EdTech Tools: Marking Up Texts on iPads

By Monica Burns 10.21.2014 blog

We’ve shared lots of ways to use iPads in your classroom, including apps for graphic organizers and apps for staying on task. Another way an iPad can transform your classroom is by changing the way you and your students interact with texts. This could be an article you have sent to students so they can learn more about a topic you are teaching, or their own writing that they want to edit and revise. There are several great annotation apps that make it easy to interact with text on your tablet.

These apps let users annotate any PDF file, edit their own work, and provide feedback by adding notes and marking up a document. Teachers can read through the first draft of a student’s work and leave comments and suggestions straight from their iPad. Students can give feedback to peers by adding notes or making edits to a document opened on their tablet screen. Teens can also access informational text related to a unit they are studying in social studies class, or to a topic they are researching for a written report. When they open these files in an annotation app, they can highlight important facts, record audio notes and even share their findings with other students via email.

Here are two fantastic apps for annotating text on iPads:


With this dynamic annotation app, students and teachers can interact with PDF files straight from their tablet. It gives users the ability to highlight a portion of a text and use a drawing tool. Both of these features let users determine which color they would like to use when highlight and drawing, which makes it especially easy to keep notes organized. In addition to highlighting a text, students can add notes to a selection by typing in their thoughts or even recording audio notes using the microphone built into their iPad. Teens can mark up a text they are peer editing or share their notes on a reading with a classmate. Teachers who use this app can give feedback to students who have submitted work for review.  Easy Annotate and Notability are two more iPad apps that perform a similar function.


This screencasting app is great for making movies and tutorials, but it is also useful for marking up text. Users can snap a picture of a piece of paper or import an existing picture of a text. Once a text appears on a screen, users can choose which color they want to use to mark up the article, textbook page, or piece of student work that they took a photograph of with their iPad. In addition to annotating the text, teachers and students can record their voice as they add notes to capture their thinking. It is a great way for students to demonstrate their thought process as they mark up a text and reflect on what they have learned. ShowMe and Doceri are two more iPad apps that perform a similar function.

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.



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