La Tela di Carlotta
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How the iPad simplified my teaching workflow

Oct 13, 2012

A few months ago, I got myself an iPad and was very determined to introduce it in my day-to-day teaching.

Well, I think I succeeded! Today, I use my iPad for most of my teaching and in many different ways (although, sometimes I still have to rely on photocopies).

I can’t possibly write all my tricks down in one blog post, so I’ll start with one of them: how to use scanned books on your iPad.

I use the “Kid’s Box” collection with many of my young students. Usually, textbooks like these come with a Pupil’s book, an Activity Book, and a couple CDs.

The pre-iPad me would scan the pages of both the Pupil’s and the Activity books, and then print them out for the class. This would result in a lot of photocopies to hand out and huge ink bills. Plus, the CDs remain pretty much unused.

The post-iPad me has it much easier. Having scanned the books and ripped the CDs, I can use Dropbox to play the audio tracks and iBooks to display the book in the class. As for the Activity book, I print it out photocopies of the relevant pages and give them to my students.

Here’s how I do it in more detail.

1. Scan the book

This is the most time-consuming part of it all. Unfortunately, few books come with a PDF version, so most of the times I have to scan the whole book. I’ve tried two different scanner apps, CamScanner+ and Scanner Pro, but finally settled on the first one.

Although CamScanner+ isn’t a universal app, meaning that it runs in 2x mode on the iPad, I prefer it over Scanner Pro, because it lets me scan multi-page documents—pretty handy when you have to scan a whole book. I then save the scanned books in Dropbox.

2. Rip the CDs

The iPad finally allows me to make use of the CDs and give my students the full experience. I usually rip the CDs and put them in dropbox with the other files.

2.  Use Dropbox to play the audio tracks

In the class, I normally use Dropbox to play the audio tracks I need. When preparing the class, I decide which tracks I want to play and mark them as Favorites, so I can access them offline. For me, this is very important as I usually don’t have wi-fi nor adequate 3G coverage on the go.

3. Use iBooks to display books

I usually open the book in iBooks (it shows up in the PDF collection). This allows me to view the book, while doing the activities and listening to the CD. To open the PDF in iBooks, simply find it in Dropbox, tap on the “Action” button and choose “Open in…”>iBooks.

Using iBooks is great if the activities are only about pointing at pictures and/or answering questions.

4. Use Goodnotes to write on the book

This doesn’t happen as often, but when an activity requires writing on the book while listening to the audio, I use GoodNotes (I love this app!) and my super-duper pink Bamboo Stylus (kids love using it!).

Just like with iBooks, to open the PDF in GoodNotes, simply find the book in Dropbox, tap on the “Action” button and choose “Open in…”>GoodNotes.

5. Print out photocopies of the activity book

If I were rich, I’d lend iPads to all my students. For now, though, I’ll have to settle with photocopies for things like the Activity book, that I need to leave with the students.

This is a great way to make sure they always have homework related to what we did in the class, and they usually like to keep the photocopies in their Enclavia folder.

Very happy!

So far, I’ve been very happy with this workflow and, despite some initial extra work, I’ve come to love it. It’s definitely much easier and more convenient (and lighter!) than carrying around a bunch of photocopies and the actual books.

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

Oct 16, 2020 • 19m
La nostra routine con i bimbi
Mi chiedete spessissimo quale sia la nostra routine a casa con i bimbi e in questo episodio vi svelo che noi, una routine vera e propria, non ce l'abbiamo. Abbiamo una routine minima e indispensabile, che è un concetto che mi sono totalmente inventata su due piedi mentre parlavo a briglia sciolta in questo episodio, ma che credo funzioni davvero. Almeno per noi. La routine minima e indispensabile, secondo me, risponde anche a un altro "problema": trovo che ci bombardino spesso con l'idea del...
11
Oct 9, 2020 • 24m
Sostenibilità: come sensibilizzare i bambini e i giovani adulti | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
10
Oct 2, 2020 • 24m
Intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità | Con Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli
In questa puntata a due voci di Educare con Calma – divisa a metà perché amo gli episodi corti - parliamo di sostenibilità e per farlo ho invitato mia sorella, Cristiana Cerri Gambarelli, project manager della Federazione dei Giovani Verdi Europei e un esempio per chiunque voglia intraprendere un viaggio nella sostenibilità: negli ultimi ha cambiato tutta la sua vita per ridurre la sua impronta di carbonio e per prendere ogni giorno decisioni più sostenibili per il nostro pianeta e in questa ...
9

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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.