free app from the Apple App Store:
It has up to 3 windows which can be configured to display a:
- file exported from another app such as a PDF reader
- place for taking notes – just like in NotePad.
For example, students can use one window for reading an ebook while using another window for taking notes. These notes can then be exported via email or to Dropbox or other app that has been authorized to connect with this app. Multiple windows on the same screen also makes copying from one window to another really easy.
Each window can be resized, allowing the reader to temporarily make it easier to read one pane. My favourite way of using it with students is to have a Google form open in one window and the reading material open in another. This makes it easy for the students to answer the questions. It also means that as soon as they hit the submit button in the form, I can start to prepare the feedback as I know exactly what the student responses are.
A bit trickier to set up, but a more satisfying result for the students once you set it up is to use all 3 windows – see the picture below. Make the largest the reading text – takes up about half the page. Make the second largest the questions for the reading text, and the smallest can be for the students to write the answers – select “Notes” as the functionality of the smallest window. Once the students have finished answering the questions in teh Notes window they can send the notes to you via an email address. I hate to have my college email address being used by students sending in assignments, so I get them to send it to a folder in Box.com. Each folder in Box.com can have a separate email address – great – but the addresses are too long for student to reliably type. So I have created a Microsoft Live.com address with just 4 characters in the username. That address is easy enough to write on the whiteboard or blackboard. This email is set up to automatically forward all email to the Box.com folder for a class.
Probably the best way to use it for personal purposes is to keep up to date with your social media, keeping up to date with your Facebook, Twitter, Linked In accounts and the latest news from the BBC all on one screen.
Other browsers that are similar are Quad browser and Double browser from AppsHeard.com These last two aren’t quite as useful for teachers as they are only web browsers and do not import documents as well as weblinks.